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!
Get your hands on the WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD. Now drop resistant up to 2 Meters.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel Buds (2020) review: Course correction
- 2 Oppo Find X2 Lite review: Gilded without being gauche
- 3 Jabra Evolve2 85 review: Learning the right lessons
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite review: Work smarter not harder
- 5 Oppo Find X2 Neo review: Class Act
Latest News Articles
- Fortnite offers discounted direct in-app payment, escalating the antitrust battle
- Razer revive Blackshark esports headset
- Samsung's curviest Odyssey gaming monitors are coming to Aus in August
- Google's Play Pass all-you-can-app subscription launches in Australia
- Hearthstone goes back to school with Scholomance Academy
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
- Why do gamers like RGB Lights?
- Huawei Matebook X Pro (2020) review: The real deal
- Oppo Find X2 Pro review: The Ultimate Alternative Flagship
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?