Video Game Thoughts: Dragon Age II

Dragon Age II was a 2011 role-playing game by Bioware that I played on the PC. While Bioware improved the combat system, they removed most of the exploration that Dragon Age: Origins had. The player was restricted to just a single city and some outlying areas. They also went with a fully voiced main character, making it harder to role-play. For example, if I made a warrior character who always upheld the law or a rogue character who always subverted the law, they would both have the same voice. There was a slightly different nuance to the lines depending on the character’s previous dialogue choices, but for the most part, the voice sounded the same. They didn’t feel like different characters. In short, most players considered Dragon Age II to be a letdown compared to the original Dragon Age: Origins, but I thought differently.

For one, when it comes to exploration (or scope) versus good gameplay, I always prefer good gameplay. Lots of exploration will make a game longer, but that means nothing if the gameplay is boring. For role-playing games that pretty much means the combat system needs to be good. Dragon Age II had the better combat system. There were slightly fewer choices than Dragon Age: Origins, but they were all balanced really well. This created a lot more replay value. I could think of several builds to play that would be fun. Unfortunately, this was right around the time I started this blog and started cutting down the number of games I play. Otherwise, I’d still be testing out different sets of skills.

Another improvement to me was that Dragon Age II had a much brighter world than Dragon Age: Origins. Even in the lighter areas, Dragon Age: Origins always seemed really dark like it was overcast all the time with a lens filter on the camera. Dragon Age II was very bright in the city of Kirkwall. Even the outer areas had lots of light. The themes were still too mature though, too much graphic violence and romance scenes.

I didn’t think Dragon Age II was perfect. I agree it could have used a much bigger world to explore, but these few improvements were enough for me to prefer it generally over Dragon Age: Origins. Neither game was one of my favorites, but if I had to play one again I would choose Dragon Age II.


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