After the success of their first title, “Dragon Age: Origins,” Bioware has released another epic RPG that will drain you of your free time, “Dragon Age 2.” This title was released on PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and the PS3. I personally played the game on the PS3 after playing the first title on a console, and throughout the course of a weekend I played the game from start to finish in a little less than 45 hours.
Set during the middle of the events of the first game, players take on the role of Hawke, and have the option of being a rogue, a mage or a warrior. I personally chose the rogue class so that, at any time throughout the game, I would have the option to steal things from locked chests without having to rely on one of my sidekicks. Now, after playing the game through, I feel like I made the right choice because my character could zip around the combat field and do a lot of damage without having to watch my stamina pool.
One of the big differences when comparing the sequel to the original is the combat system. In the first game, combat is slow and paced for PC play, meaning that when playing on the console, combat can seem very clunky and disjointed. Combat in “Dragon Age 2” on the other hand, leans heavily in favor of the console gamer. Fights are extremely fast paced, which makes it difficult to click on enemies for PC players. I found the targeting system for the PS3 to be quite adequate, though it was hard at times to target a specific enemy out of a group.
The other big difference to the game is the change in the dialogue system. People who have played Bioware’s other title, “Mass Effect 2,” may see some similarity between the two. I felt that even though I had more options to choose from, the outcome of key plot related stories would turn out the same regardless of my decision. Case in point: your companions will no longer leave if they hate you. Instead, the companions’ like/dislike bar now determines what bonus skill they get. A warrior companion who liked me would get an ability to absorb some of the damage I was taking, and if she hated me, her defense would increase. I only ever lost companions during main plot related quests. I enjoyed the companions of this game much more than the first.
Each companion character felt alive and had their own ambitions and stories that you experience with them. I just wish that Hawke’s experience could have been better. Your tale is told in three acts, with years separating each act. The gaps are very roughly explained, and made the game feel fragmented. After the 30th hour I found myself completing nothing but side quests because I had zero motivation to finish the game. In “Origins,” the world is at the brink of the apocalypse, and it’s your job to stop it, but I felt like in the “Dragon Age 2” there was no end goal to complete for my character. It was such a sobering thought that I stopped playing for a while.
There were a variety bugs still in the game that caused my PS3 to freeze at random moments. To fix one bug I had to remove all of my character’s armor before I entered a room to prevent the lock up. One quest hadn’t even been fully programmed. There was just one enemy that couldn’t be attacked, targeted or interacted with at the location provided by the quest giver.
I finished this game with mixed thoughts. I still found this game incredibly fun, but I was extremely disappointed by what could have been. The battles with the huge bosses were an epic adventure that I had to prepare and strategize for; the High Dragoon took half an hour to take down. If you were a fan of the first game you probably already have this title, but if you are still on the fence try the game on a console. Just like the first game we can all expect a lot of downloadable content in the future.
– Jayson Sharp is a senior in computer science. Send comments to email@example.com.