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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 10:37am 16/03/11 | 75 Comments
There's been a lot of talk about it, and even some controversy over the decision to offer a named, fully voiced character, but BioWare's epic fantasy RPG sequel, Dragon Age 2, is out and upon us.

We decided to offer it up to the one person we know with no life; the guy who could give the game the hours it needed to be fully reviewed, and he didn't disappoint. Kosta Andreadis didn't sleep for a week and also never left the comfort of his bedroom, still at his parent's house (this fact, is actually true). But either way, he's served up the goods on one of the year's first major gaming releases - does it stack up to the legacy left with the first game, or even stand proudly alongside their other epic, Mass Effect 2?

Click here to read the review and find out.





(compare all prices)






Latest Comments
Hogfather
Posted 10:44am 16/3/11
Spoiler:
Heh, 8.5?

Incoming uproar :P



(just in case thats a spoiler!)
konstie
Posted 11:04am 16/3/11
ehhh i haven't finished the game but i am enjoying it. the score is reasonable if you ask me.
Eorl
Posted 11:06am 16/3/11
I felt it lacked epicness like its predecessor, but did quite ok by itself. It was fun and mindless, which is what I want from a game. Game of the year? No, not quite. A fun game? Yea sure.

One of the things that annoyed me the most was the dialogue. Choosing one option made Hawke day something completely different. An example, choosing to say "I am a mage" responds with "Mages should be considered equals". Very odd and frustrating.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 11:09am 16/3/11
I had a feeling that Steve would award this at 8.5

I think 7.5 is more reasonable score.
DM
Posted 11:15am 16/3/11
Yeah I think that score is more suitable too Tolla. Also whats up with ragging on this reviewer? I know it's just a joke but seem rather harsh.
Nerfington
Posted 11:30am 16/3/11
I wasn't personally worried about the not-saving-the-world thing (Baldurs Gate 2 wasn't about saving the world and it was awesome :D), just moreso whether the new combat (spawning waves and everything exploding with apparently no need to do anything) is incredibly boring, whether the lack the of things like ISO camera makes it feel cheap and annoying compared to its predecessor, etc.

Will find the time for it some day regardless.
Reverend Evil
Posted 11:34am 16/3/11
This months Atomic magazine gave it 94% which seems a little high from what I've been reading of the game. Anyway, I won't be getting it because I didn't even finish the first one.
Ickus
Posted 11:39am 16/3/11
While I am finding DA2 enjoyable it does have a heavy console port feel to me.

You are forced down narrow paths constantly, there is no friendly fire (I love friendly fire in DA:O), reduced character selection and other consoley features.

There are some good intra-party convos which are entertaining (Varric vs Aveline and Bethany vs elf fighter[name?]). The combat styling is much more interesting to play then DA:O.
ravn0s
Posted 11:41am 16/3/11
theres friendly fire if you put it on nightmare.

8.5 is higher than i thought you guys would give it. im 25hrs in and still loving it.
parabol
Posted 11:41am 16/3/11
Bioware doesn't seem to be doing so well with sequels these days. Mass Effect was a freaking awesome game with a gripping story the entire way through. Proper combat, huge areas to explore, vehicular action too.

Mass Effect 2 just felt like a dumbed down console game: a single button is used for run, cover, jump, interact, chat, etc. Shepard talks like a robot throughout the whole thing. No vehicles or planetary exploration (wtf mining?) The explorable area of the Citadel is tiny compared to the first game, no awesome out-doorish area. 80% of the game is spent piss-farting around doing useless quests that have nothing to do with the plot. Generally polished and nicely cinematic though, I've got to give them that.

Seems like they've dumbed down Dragon Age 2 too, so I might give it a pass.
ravn0s
Posted 11:45am 16/3/11
Shepard talks like a robot throughout the whole thing.


play fem shep, shes so much better.


No vehicles or planetary exploration (wtf mining?)


theres is, its free dlc but its not to the same extent as the first game. exploring planets in first game was f*****g boring anyway.
parabol
Posted 11:58am 16/3/11
theres is, its free dlc

I've got the Steam version and I can't see any free DLC. I've signed up and everything, can only see DLC that requires points/credit.

