Dragon Age 2 Revisited

Dragon Age 2 is a game that seems to polarize the Dragon Age fanbase. I know people who loved the first title, but loathed number two with a passion, and even amongst people who enjoyed the sequel, the general consensus is that it’s not as good as Origins. To be honest I tend towards this viewpoint myself. The thing is… I’m fine with that. You see, I appreciate that the developers went for something different with this. I appreciate that they decided against the massively popular concept of sheparding a single protagonist through the entire series (see what I did there) and gave us a new hero for Dragon Age 2. What’s more I appreciate that they told a story that eschewed a lot of the common tropes that fantasy games can fall into.

Now I’m not saying that Dragon Age 2 is a beautiful and unique snowflake, but it is different. For starters there is no big bad for the player to measuring themselves against, and rather than a journey through a massive fantasy space, we get a journey through a space in time. Ten years in the life of a would be hero. It’s a great concept! Yes, the implementation of this concept has its flaws. The city of Kirkwall, which is the setting for the game, began to get tired as we visited the same locations again and again. What’s more I think this is something that wasn’t too difficult to remedy with a bit of tweaking. The developers could have changed the city ever so slightly with each act. For instance, setting the second act during a festival of some kind, hanging banners from the buildings, and setting revellers in the streets could have spiced things up. Something that wouldn’t have taken up too many resources, but would have made the setting sufficiently different as to keep the player engaged. In the final act? I don’t know… maybe have the city reaching boiling point with pro or anti mage propaganda on the walls, grafitti in the poorer areas of town, more guards and templars on the streets, and knots of citizens protesting one way or another, again, not too much of a strain on resources, and again, you give the player a slight different backdrop to play against.

For the record the reused dungeons weren’t something that bothered me, I expect to use my imagination when playing a game, so this is something I could forgive. When I balance Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 in my head though? As much as I loved the characters and story of Origins I did find the combat a little clunky, the only class I really enjoyed playing was the mage. With Dragon Age 2, I’m quite happy to agree with the multitude and say that the story was not as engaging as Origins, and the characters not as memorable (but let’s be fair who can compare to the likes of Alistair, Leliana and, Morrigan? Well… there is Varric!) but the gameplay was a blast! So the actual pleasure I got from both games, the enjoyment factor, was roughly the same.

So here is my plan. I’ve only played Dragon Age 2 to completion once, and I have three sets of DLC that remain unplayed. The Exiled Prince, Legacy, and Mark of the Assassin. So I’m going to go through it again, and post up my thoughts here. Kind of like those ‘Let’s Play’ videos you get on youtube, but in words. I wish I had a webcam so I could do this properly, but I don’t, and seeing as I’m pretty broke at the moment… that’s not really an option. If this goes well however, I might invest in one for my next game. We will see!

I am going to play in hard mode, that way I might end up with some interesting combat stories to tell and make up for the lack of visuals, and I’m going to play as a female Hawke who will be a mage. Wish me luck!

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~ by metafur on May 25, 2012.

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