Total Pageviews

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Dragon Age 2

Developer(s) BioWare

Publisher(s)   Electronic Arts (EA)

Platform         Xbox 360, PC, PS3

Release date March 2011

Genre(s)         Role Playing

Mode(s)         Single-player

Rating(s) PEGI 18
                      ESRB M

Like I said, I’m going to make a review of this game. It took me this long because I have to make sure weather to rate it high or low based on my discoveries. So I have to finish the game before I make my final say.

To start off, the story talks about the Champion of Kirkwall who’s Last named “Hawke” narrated by one of his allies a Dwarf named “Varric” while he's interrogated by a Chantry Seeker named “Cassandra”. Your job is to shape the champion’s journey as Varric tell the story. So you’re playing the character’s past to figure out the interrogation in the first place, although it’s not bad.

So what’s the “bad” thing about this game? Actually, there are so many things I wanted to get off my chest before I praise this game. When I hear about DA, the first thing went in my mind is killing more Darkspawns and Dragons, talk about the Grey Wardens and many places to explore (and that includes other villages and cities...etc). Unfortunately, there were a fewer Darkspawns and Dragons to kill, Grey Wardens were sighted to a very minimum encounters and the worst part is, limited explorations (not to mention a fairly but linear storyline).

How it came to this? I don’t know how Bioware developed the game but it failed to give me that “epic” feel compared to Dragon Age: Origins did when it comes to impact of storytelling & that left me disappointed.

Fewer Darkspawn and Dragons to kill because at most of the time you’re preoccupied on killing other races and groups as based on the story. As I mentioned of Gray Wardens, it’s actually a spoiler so I’ll have to leave it there. But one of the most hurtful things for me was the places to explore. It’s only Kirkwall and a few outskirts from the city and that’s all, dungeon designs were surprisingly repetitive/recycled and similar to the point that suddenly made me frown whenever I see a path on the mini map and can’t access it or a similar map of a different quest & dungeon. I mean the designs were cheap and I can’t believe it came from a well respected RPG game developing company. And that made triggered to criticize this much.

Some hiccups I found like when setting a member’s tactics to self healing when health bar is at certain percentage, the character will not heal and I went like “wth!? So the tactics were useless then?” Other tactical commands will not activate right away like you want it to so I don’t know if that’s a bug or a direct mistake; And that left to force me on keeping an eye on my teammates while I fight my way through the crowd. Nail biting decisions were also trimmed down to a few and that made me lose the feel of my character as “The Champion” for just a bit.

A sad note also includes that I can only customize the Champion’s armor and the rest will only look the same which I wish that they never should have taken off that feature.

I also found that the game was rushed and unpolished with glitches, insanely weird AIs, cheap dungeon designs, linear storyline and a limited world to explore but enough of the ranting and time to remark the good things about Dragon Age 2.

First thing I noticed was a graphical improvements, cut censes are delivered swell and it’s much crispier and well detailed (not to mention Isabella’s hot tan cleavage and female Hawke’s default and hot face). Combat details are mind blowing in terms of visual effects and executions and the landscapes has more details but just don’t mind the frame rate issues though (but I personally don’t care much in graphics). It is safe to say that on a graphical perspective, DA 2 surpasses the previous franchise.

                                                   She's a hot and cute for a female hero.

Gameplay has wowed me with speedy battle executions, it also did not remove the use of pausing to strategize your combat though so kudos to that. While most quests were pointless (like earning enough money to go to The Deep Roads just to name a few…) and a few hard decision making quests, some were engaging including the “Companion” quests which help you develop your relationship with your team members which leads to a possible romance.

                                          Yes, more blood.

Sounds and music blended very well to the game including sound positioning when using at least 5.1 surround sound. Even though I personally prefer DA:O with so many colorful voice actors and different personalities, I could say that DA2 also has a few charming characters in the game with their voice acting skills; it’s good though but not as epic as the first one. The protagonist is no longer mute unlike DA:O which I found so appealing and the conversational choices also taken from Mass Effect which gives that epic feeling when executing conversations.

Another cool returning element that featured DA is listening two companions interact while you walk which are mostly hilarious and my personal Favorites are the handsome Dwarf Varric and the naughty Isabella as she interacts with other teammates with naughty remarks and replies.

My final notes to Dragon Age 2 is that the first one is better although that dose not mean that DA2 is a total disaster, it has improvements but they also trimmed down some key elements like depth in world explorations, armor customizations, game duration, linear storyline and also plenty of bugs.

The Champion has made a serious impact on the world of DA, after I saw the ending, I just said to myself that the world will give so many possibilities of the outcome.

I may hope that their upcoming DLCs will turn things around but I have to excuse Bioware and EA that I was disappointed of the downsides and I hope that they’ve learned their lessons. An RPG game should not be rushed as it is a long process of preparation; I also hope that Mass Effect 3 will not disappoint the many who believe in them.

For DA fans, they should check this out (familiar faces that you will encounter so you’re in for a treat) and for the new comers, if you don’t get the story go get DAO before getting this one but for sure that you will have fun with the battle systems of this game.

Overall, it looks better than the previous title, just count out the complexity of the world.

Overall, its no doubt that it looks better than the previous one.

Aside from minor hiccups, the gameplay improved nicely.

Musical score, sound effects and vice acting is at its best.

Aside from its imperfections, DA 2 is a good RPG game to have and replayability is possible if you want to try different classes, sex and romances for that matter.

Score 8.0/10

Fast phased, challenging and blood battle system
Graphically detailed compare to the previous title
Mass Effect style of conversational system
Lively and lovable protagonist due to it finally has a voice to reply

Linear plot
Repetitive dungeon designs
Small and limited world to explore
Mostly buggy in battle system
The “Epic” feel dose not compare to the previous one