(sorry to derail, but this seems to be a good place to discuss bioware stuff)
simul
Posted 12:03pm 16/3/11
I'm really liking the game, but at the same time a bit disappointed. However I think my disappointment is more that this is all there is until the next elder scrolls or FF come out, rather than being disappointed in the game itself. I really like it, but it does feel less epic, and feels (when I'm not engrossed playing it) that I'm just running around in a circle within a single city until it ends.

I would agree that it also does lack a sense of that Baldurs 2 gameplay feel (lots of item equipping, very open gameplay), it feels a lot more streamlined. Not that I don't like the streamlined approach, but DA1 for me was the first game in years that really felt like an oldschool western RPG, and DA2 feels like oldschool RPG genre just had its head cut off - thats my real issue with the game.

last edited by simul at 12:03:39 16/Mar/11
Tollaz0r!
Posted 12:08pm 16/3/11
This day and age with AAA titles, enemies just 'popping' or phasing into existence is pretty poor form as is copy and pasting dungeons with povo blocked off areas to make them 'different'.

It wouldn't have been too hard to have the enemies coming running in from around corners or anything ESPECIALLY considering they reused so many dungeons/areas. Imagine the enemies yelling for reinforcements and the noise and battlecry's of the incoming forces as they run in.

With just a little more time this game could have been MUCH better, perhaps even worth that 8.5 score.
Rawprawn
Posted 12:13pm 16/3/11
Interesting review. There has been so much bad press about it that I'm sure the games positive attributes are marginalized. It isn't at the top of my list of games to buy, but i enjoyed origins too much to not give this one a chance.
deadlyf
Posted 03:33pm 16/3/11
Still surprised that people think a professional review should reflect their own personal tastes in games.

I reckon an 8.5 is a very fair review. The personal point of view of a gamer is never going to reflect the true value of any individual game so if I was to say that I'd personally score it at 7.5 (which I would) it's only because I'm comparing it to games I'd consider better or worse and not truly objectively on the games own merit as you would expect from a professional review.

It's interesting to see the varied responses and the things that seem to be the biggest issues for people though. I love story based games that are usually only found in the RPG genre but can't stand the barbie doll dress up and RNG game play that plagues such games so when those factors are toned down I'm stoked, particularly since it's rarer to find good storied titles without such boring aspects of the RPG game play. Others on the other hand seem to flip out over such omissions and rather than say the game play has been improved (DA:O game play was f*****g awful) they say it's been dumbed down and seem to act as if they have been personally wronged by the developers.

End of the day, I enjoyed the game and would recommend it to anyone who isn't a D&D nerd.
konstie
Posted 03:35pm 16/3/11
what! making your whole team wear matching armour is badass.
Darkhawk
Posted 04:37pm 16/3/11
I'm over half-way through, I'd give it a 9.5. It's the little things that make it for me, like Isabella's boobs becoming more realistic towards the end and other story twists that involve Varric's embellishments!
Khel
Posted 04:40pm 16/3/11
I have it working now after installing some beta drivers, and I've played it a bit more, and so far I'm preferring the "dumbed down" stuff that people are complaining about over how Origins worked. The combat in origins was way too slow and boring, feels much faster paced and more fun now, and I like not having to micromanage every aspect of my party's gear. Its not like you can't give them ANYTHING, when I heard people b****ing about it I thought you couldn't equip anything to your party but they can still have rings, amulets, belts, weapons, thats enough customisation for me.
ravn0s
Posted 05:00pm 16/3/11
there's also armour upgrades for them khel. you get them from stores, quests and mob drops.
Eorl
Posted 05:01pm 16/3/11
I do enjoy the more actiony theme to it. I like blowing s*** up as a mage. I even have a hacked character that has unlimited gold, level 50 and best armour. It's hilarious just running and gunning.
ravn0s
Posted 05:13pm 16/3/11
mage is pretty easy mode. i only pause the game if im up against a high level mob like a dragon.

edit: also gravitic ring is op. i love it

last edited by ravn0s at 17:13:39 16/Mar/11
Bah
Posted 05:11pm 16/3/11
The combat in origins was way too slow and boring, feels much faster paced and more fun now,
I see people say this, but i do not see it at all, its still the same pause every couple of seconds to make sure your team isnt doing something retarded just like in dao, unless you're playing it on normal/easy, in which case you probably could have cakewalked dao without pausing too?
And they took away the top down view, which makes it harder to aim your area spells (so no ff is a good thing now at least), and if an enemy is at a different height to your team its near impossible to aim at them sometimes.

