Saturday, July 16, 2011

Game Review: Dragon's Age 2

Warning: Box cover for advertisement purposes only. Game may or may not accurately contain Dragons. 

 For those wondering about the state of my blog, the renovations continue…and so far I have managed to destroy my own header (yay me!). Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen RL move the relaunch of the blog has been pushed back. I have seen some designs I've liked, however, and there will be changes soon. In the meantime, however, please enjoy a review of Dragon's Age 2!

In my usual reviewer tradition, I once again played these games completely out of order. Fortunately this isn't much of an issue. If anything, Dragon's Age 2 reminds me a great deal of Mass Effect 2-you know, the only game I have ever given a perfect score in this blog. Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, this game is not Mass Effect 2.

You play as a character escaping a burning village and who eventually makes their fortune in the city of Kirkwall. I say 'character' because you can play as a female/male mage, warrior, or rogue respectively. And, spoiler warning, you will only see a dragon maybe three times in the game only. Then again, maybe, Generic Fantasy game: the search to end racism didn't have the same ring to it.

Did I mention racism? Why yes, there is a lot of that. The general idea is that a mage will eventually give into the dark side of magic and eventually become a deamon. Consequently, most mages are locked away or given strict guidelines while wandering the land. I have to admit that it's a pretty interesting idea and is executed pretty well.

Unfortunately, there are two things in Dragon's Age 2 which don't work for me, one of them being the companion system. Like Mass Effect 2, you have to work hard to earn the loyalty of your team, but Dragon's Age 2 takes it to a far more extreme level. For example, half of your team is pro-mage, and the other half is anti-mage, so if the player goes on a mission to save a mage, chances are you are going to tick off half your party. This is especially hard in the beginning, when the player won't understand the motivations of their companions to well. Often I would accompany companions on a 'loyalty' mission to resolve some issue, talk to them, and still score negative points without the foggiest notion why. And trust me-even with the best scores some companions will still leave you for a significant portion of the game. Or blow up buildings with innocent people in them (no, seriously). Some players might like companions having a mind of their own, but I dunno, it really bothered me that I couldn't figure out why some members of my party hated me so much (and in some cases, I still have no idea why).

The second is the actual fighting in the game. While I like the fighting/magic system itself in Dragon's Age 2, all of the enemies will respawn at least once, every single fight. Mass Effect 2 did have a lot of fighting, but for the most part it was justified and it did not involve having a second wave coming out of nowhere when the player's back was turned. Combined with an extremely long loading time between levels, it feels like there is a lot of padding to the game.

Overall, though I did enjoy it and would recommend it to someone looking for a good fantasy game.
FINAL GRADE: 3 ½ out of 5. Great graphics, good story and equally good fighting system. Unfortunately the loading time, the extra waves of enemies and the randomness of some companions bring down the grade. 

There was one moment in the game where a deamon tried to tempt my companions into betraying me. Naturally, every single one of them happily agreed to carve me into mince meat.

1 comment:

Chris Hewson said...

As a fellow blogger, I say great review! *sees a deamon* Why yes deamon, you're right, I should trash this review. *goes and blows up a building full of people*