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Reviews Comments: Nothing Special... Dragon Age II game review by Archereon

Let me just come right out here and say that Dragon Age II is not a bad game. That said, it's not a good game either. If I rated it on a scale from 1-10, I'd give it a 7.5 or maybe an 8.0. While the combat is aesthetically faster, mechanically it runs in slow motion. Whereas a spell in the first game might have a 6 second cooldown, the lowest spell cooldown in Dragon Age II is 10 seconds, making for a button mashing nightmare on consoles, which lack auto-attack due to a disc manufacturing error. Basic attacks do significantly less damage in Dragon Age II compared to auto-attacks in Dragon Age Origin, or rather enemies and players have significantly more health to begin with. The ability trees have been simplified, and it's possible for a player who beat the original game on nightmare to hack and slash their way through many segments of the game on hard or even nightmare. The story pacing is poor in the beginning of the game, and companions can no longer be engaged in conversations except at plot relevant points.

Now that I've gotten past the bad, it's time to start on what's good about this game. The graphics have improved significantly, romance scenes and characters in general have taken a big step away from the Uncanny Valley, and the combat, while not as tactical as the first game, is still enjoyable. The story and character interactions are, in some cases, much more engaging than those that occurred in Dragon Age Origins. Those segments are unfortunately short however, and the overall story is inferior to that of the first game.

In the end, Dragon Age II is a disappointment not because it is a bad or boring game, but because it fails to live up to its predecessor, which could very well be the last CRPG ever made with a AAA budget and development team.


  • 9th Mar 11
3 second cooldown spells in the first game? Someone needs to go check their facts.
  • Archereon
  • 9th Mar 11
Ah, my mistake, 6 seconds for arcane bolt in the first game. Besides the big game breakers like crushing prison, most spells had much shorter cooldowns in Dragon Age Origins, though they did much less damage. Warriors and rogues, depending on their fighting style had 3-5 abilities they could rotate through almost constantly, and mages would be casting almost constantly.
  • BrothaSoul
  • 11th Mar 11
I would just like to applaud you for having a review with reasonable negative points as opposed to the slew of "MORE LIKE DRAGON GAYGE AMIRITE" I've seen on places like Metacritic. I don't agree with you, but it's nice to know that not all of the game's critics are fanboys and morons.
  • 11th Mar 11
And now we're applauding people for not being idiots.
  • Milskidasith
  • 12th Mar 11
The fastest cooldown in the game is actually zero seconds (go go Adrenaline!) but yeah, I can see the cooldowns being higher. Of course, mages were gamebreakingly powerful in the first game, so I think their intent was to dromp them in power; nerfing the cooldowns was part of it. Warriors and Rogues may be less capable of chaining together specials, but they've been given a clear reason to use autoattacks as well; specials are for big things, while autoattacks have enough buffs to keep you going.

I never had trouble with combat being slow or with it being too easy, however. I mean, sure, after very early on trash mobs stop being a problem, but there's not a huge problem with that; killing the trash mobs is quick. Even on hard or nightmare, with the right setup it was very quick to get through everything but the higher end bosses (although my setup involved a haste'd, multiple buffed, non aggro drawing, adrenaline fueled barbarian reaver slicing through enemies while everybody else did relatively little). The only combat problems that I really found were that, for the sake of not spoiling anything, Duel Boss and Gives-You-A-Crafting-Resource-Boss were both far more difficult than anything else in the game. Duel Boss was tough because it was, well, a Duel Boss, but it had a self heal, massive health, and all of its attacks would almost guarantee Hawke getting knocked down, along with the "I'm going to kill you from anything below 75% health" attack that seemed to come out one time randomly at below 50% HP, so the best strategy was to run around waiting for your stun move(s) to come off cooldown just to hit the boss a few times and begin fleeing again. Resource Boss was tough because it had massive health, massive Ao Es, and would decide to become nearly unhittable while summoning swarms of trash mobs [who cares] and tougher mobs and raining down Ao E attacks on your group, even after killing the mobs and waiting for it to become targetable again. But that's kind of the point of that boss, I suppose; one is optional (although you don't know until you already go there) and the other can be made easier at the cost of less rewards, so it's not a huge problem.

TL;DR: Combat didn't really seem slow paced (though I was running a whirlwind of death with the others having decent crowd control), the longer cooldowns were a justifiable nerf on mages and not a huge problem for warriors/rogues with their many autoattack skills, and combat wasn't really super easy or super difficult except against trash mobs and two frustrating bosses.

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