The game isnt bad and 8.5 is fair enough, but it doesnt bring anything new to the table.
Eorl
Posted 05:12pm 16/3/11
That is why all the reviewers claiming GOTY and re-invigorating the RPG genre are paid off. Anyone with a brain cell can see that. What it really is, is a fun game, with some simpler mechanics and bit more console geared. But ultimately, it's still fun.
ravn0s
Posted 06:47pm 16/3/11
I've got the Steam version and I can't see any free DLC. I've signed up and everything, can only see DLC that requires points/credit.



login to you bioware account and go to:

http://social.bioware.com/user_entitlements.php

dlc with (cerberus network) next to them are the free stuff.

firewalker is the vehicle maps.
Mordecai
Posted 10:46pm 16/3/11
Anyone see this over at reddit?

http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/g3td7/dragon_age_2_conspiracy_highest_rated_metacritic/


Enginner at BioWare gives his own game a perfect 10 on metacritic. Doesn't tell people he works for BioWare so is probably a little biased.
First post ever, but I think you'll find this interesting...

Checked out Metacritic for Dragon Age 2 reviews (after hearing about all the changes from Origins, was a bit skeptical). After seeing it got a generally favorable score, I checked out the user reviews, since they usually offer a more accurate portrayal of how a game actually plays.

Right off the bat, I notice there's something...off with the top user review (by 'Avanost'). It reads almost like a press release. I do not trust it:

"The immersion and combat of this game are unmatched! A truly moving and fun epic. Anything negative you'll see about this game is an overreaction of personal preference. For what it is, it is flawlessly executed and endlessly entertaining" (emphasis added).

Sketchy to say the least.

So I check Avanost's Metacritic profile (http://www.metacritic.com/user/Avanost - cache), and, whaddya know, he’s only ever written one review. On Dragon Age 2.

So I Google ‘Avanost’, because I’m starting to not trust this motherf*****. And a Plurk (WTF is Plurk) profile shows up (http://www.plurk.com/avanost), revealing a name.

So I Google the name, all the while cautioning myself that this could be a completely different Avanost, and not to jump to conclusions, and WHAT THE F*** HE’S AN ENGINEER AT BIOWARE.
Reverend Evil
Posted 11:17pm 16/3/11
LOL

That's f*****g hilarious
ravn0s
Posted 11:18pm 16/3/11
im sure a lot of developers do the same thing.
Crakaveli
Posted 01:25am 17/3/11
What a f*****g joke.

Anyone seen of a review for this game where it gets slammed like it deserves?
Fixah
Posted 01:11am 19/3/11
This is so funny for the wrong reasons i had to share it:



The real b****ing starts at 8:00 mins. He looks like he's about to cry. Oh and it has some spoilers.
ravn0s
Posted 08:44pm 20/3/11
just finished with 44 hours played. a lot shorter than the 75 hours with origins but i still loved it.
darkjedi
Posted 09:06pm 20/3/11
I've racked up about 6hrs so far and reckon it's quite a bit of fun. Definitely RPG-lite, but that's not always a bad thing.
simul
Posted 09:10pm 20/3/11
I'm 35 hours in and enjoying it. Its not origins, but its still a solid RPG.
ravn0s
Posted 09:14pm 20/3/11
end fight was pretty cool but terribly easy. hardest fight was probably the high dragon. took me 30 minutes to kill it.
reload!
Posted 10:21pm 20/3/11
how in the sweet jesus titty f*****g christ anyone is able to get more than 30 hours out of this game is beyond me
reload!
Posted 10:22pm 20/3/11
44 hours rav!?

