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.
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