A huge step backwards

User Rating: 5 | Dragon Age II X360

The original Dragon Age is as close to a perfect RPG as you are gonna get so I am not surprised that Bioware couldn't match it in terms of quality. What does surprise me is how Bioware essentially stripped down the best elements of that game to give a much more simplified sequel that fails to live up to the original.

Storywise, It's a huge disappointment. The main story is told via flashbacks from one of your companions as he's being interrogated for a reason not explained until the very end. So from there, We are thrown into the story and introduced to a group of characters as they are on the run from "evil". The most annoying part of the introduction is that we aren't really given much story and there are a few characters who are almost immediately killed off and one we never hear of again (after this weak little side quest a little later on in the game).

And that leads me to a pretty big disappointment aspect of this game. In the original, You could actually speak and form a relationship with your companions. In this one, You can't really talk to them outside of their own personal side quests. And from these quests, You form a friendship with most of them and a relationship with one of them (it's your choice, I don't recall if gender plays a role in who you can start a relationship with). So for an RPG to strip down one of the more essential RPG elements is a big flaw to me and it really takes away from the game in a big way. You're gonna grow attached to these characters as you play this game for 30-40+ hours so why not allow for more dialogue and character development rather than just the bare minimum?

The bare minimum also applies to the main story and side missions. There's a lot of repetitiveness here. You are essentially just revisiting the same areas over and over again to do the same thing over and over again, It's boring and it becomes a chore just grinding out these weak side quests that offer a rather bland sub-plot of no real pay off. And the main story features very few quests that are mostly: Sit through a bunch of dialogue, Have a big fight, The End. It's rather disappointing and the ending leaves you rather unsatisfied.

As for the combat, It can be fun but it's annoying that you constantly press the A button to attack, I wish there was an auto-attack instead. Some boss fights can be challenging and actually make you use some kind of strategy rather than just button mash. I don't like that you can only change your companions weapons and not equip them with gear because that'd make a lot of the fights in this game a heck of a lot easier. And while some of the companions can be enjoyable characters, Most of them are rather "eh" in battle. I found myself using the same 3 characters throughout the game and it worked out well.

Speaking of the gear, I am quite disappointed that the quality isn't a lot better for them. I found myself using the same equipment for a bulk of the game because I couldn't find anything better and this is coming from someone who beat every side quest and main quest. And I don't get the point of crafting or using runes at all. I did neither of those things and I beat the entire game without issue so way to drop the ball on that one. And as for the visuals of the game, They're so-so. A little bland at times because you are just repeating the same areas over and over. There are a few noticeable bugs but nothing major. It's just very uninspired looking.

Overall: 5/10
Dragon Age 2 strips all the good parts of the original game and delivers us a very half-baked sequel that fails to live up to the original in any way, shape or form.