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.
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