Dragon Age 2 (PS3)

Dragon Age 2 Playstation 3 box
7.66 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Mechanics: 6/10
Story: 8/10

Updated graphics | Easier gameplay

Too much map re-use | No gear management

Game Info

GAME NAME: Dragon Age 2


PUBLISHER(S): Electronic Arts

PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360

GENRE(S): Action RPG

RELEASE DATE(S): March 8, 2011


Dragon Age 2, developed by Bioware and published by EA, is the much anticipated sequel to Dragon Age Origins. The game released on March 8, 2011 in North America to wildly mixed reviews. The critics seem to think DA2 is a good game (at 82%), but the fans have been all over the place, leaving the PS3 version with a user score 3.9 out of 10. And I can’t say that I disagree. The game is pretty, and it’s easy to play, but it feels like there’s something missing; leaving the game experience rather soulless and empty. As much as Dragon Age Origins needed some minor tweaking to make it a better game, I tend to think Bioware simply missed the mark on Dragon Age 2.

The Dragon Age 2 story centers around the main character, Hawke; who can be male or female, warrior, mage, or rogue, and customized to suit your preferences for his or her appearance. The story starts out with Hawke’s escape from Lothering as the Blight attacks. From there, Hawke and the family manage to get to Kirkwall, across the sea. The driving force behind the opening of the story is simply to get somewhere safe. Once you do that, the game kind of degenerates into an endless series of fetch quests. As the game develops, the fetch quests continues with endless visits to the same areas. Honestly, one of the worst cases of set piece recycling I’ve ever seen.

The game play this time around is much more action oriented. The X button is now a basic attack instead of move-to-target as in the DAO and Awakenings, and the new combat mechanics are much faster paced. Everything also seems a bit dumbed down – almost too easy, really. You start with more backpack space, but junk items are clearly marked as such and you can’t change the armor of any of your party members as their armor is fixed with only a few purchasable stat upgrades available throughout the game. All of the armor you do get, is intended for Hawke and comes in pieces usable by one class or another (e.g., if you are playing a warrior and you get a mage’s robe, it’s intended for Hawke, even though you’ll never be able to use it). You can switch out weapons, except for the little dwarf rogue – he gets stuck with the crossbow no matter what.

The sound and music are both good. And the graphics look like they have been seriously updated, though I’m not sure whether this is due to a graphics engine upgrade or a change in art style. At any rate, DA2 looks much better, albeit more comic book like, than DAO or Awakenings. The one major addition to the game is that the main character, Hawke, now has completely voiced over dialog. No more silent main character while everyone else in the world speaks normally. It is definitely much enjoyable to hear Hawke than being forced to read all that dialog while everyone else around you chats away like magpies.

In the end, DA2 is a mixed bag. The game is easy to play, it’s enjoyable, it’s pretty, but it doesn’t feel like Dragon Age. There’s something missing. Nothing in this game feels epic like it did in DAO. There is no epic storyline, no sense of destiny. The story just feels contrived, like it was slapped together with bits and pieces from discarded storylines without any thought given to a singular underlying element that elevates the story to epic and magical. Still, the game is very playable and with the ability to Hawke as a warrior, mage or rogue, each with sever different specs, there is some replayability to the game. But there is always that nagging feeling that something is missing. If were mean I’d say the game is as soulless as an unadopted Cabbage Patch kid, but that might be taking is a bit too far. For me, I have to give Dragon Age 2 a 7.66 out of 10 because Bioware just missed the mark on this one. Otherwise it’s a decent game. Rent it first, and if you like it, then buy it. But don’t expect Dragon Age Origins, you won’t get it.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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