When Dragon Age 2 was first announced, many fans were excited and some even salivated from their mouth’s when they heard the news. Then Bioware announced the game would be more action oriented and their excitement went away. “It’ll be Mass Effect but with swords!” they said. They were wrong.
Dragon Age 2 is a lot like Dragon Age: Origins except that the combat is much faster, skill trees have been changed, the dialogue tree now resembles the Mass Effect dialogue wheel, and the teammate approval/disapproval system has been replaced with a friendship/rivalry meter. Classes have remained the same except now rogues can only use either dual weapons (daggers) or bows, warriors can only use two-handed weapons(greatswords, broadaxes, maul’s), mages have mostly stayed the same.
The faster combat is a relief for people that played as warriors specializing in two-handed weapons. It no longer takes a few seconds to swing the weapon, and since strength directly affects attack score, swings land most of the time. Most fights don’t last as long as they did in Origins now that everyone is so much faster and stronger, but enemy encounters feel more frequent than they were. For some unknown reason, the weapon set switch function was removed. It’s not much a problem if the player only uses one weapon set, but for characters that specialize in 2 weapon skills, it’s becomes very annoying to have to go into the inventory to switch from the bow to daggers every time an enemy reaches melee range.
Skill trees have been revamped. Spells and talents are no longer dependent on the character’s attributes (strength, dexterity, cunning, magic, willpower, constitution); they are based on the character’s level and the character must learn the prerequisite talents/spells for that talent/spell.
With the new dialogue wheel, the player knows what kind of response is going to be given, be it kind and helpful, funny and sarcastic, all the way to mean and selfish. Sometimes the player can ask another teammate to give a response or take an action. Unfortunately, players can’t have deep conversations with teammates whenever they want like in Origins, but deep conversations still happen whenever the plot dictates it. Conversations and actions still affect the friendship and rivalry scale, but a teammate won’t leave if they’re a rival. A teammate gets certain buffs if they’re a friend or a rival. Speaking of teammates, they’re all romanceable except for your sibling and possibly Varric.
The biggest difference between Dragon Age 2 and Origins is the fact that you can only play as a human. The reason Origins was called Origins is because players could not only choose their race, but they could also choose different backgrounds for that race. Race, gender, and background affected the way the player was treated and made the game different every time. Dragon Age 2 is still based on choices and those choices still affect the story. In Origins, the player was always going to do the same thing at the end with little variation, but in Dragon Age 2, the player chooses who’s side to fight on and different teammates choose if they’re going to fight alongside them.
Choices from Origins transfer over to Dragon Age 2 but it doesn’t really affect the game because Dragon Age 2 isn’t really a sequel. Sure, many characters from Origins make appearances and 3 of them become teammates, but that’s about it. This isn’t a carbon copy of Origins; it improves on the already great formula of Origins by appealing to a greater audience while still pleasing the fans of the original (no pun intended). It’s still the same tactics based RPG gameplay only faster and slightly streamlined. There’s a reason people waste hundreds of hours into these games.
To view more Dragon Age 2 screen shots, visit the gallery. WARNING! SOME PICTURES CONTAIN BLOOD