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Dragon Age 2
I believe that Dragon Age 2 is a wonderful game, and I would probably give it a 9.5 or a 10 out of 10. Combat is far less repetitive than the first game, and the increase in the number of talents/spells relative to the maximum number of talent points makes character design much more versatile than in Origins. The writing and graphics have also improved dramatically, I really enjoyed the fact that Aveline can have a romantic partner that isn't Hawke. There is a lot more dialogue and space to develop the characters in Dragon Age 2 than in Origins, and the increased frequency of interactions between other party members without Hawke present really adds to that. Characters are much more defined in their own right instead of being defined only in how they relate to Hawke. The wider story is also more interesting, as Hawke isn't a special Chosen One-sort of character out to defeat absolute evil, he is just a man who happens to rise to the occasion in a chaotic city and build his fortune. He has no grand heritage or special power, nothing is handed to him on a silver platter, he has to work for everything he gets. On the graphics front, the stylized inter-chapter cutscenes during Varric's narration were a wonderfully clever touch, and the character models look much more realistic than those in Origins, especially the wider variety of ways to construct Hawke's face without making him look absurd. The Qunari have also improved dramatically, gaining their own distinct look instead of looking like big grey humans, and the appearance of Qunari armor looks properly exotic.

The only real complaint I have about Dragon Age 2 is the changes to the appearance of the elves. They actually looked more like elves in the first game, the new elves look like slightly smaller humans with bat wings in place of ears.

I do advise readers to take my gushing review with a grain of salt; Bio Ware has never created a game that I don't like and I am much more interested in the writing and the story than actual gameplay. This is probably not the game for munchkins who love killing dragons with a rusty spoon or some such. However, hardcore fans who have been playing since the heady days of Baldur's Gate will enjoy the return to a more complex story and well-written characters with more than a half-dozen conversations, a few throwaway lines, and one mission to characterize them.
You made Hawke a male?
comment #6755 130.49.70.185 11th Mar 11
You do realise that a half-dozen conversations, a few throwaway lines, and one mission to characterise them was practically all you got in Baldur's Gate? DA:O allowed for far more than that. And I disagree with the Elves part. Elves in Dragon Age: Origins looked like, well, smaller humans with slightly pointed ears. DA 2, for all it's flaws, made the Elves a noticeably different race to humans. Whether or not you think that a good thing is up to you.

I also feel that the story is a little constrained. Wider politics, such as Dwarven-Human trade relations, are barely touched upon, as opposed to the political debates that you got involved in DA:O.
comment #6756 88.110.140.112 11th Mar 11
The Character design was much more comic-esque than in Origins, with Aveline looking especially bad. And don't get me started on the Origin characters' cameos. Alistair and Zevran both looked ugly. I understand that giving Zevran the new elf design was necessary, but did his mimic have to be limited to an angry face? Alistair looked ugly as well and had almost no change in facial expression. They even ruined Teagan, who actually looked quite handsome in Origins.

Don't get me wrong, the game was decent, although I did set the difficulty on casual halfway through the second playthrough just to get it over with. What really pissed me off, however, was the armor design. I loved Origins' armor design, the Juggernaut armor set would give me constant eyegasms. DA 2's armors mostly look like toy armor for children and during Alistair's cameo I wanted to strangle someone for that ugly piece of shit he was wearing (sorry for the language). I want shiny armor, goddamnit. Hopefully, the modding community will fix this.
comment #6924 88.130.136.211 20th Mar 11
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