I just completed Dragon Age 2 and wow, what a game! Obviously, this is going to be full of spoilers, so don’t read any further if you have not yet played the game.
In my play-through of Dragon Age: Origins (the first game in the series), King Alistair died, sacrificing himself to save the kingdom. Unfortunately, I’d lost my saved games for Origins, so I decided it would be okay to have Alistair alive and well as King in Dragon Age 2. I’ll admit that I had grown attached to him in the first game. He only has a small role to play in Dragon Age 2, but I did get a little giddy when my character had a conversation with him.
The second game in the series is definitely more about making a definitive choice. You can either side with the mages or the Templars. It’s much more definitive in this game than in the first.
So what did I choose? In these sort of games, I tend to look at my character and her background in making these decisions (it’s the actor in me, what can I say?). Knowing that my character had a sister who was a mage and eventually a mage boyfriend (Anders), it seemed fairly clear to me that my Arya Hawke was going to be a champion of the mages.
Interestingly enough, this is opposite of the character I played in the first game, who was gung-ho for the Templars, but the mages in Kirkwall in the second game have it much tougher. They are far more oppressed and desperate. I really felt for their plight.
So, in the end battle, I stood with the mages. Even after Anders blew up the chantry (no big surprise to me because my character did help him sneak in there earlier). And we fought the Templars of Kirkwall and won. And apparently, afterwards, my character disappeared, with only Anders staying on as her companion (yes, I earned the “Romantic” achievement).
I’ve read some reviews about this game saying that it wasn’t as good as the first. I whole-heartedly disagree. I actually liked this game better because the choices seemed even more important this time around. I know some reviewers were irritated that the gameplay bore some similarities to Mass Effect, but I think this is a good thing and felt it lent itself well to the game. It feels as if Bioware took the first game and really built upon it to create an even better sequel.
Eve Myles as Merrill was some of the best voice acting casting I’ve seen in a long time. She gave the elf such character and being a huge Torchwood fan, I loved be-friending her character. The rest of the cast was also brilliant, as well. And if someone could find me an Anders here in the real world (Brit accent and all), I would be a very happy gal!
Graphically, this game is GORGEOUS. The textures of some of the characters’ outfits and the movement and the backgrounds blew me away. The cut scenes are flawless, but so are the scenes of actual game play. I don’t think a single detail was left forgotten when it was developed.
I did find a few quest bugs in the PC version. Quests that refused to be completed, although they were. But these issues were very minor overall and did not seem too utterly frustrating.
So to sum up, great story, great voice acting, great companions and great graphics. I was a little sad that I finished it, but bring on the DLC and Dragon Age 3!