Summary: If ever there were a developer that truly paid attention to both fans and the critical response to its games, it’s BioWare. Case in point: Dragon Age 2, the follow-up to the beefy, hardcore RPG that unfurls in the Canadian-born studio’s ode to Tolkien’s Middle Earth. While the core makeup of Dragon Age remains the same, numerous elements have been streamlined in favour of a leaner and meaner experience.
Summary: It may make a terrible first impression, but I grew to love it.
Pros: Excellent writing; story delivers in the end; some refinements to the leveling up system make character building easier; much of what made the first game great is still present; tons of replay value
Cons: Numerous nuisance-level bugs; the explorable world is much smaller; story starts very slow, a lot of Mass Effect influence makes the franchise seem less unique.
Excerpt: Like Origins, Dragon Age II is a 50-plus-hour epic with a deep, complex combat system and a well-defined supporting cast. But it also wears its mythology proudly, confident in its goal of charting the rise of a complete and utter badass: you. The first time you control Hawke—the hero—is in an opening flashback to your family’s escape from the Darkspawn attack on Lothering, which occurred in the first game.
Conclusion: Helping with this storytelling is all of the character interaction one will do in the game be it with quest givers, Hawke's family, or other members of his party. Compared to a lot of Bioware's previous games, the options during conversations seem a lot more cut and dry with a good response, and an evil response at either end of the spectrum, and smarmy jerk filling up the middle.
Excerpt: In addition to having an incredible quality track record among RPGamers, BioWare also has another strength: among RPG developers, they have one of the fastest turn-around rates for producing new games, particularly in the last few years. Since Mass Effect was released in 2007, BioWare has consistently put out at least one title per year: Sonic Chronicles in 2008, Dragon Age: Origins in 2009, Mass Effect 2 in 2010, and a myriad of small, downloadable games in between.
Summary: Dragon Age II offers an action-oriented RPG adventure with enough refinements to improve upon the stellar Origins. However, the new streamlined combat, loot, and exploration system may turn off hardcore RPG followers.
Pros: The fast-paced yet tactical combat system, The terrific character development and dialogue system, The gripping fantasy atmosphere
Cons: The narrative comes up short in places, The repetitive quests, battles, and environments, The streamlined RPG elements