Dragon Age II was not a bad game. If this is the worst Bio Ware can conjure, well done, because even with its flaws, it's still an adequate game. The combat was more engaging than DA:O, with warriors and rogues taking a much-needed level in badass and have a greater effect on the battlefield and mages getting a much-needed nerf. However, the constant mobs of enemies appearing from the ether was annoying and it made most fights a question of simple attrition. The level design was sub-par. The repeating caves are inexcusable and the high reliance on fetch quests involving randomly found Vendor Trash was annoying. What really irked me was the story, though. Hawke is built up as a pivotal figure who changes everything around him, yet for the most part, he doesn't. People change things around him. Everything is reactive, nothing is proactive. Act I, he's a Lowtown thug scrounging money; Act II, he's a minor nobleman running errands for city leaders; Act III, he's the Champion, running errands for two mutually-aggressive faction leaders. And nowhere in this game does Hawke become a driving force. Everything simply happens around him. He is simply a spectator, not a pivotal figure. Also, the characters and factions? Mostly unlikable. The mages and Templars both turn out to be complete monsters, the city is filled with scum and thugs, and everything goes to hell, Hawke or not. The problem with this is that there is literally nothing worthwhile about any faction. They are all equally bad and therefore all equally unlikable. I couldn't get behind either faction and therefore ended up wondering "why should I care about these characters?" Whether I act diplomatically or harshly, nothing will change and the world is entirely worthless. You finish the game having accomplished nothing, having changed nothing, having involved yourself in nothing. Hawke is a spectator in Kirkwall just as I am a spectator playing this game, and this should never be the case in a Western RPG.
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