If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
glendale1 wrote this review on .
I liked this game. I LOVED the first one. But I really only liked this one. I have a few beefs with Dragon Age II.
The first one is the fact that Bioware hates mages. They love Rogues! And they are also good with warriors, but they HATE mages. Since mages don't really exist, it's hard to get mad at them for this, but it does seriously hamper your enjoyment of the game if you like to wield magic. The magic staffs are lame, the casting times are long, and the spells are weak. Even the story line is so weighted against magic that almost every mage in the game ends up becoming a demon possessed psycho. It makes it nearly impossible to play even as sympathetic to the mages "plight".
My second beef is the inventory. Only the main character gets any armor. The companions get one outfit which they cannot change or "ahem"... remove. They can find or buy some upgrades to their outfits, but they are cosmetically invisible.
My third beef is that there is no real base of operations where you can access all your companions at once. This makes inventory management difficult. You have to go somewhere where you can change party members manually in order to equip the best accessories and weapons to your companions. Then you have to return "home" to stash anything you want to keep. Then you must travel to a third location to sell any junk you have left over. It is just tedious and sloppy. In fact, the whole game seems a little slapped together. In the endgame scenes some of the main characters even had all white glitched costumes without pattern or color rendering at all. My main character slowed down to a pantomimed crawl while his enemies still dashed around at breakneck speeds. I feel like Bioware slipped us a badly recycled product at regular retail prices here. And the whole "purchase-able downloadable premium content" available on the same day as the game releases is just transparently greedy. They are purposely holding back some necessary elements to a good game in order to sell them to you on the side. Kind of like buying a new car but having to pay extra for the steering wheel.
My next beef is the maps. They are purposely contrived to look bigger than they really are. Whole portions of the map are blocked off. What is the point of that, exactly? It's just a cheap trick.
There is romance for those that want it, be they gay, straight or anything in-between. However, the male companions are effeminate and/or ugly while the female companions are at least pretty (if a bit butch). But you know, baby steps. At least they're trying, which is more than can be said of most games.
My last beef with the game is lockpicking. You can only open locked chests and disarm traps if you are a Rogue. If you are a Rogue you must spend the bulk of your level up points on the "Cunning" attribute, which controls lockpicking and trap disarming prowess. The problem is, this leaves you with very little points to spend on anything else including health or "Dexterity" which determines the damage you do and the weapons you can wield. Acquisition of wealth, hoarding and looting are some of the main appeals of this type of game and unlocking chests should be a skill available to all characters! I can't stress this enough as this one aspect of game severely limits your character progression and companion selection! How could they not have learned this from the first game?
Okay, ranting aside the game was a lot of fun. I am not sorry I bought it and I will play it over again a few times before I get rid of it. The graphics are crisp and the character models are fluid and realistic. The dialog is smooth and nuanced and the music is atmospheric and content appropriate. The scale of the game is good but not as sweeping as the first as most of the action all takes place in one city. Choice plays a big part in the story making replay value good. I do recommend playing it. But in case you miss the "message" of the game, let me sum it up for you.