did you find out a way to make your char walk everywhere or what?
ravn0s
Posted 10:29pm 20/3/11
i did every quest i could find and read every codex. my friend finished in the same amount of time as well.
Pirroh
Posted 10:37pm 20/3/11
I'm only twelve hours in and I can't bear to play it anymore.
Sc00bs
Posted 10:39pm 20/3/11
yeah i started with mage, got to lvl 14 n restarted with a rogue.

much more fun with a rogue imo

rogue and 3 mages is a winner
Pirroh
Posted 10:48pm 20/3/11
I might have to do that scoobs, i'm pretty much in the same situation with my mage.
ravn0s
Posted 10:57pm 20/3/11
3 mages? impossible if your not one yourself.


edit: never mind, its possible in the first third of the game.

last edited by ravn0s at 22:57:25 20/Mar/11
reload!
Posted 11:11pm 20/3/11
actually I can probably understand if you watched the cutscenes and dialogue, combined with reading everything.

I started skipping every single bit of dialogue after the first act.

Oh what's that? you're having a conversation? ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC until I could play again. Whilst initially non fussed, the voice acting really leaves a lot to be desired.

The 26 hours I spent to finish with every quest done was almost entirely in game, skipped through pretty much every single conversation.

Nerfington
Posted 11:15pm 20/3/11
I started skipping every single bit of dialogue after the first act.

Oh what's that? you're having a conversation? ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC until I could play again. Whilst initially non fussed, the voice acting really leaves a lot to be desired.

Isn't the story a large part of the game? My flatmate told me yesterday that she skips ahead in books when she wants to know what happens. I almost disowned her.

I'm only twelve hours in and I can't bear to play it anymore.

Can I ask why? I've been putting it off, not sure if they did the right thing or not.
ravn0s
Posted 11:16pm 20/3/11
i thought the voice acting was pretty blood good. your character having a voice is so much better than the mute stare in origins.
Nerfington
Posted 11:17pm 20/3/11
Though I do think Bioware tends to go down a path of "having dialogue for the sake of dialogue" sometimes which is really disinteresting, especially if it was the bulk of the game. This whole game seems forced rather than inspired from what I've seen, so I can believe it's uninteresting.
Sc00bs
Posted 12:45am 21/3/11
3 mages? impossible if your not one yourself.


no, i was a rogue, had bethany and the 2 other mages under my control for a fair while. took bethany with me undergound n she died so i only have 2 mages left now.

deadlyf
Posted 01:18am 21/3/11
Whilst initially non fussed, the voice acting really leaves a lot to be desired.

I started with a male warrior but got pissed off with how he looked before I discovered the Emporium so went with a female mage for my first play through. I thought the voice acting was really well done until I went back to my male warrior and yeah, the actor did a pretty lousy job. The female voice is spot on though, comparing the males performance to the female is cringe worthy.

I also found Carver to be much more interesting as a character than Bethany.

I've found a bug where if you use one of the talent resetting potions and then save before you redo your abilities you can end up with some extra abilities when you load the save. I was able to get all 3 specialities doing that as even though some of the abilities have been selected already you still have all of your reset points.
Scooter
Posted 07:01am 21/3/11
Sc00bs;
Spoiler:
Even if you don't take her down, she gets taken off you by the Circle of Mages/Templars
ravn0s
Posted 09:19am 21/3/11
no, i was a rogue, had bethany and the 2 other mages under my control for a fair while. took bethany with me undergound n she died so i only have 2 mages left now.


yer hence my edit.

I also found Carver to be much more interesting as a character than Bethany.


same, thats why i had him as my main tank in the beginning. after a certain event happened i had to use fenris who is a complete c*** imo.
Khel
Posted 05:48pm 21/3/11
Merill is my favourite character atm, I dunno why Dalish elves suddenly speak with Irish accents in this game, but it suits her character perfectly. I like the idea behind Anders' character, has the potential to be really badass, but I used him for a while and he just wasn't a very interesting character which is a shame.

