Hindsight: Looking Back at Dragon Age II

Dragon Age 2

I know that a fair number of us at GamerSushi have played through the depths of Dragon Age II, exploring the streets of Kirkwall and siding with Mages, Templars or both. I also know that a few of us (including myself) have had some discussions about the shortcomings of Dragon Age II, places where it might have been lacking in comparison to the epic original.

These gripes are well-documented around da Webz, and it seems that Bioware has been listening to people’s issues and complaints. After some flack received about different comments made about Dragon Age II’s design choices, here’s what lead designer Mike Laidlaw had to say on a recent forum post, addressing the swell of criticisms that have been leveled against the sequel:

I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans. Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.

I’m not really posting this to alert everyone of its existence, but rather use this as a spoiler-filled forum for us to talk about how we feel about Dragon Age II, looking back. We don’t do that often enough on GamerSushi, so I want to start making it a point to revisit these games and talk about them in a more open way.

I’ll share more in the comments, but for me, Dragon Age II is one of those experiences that sours with age, and the more I think about it in retrospect, the more it bugs me. For as fun as the game could be at times, it seems that Bioware sacrificed a lot of the thematic things I loved about Origins for the sake of something more accessible. Of course, this makes sense, but Mass Effect 2 showed that they could hit both spots at once.

In hindsight, what are your thoughts on Dragon Age II? Did it surpass or fall short of Origins? How do you feel about Bioware’s comments about it, and are you glad they’re listening? Post whatever spoilers you like below – and if you haven’t played the game, tread carefully.

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2 thoughts on “Hindsight: Looking Back at Dragon Age II”

  1. From the very get-go, I really enjoyed DA2 – moreso than Origins on most counts when it comes to fun. It had a few short comings, as do all games (even the lovely Witcher 2) But overall it was a game I thoroughly enjoyed, and it continues to sit well with me.

  2. I loved, and do love still, Dragon Age 2. Origins was a better game in nearly every aspect but 2 still had some good qualities.

    Flashy moves added a certain pizzaz to the proceedings but I did miss the awesome finishing moves. Also Wave Kombat was annoying and the enemies with miniscule health bars made me feel more akin to a bully than a Champion.
    The Conversation Wheel was also a great addition and a significant improvement on Mass Effect’s. It would have been better though if characters would better respond to different attitudes (beyond Varric and Isabella being funnier when you choose ‘sarcasm’), eg. Threatening people could replace ‘Intimidate’ from Origins and ‘Diplomatic’ ‘Coercion’ (with appropriate Strength and Cunning stats of course). Alternatively, using allies in conversations more often would have been better.
    The characters, both allies and enemies, were well constructed and very interesting. Banter was once again excellent, “Nice night out for an evening…” or (my personal favourite) “Did he… Grey your Warden? Shank your Jory? Arl your Eamon? Explore your Deep Roads? Satisfy the demands of your Qun? Taint yor joining? Oh, that’s an old one!” I only wish I could actually SPEAK to them rather than have, say, Fenris endlessly repeat; “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, “Hawke”, when I try to speak with him.
    I loved the cameos from Origins aswell. Seeing Alistair, Zevran and Lelliana was an absolute joy (especially when Zevran showed up in the fight against Meredith).
    Also, one of the Dalish Elves had a Northern Irish accent! Ma serannas Bioware.
    What else…
    Music in 2 > Origins.
    Now, what REALLY pissed me off was the lack of consequence (I mean, you just kill EVERYONE anyway so what’s the fucking point?). I mean like, in Act 3 you HAVE to side with Meredith AND Orsino. WHY?????? I’ve done everything in my power to STOP the Templars (bar Thrask and the guy who was going to be possesed) so why would I all of a sudden would I start killing Mages for her? Sure they were bad Mages bar the last one but still… if it wasn’t for the fact that I got Part of the Champion’s Armour I would’ve skipped that quest. I’ve yet to see the Templar ending, but I have a funny feeling that shit goes down rather similarly to the Mage ending. Hopefully DLC will rectify this problem.

    That DOES seem overwhelmingly negative but I really did enjoy it a lot. I’m still going between Origins and 2 to platinum both games and I’m STILL enjoying the hell out of them. Bar the Fade section in Origins. That’s one bastard of a level.

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