Dragon Age 2 Part Two (PC)

What’s the first thing you think of when you remember a great RPG? For Deus Ex you probably think of the story, choices, and combat whereas Diablo 2 probably makes you just think of the story and the combat. Linear RPGs are not bad by default and Dragon Age 2’s real problem has nothing to do with it being linear. The problem is that it is pretending to be something it isn’t and it’s a really poorly told lie.

When I think of DA2 I’m reeling to bring up positive things I guess I liked the NPCs, but the negatives just flow out: the main plot is only a vehicle for nerd politics, the game is full of illusory choices designed to fool retards, and the combat is the same uninspired shit they couldn’t properly port to the console with DA1. I could even be happy with a completely linear CRPG, but putting in so much effort into trying to fool me is just a waste of my already worthless time.


This game totally abandons branching dialog trees. It uses a radial menu like Mass Effect, but you rarely are in control of the conversation. I think there might be 3 or 4 conversations (only counting all post-fuck conversations once) that have real options, and even then you’re just answering questions not dictating the pace. Everything else is making either nice, smartass, or mean comments while you’re delivered a monologue and sometimes deciding between ‘kill’ or ‘not kill’. This isn’t bad necessarily, but if you’re going to rob me of my sole input into dialog why put so much emphasis on it? They very easily could have cut each conversation in half.

The NPC interaction and the NPCs are written really well and you almost feel like they all belong in a better game. They can be called into conversations to threaten a person or bluff, and they almost all have an interesting feel to them. The romances are lame in that everyone magically becomes attracted to you and everyone is bisexual. I think you can fuck everyone but the dwarf. They had a nice idea in Temple of Elemental Evil: Gay Marriage in a video game. Now it’s just gotten out of fucking control, it feels like they’re making dating sims for western audiences. We don’t have to fuck all our NPCs in RPGs! No one has to fuck Wrex, no one had to fuck Tali, and no one has to fuck the Mage/Rogue/Cleric Mind Flayer you’re going to include when you ruin Baldur’s Gate 3.


The combat is the same kind of MMORPG inspired stuff you had in DA1; it literally hasn’t changed at all. The status effect combining from DA1 has been ruined. In DA1 you could freeze a guy and shatter him with a strong attack, in DA2 you just get a 400% damage bonus when he’s frozen. Though that’s all the dumbing down I noticed; I’d rather the combat have been dumbed down further into something fun rather than being in the shitty limbo area they left it in.

That is probably their biggest mistake; they didn’t seriously change the combat like they did in Mass Effect 2. I’m not sure if they couldn’t think of who to copy or just didn’t care. The only change in combat is that you can tap a useless button to give yourself the illusion of control; it’s still the same shit from DA1. Of course that doesn’t stop EuroGamer from applauding the bold changes or nerds from raging about how it’s action schlock now. They changed the camera angle and everyone thinks it’s an action RPG now, so fuck it, Bioware are a bunch of geniuses.

A most of the bosses feel like shit from World of Warcraft. Certain enemies have phases and they bring down adds. Phase refers to something different based on how much health it has, and adds refer to additional enemies. So there is one fight where the Dragon flies away at 75/50/25 percent health and summons little dragons for you to fight as it shoots fireballs at you, also the fight takes longer than 15 minutes which is fucking awful. There is one specific boss who reminded me of a boss in World of Warcraft Cataclysm. It’s a dragon called Slabhide and he shoots pikes as you hide behind stalagmites. I’ve put the DA2 fight and WoW fight into youtube doubler for your pleasure. I’m not giving Blizzard individual rights to a boss who shoots out spikes as you move behind pillars, but there is a reason for it in WoW! In WoW you need to get a group of separate people to work in harmony, but in DA2 you’re just clicking around you just move your entire party out of the way, problem solved. Even standing in the effect in DA2 doesn’t really hurt you. Things are amazingly inconsistent though, and you’ll run into fights where standing in the wrong place will fucking kill you and where micromanaging your party out of effects is very difficult.

The major difference between DA1 and DA2 is encounter design. In DA1 and 2 you have normal enemies thrown at you with a higher rank enemy thrown in here or there. Ranking is an old MMORPG trope, where you have enemies who are normal, elite, or a boss. This system was implemented in DA1 as well but the pacing was done better. It might seem like a moot point but DA2 has sort of an extra rank below ‘normal’, they have really low hit point throw-away enemies. These weak rank enemies are scattered everywhere for absolutely no reason than to make the game feel more like it’s an Action-RPG. So basically you have to wade through superfluous enemies because the game is trying to fool you.


My biggest issue is the plot, it’s really just a piece of shit with absolutely no direction, meaning, and it’s equally full of cheap sympathy ploys and embarrassing nerd politics. The NPCs barely interact with the plot and feel like they were simply inserted from another game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are all reused in DA3. Maybe they just took whatever assets they had from the real Dragon Age sequel dumped in a throwaway story with a generic protagonist just to push something out?

