Most people go into Dragon Age II expecting an enlargement on the scale of things when brought into comparisons with Origins, its predecessor. The internet is the home of opinions, and many voices have sounded their ultimate dislike for this particular piece in Bioware's franchise. Complaints range from simplified combat, to off-model characters, to retcons, and that's not even counting what some blokes and broads have to say in their staunch defence of Origin's superiority to DA 2
's. Looking at it from all angles, you can hardly find a reason to like the game if you were an entity made up of all these gamers, voicing discontent and blasphemy at the changes offered. My opinion as an individual, though?
Dragon Age II is a remarkable piece of work that adds dimension, subtracts archetype and assumption and equates to an overall experience that (Dare I say it?) exceeds that of the original. The gameplay offers a new addition in the refined cooldown system, making every decision you make in combat that bit more precious, that bit more risky, that bit more consequential. And that is what DA 2
is: a game of consequences (Bugs aside).
There is no line of good and evil clearly drawn. An action propagates a reaction every time you made one, and it echoes so profoundly that it seems that you're not just playing as Hawke, you ARE Hawke. An instance of choice shows in the handling of Feynriel, a half-elf, in a quest to apprehend him. Do you turn him over to the circle out of duty? Do you allow him to rejoin his would-be people for guidance? In another quest that involves him, how do you approach him in freeing him from his prison? Further proceedings show the consequences of all your actions, and shows that sometimes the correct choice isn't as clear-cut as you would think.
Templar or Mages? Life or Death? Lawfulness or Vigilantism? Dragon Age II is a game about choices, and the lines that blur as you march. There is no good here, there is no evil. There is Hawke, there is YOU and sometimes the right thing to do is the worst choice you could make. But Varric is there with you; Isabela and Merrill are there with smiles, Fenris offers his determination, Bethany and Carver their love and Anders... well, is Anders Redux.
And there cannot be a better choice of comrades. This is Hawke's story, and it is remarkable.