Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age 2 review: A mature, challenging, modern RPG
- It's amazing that Bioware would take its premier IP, and take risks with it, while still turning out a genuinely interesting RPG
- The reaction to this game is going to discourage anyone from trying anything innovative ever again
With Dragon Age 2, Bioware has delivered a very different RPG that's still set within the very interesting world it came up with in Dragon Age 1. It's an ace combination.
Dragon Age 2 is not Dragon Age. It seems like an obvious truism, but given the backlash Bioware's sequel has suffered, it is a statement that people seem to need reminding of.
Indeed, in doing something so dramatically different, Bioware has inadvertently given other developers and publishers all the reason in the world to keep their top franchises safe and stale — if you take risks, you'll piss off some very vocal fanboys.
The backlash would be understandable if the game was in some way inferior to the original, but, although it is a very different experience, Dragon Age 2 is a very high quality game indeed. Whereas Dragon Age was an expansive epic, Dragon Age 2 is a contained character-driven story. Hawke is a greater focus than any individual character in the original, and, thanks to some excellent writing, it has a far more dynamic and personable cast this time around.
Where the original game had locations all over an entire nation to explore and slaughter, Dragon Age 2 focuses in on a single city, with limited capacity to explore elsewhere. There's nothing wrong with this — indeed, urban fantasy is a genre long underdeveloped in video games, and Bioware was brave to take a crack at it with a very valuable IP. In the main, it works — the city of Kirkwall is vibrant with plenty of intrigue. There are enough plot twists and turns to keep driving you through the story, and the side stories are an interesting bunch.
The world of Ferelden might be more limited directly this time around, but its literature and mythology remain expansive. It's hard to understand why, after experiencing all of Ferelden last time around, Dragon Age fans would not appreciate a chance to take a microscope to its inner workings — I know I certainly did, and I came out of Dragon Age 2 with a greater appreciation of Bioware's world than I did going in.
Combat is vastly improved, with a far more dynamic and customisable system than previously. This time around there's a greater range of skills and abilities that are genuinely useful, meaning there's less of an inclination to spam the same skills ad nauseum. Comparisons to MMOs are apt: Dragon Age 2 is a game of builds and hotkeys, but MMOs have become a dominant gameplay structure for a reason — even a pen and paper RPG like the modern Dungeon and Dragon borrows liberally from World of Warcraft, because it's a dynamic and exciting approach to combat that doesn't neglect strategy.
To be fair there are signs that the team at Bioware laboured over a tight production time line — there's a few too many assets that are reused a few too many times for an RPG's own good — and about halfway through you're going to realise the reason the game is set inside a city is because featuring too many other locations would have blown out the development time.
But that's not much to complain about. Dragon Age 2 remains a mature, challenging, modern RPG. It's unfortunate that should there be a Dragon Age 3 Bioware will now be discouraged from trying to do something different.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
cloudandco Smart Cane
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Bose SoundLink Micro
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Google Daydream View VR Headset
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Xbox One X
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Nintendo Switch software update: What does 4.0.0 feature and how to install it?
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Western Digital My Cloud Home review: Take back the cloud
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTCustomer Service OperatorOther
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTSenior Systems EngineerVIC
- CCRecruitment AdvisorNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperQLD
- FTIT Project Coordinator | Gold CoastQLD
- FTProject/Stakeholder Engagement ManagerACT
- FTProject Engineer, Operational Infrastructure & TelcoOther
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectACT
- CCContent WriterQLD
- FTAPS6 Data Management OfficerACT
- FTJunior C++ Developer x 3Other
- FTSenior Digital Producer/Digital Program ManagerOther
- CCRadio Frequency Design EngineerSA
- FTLevel 2/Level 3 Application Support AnalystVIC
- CCSolution Architect ? Office 365 MigrationQLD
- FTInsights AnalystOther
- CCWintel EngineerQLD
- FTVBA DeveloperOther
- FTSystems engineer - Endpoint SecurityVIC
- TPSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTAgile Business AnalystOther
- TPSAP Technical Data AnalystQLD
- FTProcurement AdvisorACT
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther