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Dragon Age II (Xbox 360)

80
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (954)
Written on  :  May 05, 2011
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

Good sequel and a good game

The Good

The story:

Compared to Dragon Age: Origins the characters are a lot more interesting and diverse. I ended up with using Anders, Varric and Merill as my core-group and I was surprised that even nearing the end of the game they would still talk with each other on a regular basis, with no conversations been repeated. In Origins the conversations stopped after an hour because they ran out of subjects to talk about.

The story is much darker and daring than the previous one. There is conflict between multiple (mostly religious) factions, innocents often end up dying due to politics our of their control and nobody seems to be safe from the works of satanic blood mages. Also big ups for allowing me to use my save from Origins in order to change events in this game.

Some of the quests I assumed were simple and unimportant side-quests would show up later in the story. It really shows everything was planned out really well.

Gameplay:

The combat is more chaotic, in Origins my favorite moment was right at the end during the showdown in Denerim because there were grunts all over the place that died in on or two hits. It didn't make the fights any harder, but it did make for a more epic feeling.

The game is a lot more linear, which means that you spend less time checking bloody side-paths and more time moving forward.

Figuring out what ability to choose is much easier now. Every type has one screen (swords, shields, entropy etc.) And there you see a useful screen showing what you can and can't pick. In Origins you had to scroll down one big list with all the types thrown together.

There is more combat and to me that is one big plus. They even removed the fights that happen whenever you travel somewhere almost entirely because there is a mob of enemies waiting around every corner.

Bugs that were fixed:

In Origins I always had a fight with the looting system because it would take a few seconds for non-humanoid enemies to become loot-able. Here it is fixed and that helps a lot.

People stopped randomly assaulting me while we were talking. I had that a lot in Origins and it was annoying!

The Bad

Presentation:

While Kirkwall is better for story, it doesn't really help the presentation. Everything is the same and you are going to miss Ferelden's variety in areas.

Besides the occasional interesting gory scene the game seems to phoned the blood in a bit. I only saw a handful of finishing moves as well and some of those were in cutscenes that were part of a quest. I did run into a dagger which made enemies explode when back-stabbed, that was pretty sweet.

Difficulty:

I would sometimes run into amazingly hard fights simply by walking into a random alley where a boss would spawn or attacking a single enemy that summoned a whole army of friends to help him. I always save before boss-fights when I know they are going to show up, but I can't possibly be prepared for some of these fights. I once accidentally walked right into a High Dragon, the hardest boss in the entire game.

The auto-save can be annoying at times. One time I died during a boss-fight and I forgot to save before entering his room, so I figured I would be placed back at the start of the castle I died in, but instead I got send back like thirty minutes and had to do all the choices and mini-fights all over again.

The Bottom Line

I would like to call Dragon Age 2 an improvement over Dragon Age: Origins. It is darker and more daring and the gameplay has improved (thanks in part to the removal of some very annoying bugs). The game's presentation may be a little lacking, but I am willing to ignore that.

Dragon Age 2 is much easier to pick up than the first Dragon Age game, so people who want to get into the franchise may find it easier to work through it backwards. Fans of the franchise will run into some frustration due to the many changes that were made, but this game does pay off in the end. A good game and a good sequel!