Last week I recorded my initial impressions of Dragon Age 2 in what some might call a scathing review of the game. I hadn’t set out to write such a negative review, but, having only a couple of days with the game and preconceptions still fully intact, it was much easier to focus on where the game fell short of my expectations than to see where it excelled.
Now I find myself playing my own apologist as I find myself fully engrossed in the game’s plot, characters, world. Much of my criticism in the previous post still stands, I just find myself more forgiving. For example, my complaint of reused environments is only reinforced, which makes the world feel smaller and less real than in Origins, but more often than not I ignore the sameness as I look to the next plot point or revelation.
One thing DA2 has done well, possibly as a result of the smallness of the world in which it takes place, is make you feel more a part of the culture of the world, more involved in the politics and day-to-day life of Hawke’s hometown of Kirkwall. As the game progresses, more and more characters know Hawke’s name, and Hawke moves up in the world, going from a hovel in the slums to a villa in Hightown.
While I stand by much of my earlier criticism, my complaint about the game’s pace has turned moot. The combat does still feel a bit too fast, but as the monsters get tougher and the combats last longer, I find myself able to issue the orders and tactically manage combat as I had in Origins. Similarly, the quick turn around of quests felt rushed and seemed to cheapen their significance at first. One week on, I find the abundance of fast, easy to complete quests addictive . It’s hard to turn off the game when you could finish just one more quest in less than 10 minutes.
All in all, while Dragon Age 2 didn’t entirely live up to expectations and pales in comparison to its predecessor, I am still thoroughly enjoying it, and if one can dismiss preconceptions and see the game as a unique, stand-alone title it has a lot to offer.
Final RARscore: Growing on me