I'm still not all that far through, but do you get a Qunari in your party at all in this game? I just did the quest where you take the Qunari Sarebas through the tunnels under the city to "rescue" him, and I thought for a little bit he might end up a party member which would have been pretty cool cos the sarebas look awesome, but alas it was not to be.
Nerfington
Posted 05:50pm 21/3/11
Anders is in it again? Sweet
Khel
Posted 05:57pm 21/3/11
Yeah, I never played any of the DLC for the original, so he was new to me
Crakaveli
Posted 05:58pm 21/3/11
No Khel you don't get a Qunari party member.
ravn0s
Posted 06:19pm 21/3/11
Merill is my favourite character atm, I dunno why Dalish elves suddenly speak with Irish accents in this game, but it suits her character perfectly.


she has a welsh accent. all the other dalish are irish though.


I'm still not all that far through, but do you get a Qunari in your party at all in this game?


nope. theres only merril, fenris, anders, varric, isabela and aveline.
deadlyf
Posted 06:25pm 21/3/11
Merill is my favourite character atm, I dunno why Dalish elves suddenly speak with Irish accents in this game, but it suits her character perfectly.

When DA:O came out a lot of American players were angry that the Elves "Didn't have an accent", because for them fantasy characters should have foreign accents. I'm guessing that's why they all have Irish accents now. Merrill in the original game was voiced by an American, can't remember if the personality was the same since she is only in it at the start if you pick the Dailish Elf beginning.

I have to agree though, Merrills new voice suites her well.
Crakaveli
Posted 07:01pm 21/3/11
Merril was my favorite as well, but i was pretty disappointed with her side story.
DM
Posted 07:05pm 21/3/11
You can't sex up avelline. Even though it leads you to believe that you can with the heart options popping up. Most you get out of her is a quick thank you kiss.

I have never used Anders before since i've always taken Merrill instead. Usually I go for a full female team except for Fenris as he is a powerhouse.
ravn0s
Posted 07:08pm 21/3/11
i slept with isabela first but ended up with merrill in the end. however when varric is finishing the story at the end he said isabela stayed with me :/
Crakaveli
Posted 07:11pm 21/3/11
I did the same thing ravn0s lol.

Spoiler:
At one point in a conversation with isabella (after i had slept with merril) she asked me to go away with her after all of its done, so i just assumed thats why varric said that at the end. Did you not choice that option?
ravn0s
Posted 07:15pm 21/3/11
crakaveli:

Spoiler:
i chose the option 'what about merril?' and isabela said she could come too.
Crakaveli
Posted 07:22pm 21/3/11
Yeah i did the same thing, and there was no mention of her at the end.
DM
Posted 07:29pm 21/3/11
Here is something for those still playing. 10 "essential" mods for DA2. and I use the word essential quite wrongly. Via IGN

EDIT - A mod in there to "fix" some of the stuff like Avelline's jay leno chin.
Bah
Posted 02:47am 23/3/11
Well thats retarded, end of act 2 fighting Spoiler:
the arishok
as a mage, nothing hard about the fight you just benny hill it running in circles, freezing him then damaging as cooldown allows... but he has a bajillion hitpoints, and takes potions occasionally. So yeah just a f*****g retarded test of my patience seeing if i can be bothered playing for 30 minutes whittling down his health.. oh yeah and he has a one hit kill shot if my mind wanders and i let him near me.

With a different class/build/whatever maybe it wouldnt be so stupid, but f*** that s***.
Scooter
Posted 07:54am 23/3/11
My Main was a 2H WAR. I basically did the same. Run > Stun move > Some attacks/Damage Moves > Run > Stun > Repeat
I also used my main as the tank, so I had some pretty decent stats for defence, but if I was to stand still I would have just got owned in about 30 seconds. Not sure what move of his that one shotted you, the one where he lifts you up with his sword? He didn't have anything that could kill me in 1 shot. He had lots of moves that made me fall on my arse, even with high con though.
Tim Tibbetts
Posted 08:52am 23/3/11
Well I just finished Act 2 last night and I must say I'm really enjoying the game. It took a while, but I'm getting into it.

The reduction of menial quests is a good thing given the sheer number of them in the first act. The companion quests are usually not bad - but when I get a companion I don't really like it annoys me.

