Dragon Age 2 – to buy or not to buy?

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 2 years, you should have at least heard of Bioware’s 2009 title Dragon Age: Origins. On March 10 the sequel to this popular game will hit Australian shelves, and both casual and hardcore gamers will be wondering whether or not it’s worth the hundred bucks or so. The ultimate question is this: should you buy Dragon Age 2, continue to play Dragon Age: Origins, or avoid the series altogether?

If you like beautiful graphics…

…go for Dragon Age 2. If you like your games handed to you on an aesthetically pleasing platter, then DA2 is the obvious choice over the original game. If you’re like me, then you will have found that Dragon Age: Origin’s graphics were decent, but overall still looked flat and two-dimensional – especially when it came to detail in character design. The graphics in DA2 are rendered with more detail and colours, providing the game with a much more realistic experience, and the cutscenes are breathtaking. However, to say that Dragon Age 2’s overall gameplay is visually stunning though is like saying Master Chief was only a little relevant to Halo. If you are after a beautiful experience first and foremost, perhaps it’s a good idea to forgo the Dragon Age series altogether and pick up Heavy Rain or Final Fantasy XIII.

If you like a non-linear gameplay experience…

… it depends on how pedantic you want to get about ‘non-linearity’. Dragon Age 2 does play like its predecessor in terms of putting together a party and making decisions which affect gameplay, but one of the key elements that is missing is the ability to choose your race. Race selection in Dragon Age: Origins determined what opening sequence each player undertook, and – while it doesn’t change the overall playability – it was a nice touch that made the storyline really feel like your own. I remember playing as an elf and having humans talk down to me because of my race for the first half of the game. As annoying as it was, it did make me connect to the storyline a bit more. DA2 instead mimics Mass Effect 2: you can choose your appearance, your gender and your first name (each character’s last name is Hawke), but that’s as far as it goes. Dragon Age: Origins has a similar non-linear gameplay experience to its sequel, but the opening sequences are definitely worth playing if you haven’t before.

If you like Baldur’s Gate style games…

…then you have probably heard that Dragon Age is it’s ‘successor’, of sorts. If using tactics and pausing the game to assign characters to certain actions are what you like to do, then pick up Dragon Age: Origins for PC. Dragon Age 2 may be its sequel, but some aspects of tactical gameplay are lost in the translation. The most noticeable difference is the change in the camera. The aerial tactical camera is lessened for more of a user-friendly approach, and while this is a welcome change for some (many players complained that the original was too difficult on PC) other players will be mourning the loss.

If you like having a ridiculous amount of options for class and specs…

…you’re probably better off playing the online MMOs, RIFT or World of Warcraft. Both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 have only three classes: Warrior, Mage, and Rogue. I personally enjoy the three classes: it means you can really explore specialisations within each class instead of picking between a Paladin or Warrior, and then choosing from five million specs. Also, the skill set does take a tree-branch approach instead of a straight line for those players who want to customize their class within a spec.However, if that kind of thing is for you then drop the Dragon Age series and choose something else.

And if you just want a new game to play…

…then buy it. For all the hoopla of gameplay and graphics, Dragon Age 2 still looks like a great game, and should provide at least a few weeks of entertainment. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or just searching for a new release title to play, Dragon Age 2 should satisfy most of your needs.

Pick it up here

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  • Cellophane Girl

    Dragon Age 2 sounds good to me. I enjoyed the first (though admittedly I haven’t finished playing any of the 3 characters I started playing on it yet).

    From everything I’ve heard this is going to be a great game and I shall be acquiring it at some point in the future. 🙂

    • Yeah, it looks like it’s going to be really good. I know a few people that are in love with Baldur’s Gate though, so the lack of that aerial gameplay thing is a deal-breaker…not for me though! 🙂

  • v8hilux

    graphics do look insane but it’s not on my list of game to buy. just not my sort of thing.

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