Lets face facts, Dragon Age Origins was (for lack of a more sophisticated word), crap. It was a tedious and boring excuse of an RPG, especially when you consider that Origins was created by the utter geniuses behind the far superior Mass Effect series, which does leave you rather perplexed as to how Bioware got it so wrong. So when it was announced that there would be a sequel to Origins, I can’t say that I (along with many others), was particularly ecstatic. But shock, and indeed horror, Dragon Age 2 is actually good! Well calling Dragon Age 2 good is like calling Meagan Fox mildly attractive, it improves on everything that made origins so inept and unplayable.
You play the role of Hawke, who is a male or female character depending on your preference, and its up to you to lead your family to the safety of Kirkwall after your home is destroyed by the hideously vulgar darkspawn. Events occur at around the same time that your hero/heroin from Origins, is battling the darkspawn and trying to vanquish the arch demon. The story may not be anything that most RPG veterans havent already witnessed countless times before, but it’s certainly an entertaining yarn, but it’s when you reach Kirkwall that things become a little more interesting.
The focal obstacle with origins was the battling, it was far to hackneyed and stale, smashing the X button and decapitating your enemy’s was somehow made excruciatingly dull, and decapitation’s should never be dull, and although your still ploughing that X button till your thumb is blue in DA2, you won’t care, because demolishing enemy’s has far more fluidity which makes the combat significantly more satisfying. The characters again play an essential role in how the story progresses.
The decisions that you make throughout impact on how characters respond to you, treat them well and you could have an ally, or even a lover who you can count on, treat them badly, and they could become rivals, what you say and do can have major repercussions on proceedings throughout, so be careful. The mature nature of Dragon Age 2 certainly makes things more rewarding, innovative and fun, as the game not only has a never-ending supply of blood but gives players the option of having relations with almost anyone, regardless of your sexual persuasion. The conversation wheel that was introduced in Mass Effect 2, also makes a welcome introduction, making communicating with your companions much more simplistic.
Dragon Age 2 does suffer from many problems that plagued origins however, such as the beards that seem as though they have been stuck on with pritt stick. Having conversations with your companions with blood splattered across your face for the majority of the game is completely unrealistic, but then again, so is a world inhabited by fire-breathing dragons and dwarves. One aspect from Origins that is sorely missing from DA2 is the ability to travel to various locations. You will spend the vast majority of the game traversing the city of Kirkwall and the surrounding areas, so your literally trapped exploring places that you have visited on numerous occasions, which leaves DA2 feeling very repetitive, specifically when you take into account that Kirkwall is a very grey and dreary enviroment.
Dragon Age 2 really is an impressive game, but it was always likely to be after its lacklustre predecessors, and even though Mass Effect 2 is still a far superior title, it still offers enough depth and rewarding amusement than many RPG’s available at the moment. It’s strange to admit but, if you didn’t enjoy Dragon Age origins, then I encourage you to have a look at Dragon Age 2, and be amazed at how this series has somehow been redeemed.