I'm a mage and my standard party is Fenris, Aveline & Varric. We pwn it up!
ravn0s
Posted 10:05am 23/3/11
if i can be bothered playing for 30 minutes whittling down his health


i would like to see what you think about the high dragon in act 3.

Not sure what move of his that one shotted you, the one where he lifts you up with his sword?


yer he one shot my mage by doing that.
Bah
Posted 02:52pm 23/3/11
Yeah the impale and lift move even his normal moves are two shots on hard or 3 on normal, i havent put any extra points into con for my mage, the rock wraith earlier on was almost as annoying, but at least that involved some strategy and not just running in circles
i would like to see what you think about the high dragon in act 3.
I cast sepll of easy mode.
Playing the game on hard, but for the rock wraith i dropped it to normal, will do same for this guy, maybe easy if i cbf.
deadlyf
Posted 03:19pm 23/3/11
I used the snail spell and various other snares for that dude but was still quite a bit of ring-around-the-pillar. All of the boss fights suffer from a lack of co-op play or more likely they made a poor choice in looking to MMO boss encounters for inspiration to single player fights. The dragon fight is probably the best example of that as it has some obvious mechanics that you can't achieve with AI controlled characters alone.
Scooter
Posted 03:26pm 23/3/11
Rock Wraith was easy (on Hard) all you had to do was be a girly-man and hide behind the pillars. Which is harder then it sounds, because even on 'Hold Position' my guys seemed to want to move...
I did drop it down to Normal for the High Dragon though, died heaps of times with a 2xMage, Rogue, Main combo but won pretty easy with a 2xRogue, War, Main setup. Hade to keep tanking control of Isabella to run away though as she was just pumping out damage and would rip hate off my Main (Tank)

The Sword Lift took about 1/5th of my health.
ravn0s
Posted 03:50pm 23/3/11
I cast sepll of easy mode.
Playing the game on hard, but for the rock wraith i dropped it to normal, will do same for this guy, maybe easy if i cbf.


dragon is easy to kill, it just has a s***load of hp. arishok took me about 10mins to kill, dragon took at least 30 mins with 2 mages, tank and rogue. probably wouldnt have taken me as long if my companions didnt bug out and stop attacking. i had to keep pausing and assigning their next attack :/
Bah
Posted 04:13pm 23/3/11
dragon is easy to kill, it just has a s***load of hp)
Yeah the hp thing is whats retarded about the arishok, you work out how to win but then you just do the same thing over and over for 20 or 30 minutes, bleh, at least dragon age lets you change difficulty whenever you want.

The rock wraith had some lightning ranged attack which pretty much killed my guys straight off before he got to the big attacks, and when i saw i had done like 1 pixels worth of health bar damage to him i just cbf and dropped it to normal, and the fight was still pretty annoying just because it took aaages and you had to micromanage every c*** behind pillars constantly.
Khel
Posted 09:56pm 23/3/11
wouldnt have taken me as long if my companions didnt bug out and stop attacking


Yeah, I've noticed this at times too, but I don't think its restricted to just team-mate AI, I think its a problem with the AI in general because I've had it happen to monsters too. They spawn then just stand there doing nothing and not attacking anyone or coming after anyone even though they're clearly in aggro range. After I melt their faces a bit they usually realise "Oh theres people to attack" and start coming at me, but yeah, its odd.
Nerfington
Posted 02:18pm 22/7/11
F*** me this game was good. Finally bought and finished due to steam sales, not quite as good as DA1, and a very different experience playing a "defined" character, but still epic and up there in Bioware's best.

Lesson learned: Don't go by demo gameplay.
Mordecai
Posted 02:41pm 22/7/11
Nerf DLC comes out on the 26th. http://dragonage.bioware.com/da2/addon/legacy/
Nerfington
Posted 02:50pm 22/7/11
I have all the DA1 DLC to get through first, DA2 is probably not worth it imo. >_>

Unless it's like Awakening, Awakening was friggin awesome, and played into the main storyline of DA2 so much in unexpected ways. :O
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