Dragon Age 2: First Impressions

So, I’ve started playing Dragon Age 2 on the PS3. Now, I had my problems with Dragon Age: Origins, but still found it worth playing. This is an attempt to play through the entire series like I did for the Mass Effect series (I already have Inquisition for the PS4 lined up). That being said, many people found the game disappointing.

The game is radically different from Origins. Origins started you in a sweeping and epic story, where from the start you knew that the fate of all of Ferelden is in your inexperienced but hopefully competent hands. Dragon Age 2 is not like that at all. It in fact is going for a much more personal story, where your story is a sidebar to the main action, although there are hints at the beginning that ultimately you’re going to do something important and that will matter. As such, it kinda feels more like an expansion than a full game, as the areas are smaller and you spend most of your time around Kirkwall, the city your mother comes from, doing things for people and your family.

This, however, also simplifies the questing. Dragon Age 2’s small number of areas means that they can list which quests belong to which area. So you have “Kirkwall during the day”, “Kirkwall at night”, and “The Outskirts”. You can do quests in pretty much any order, and so I spent a lot of time doing all of the companion and sidequests and only advancing the main quest when I ran out of other quests to do. In that sense, it’s a bit like an Elder Scrolls game, except much, much less confusing.

Playing as a mage, I’m finding the combat to be relatively uneventful on casual. It’s less chaotic for me to handle and I haven’t had any real problem with boss fights left, even though I keep forgetting to heal my party members. I’m also finding money to be less of a problem for me because the item drops are usually good enough to get me through most fights. The biggest issue I’ve had so far is that Aveline’s tactics made her stand around doing nothing after a while, which annoyed me since I actually really did like that character and wanted to have her in my party. I think I’ve fixed that now.

The companions and companion stories are a bit disconnected and shallow. The only character that I think has any depth is Varric, but he’s very integral to the main plot. I haven’t bothered talking much to Merril or Anders, and while I like Isabella it’s still a very shallow plot. I just don’t care about any of them like I did in Origins, even though they’re perfectly serviceable characters. I’m not sure what explains the difference.

Anyway, I’m just starting Act 2, and so far I enjoy playing it. Hopefully, I’ll manage to finish it.

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