The game starts out with you being run out of your home by the Darkspawn, The Darkspawn were the only interesting shit in the entire first game and immediately you’re whisked away from them to fight in some pointless conflict off in a boring fantasy version of French Algiers. You’re informed in cutscenes that you had a harrowing journey to Kirkwall and trying to find your rich uncle. After a little exposition you’re told the city is full, your uncle is poor, and you need to bribe people to get in. Instead of doing something interesting you have to pick two interchangeable illegal lines of work to make enough money to get into the city. You’re treated to another cutscene explaining you did whatever thing you picked for a year and poof you’re in the city. Bioware did an excellent job at skirting any kind of tension or interest that could be generated by being a homeless adventuring refugee trying to find your way in a strange city.

After that little prologue Bioware reveals the first story aspect they’re unhealthily obsessed with: the ‘Mage/Templar’ interplay. Essentially in Dragon Age the mages are policed by a religious group, and the Templars are the Mage Police. The mages need policed because mages basically they can get possess by a demon turning them into an abomination or make deals with demons to get super powers. If the mage is too weak, too dangerous, or the game wants to score sympathy the mage police make him tranquil, which basically is a magical lobomitzation: it turns them into retards and takes away their magic.

If you don’t play a mage your brother dies in the prologue so you get stuck with your mage sister, if you pick a mage your sister dies in the prologue. The motivation stays the same because the party needs a mage to properly railroad you. You learn about this awesome expedition to some dwarf ruins filled with monsters but they want you to invest 50 gold, but this would be a lot more poignant if it was 50 gold to buy some bricks cocaine.

Your entire goal in the first chapter is to get 50 gold rich and fuck bitches (like all poor people) and the motivation is to protect yourself/sister from the mage police. Though it’s not really demonstrated that you’re poor, basically you live in a dirty house and there is no real difference from the dirty house you start in and the palatial mansion you end up in. They really could have done good things with this plot point, but chose to ignore it in favor of letting you fuck a slutty pirate girl. Also the mage police are literally non-existent the entire game, you can go into their headquarters and cast as many spells as you want and no one will say shit. It’s hard to believe they’re a threat without something like in Baldur’s Gate 2 where they warp in to fine you for casting magic missile.

During this expedition you are betrayed after the leader finds an evil cursed relic, however everything works out fine and you accidentally stumble into a hoard of treasure. After you come home from your expedition your sister/brother ends up in the Mage Cult/Mage Police and there’s nothing you can do. If you take them on the expedition they get sick with Darkspawn Juice and either die or go off to join the Gray Wardens only if you have one specific NPC with you. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to keep the NPC, it’s a cheap sympathy ploy all around.

After you become New Money you suddenly become really important to the plot and have to deal with this game’s second unhealthy obsession the Qunari. There was one Qunari in DA1, he was in your party, he was boring as fuck, and that was the point. Now DA2 has a whole chapter of the fuckers. From the start of the game you’ve been told how the Qunari got stranded in the city and basically were given a part of the city for squatting menacingly. The main thing that bothered me is that it’s just a boatload of people and it’s never said they brought women with them. So it’s just a bunch of sailors who have been stranded in a city for years, how does this make a serious threat to the city? It’s like maybe 100 or 200 guys; just march a thousand soldiers in and slaughter them. If they changed that one thing they’d have their drama for the chapter and something for your oddly enlightened character to whine about. Instead they had to show how superior a perfect a warrior race that embraces eastern philosophy is.

So somewhere in the first chapter you learn that Qunari are the only race in the game that can make gunpowder, despite that they’re still a perfect sword wielding warrior race. Now in chapter 2 it turns out someone stole the recipe for that gun powder, but HOLD ON the Qunari are so fucking awesome and smart they knew the recipe was going to be stolen and put out a decoy recipe for a deadly nerve toxin; couldn’t they just have written “fag” on a piece of paper? Since the Qunari are such an awesome and flawless warrior race you can’t even complain about it, and basically everyone in the game just accepts this as a totally awesome way to reveal the evils of western society. So part of the city gets flooded with green poison and you confront the people who did it and they go on and on about how they’re angry with the Qunari and blah blah blah. How the fuck do you take a poison recipe and mistake it for a fucking explosives recipe anyway?

After that dumb quest there is another dumb quest where they are providing asylum to murderers, but it’s okay because it was elves whose sister got raped, so again the Qunari are perfect and blameless and everything is the fault of white people. Finally it’s revealed the one item needed to get them out of the city is the focus of your one of your NPC’s story thread. This is really annoying on two points, the relic is suddenly important and the Qunari are suddenly a big threat, when it’s insinuated that they just make the rich white people nervous previously. You’re really given no cue in the game that they realistically can just “take over” but they sure as shit do.

So, Isabella, your NPC, the slutty one, has been hunted because she lost this relic, and it’s also why the Qunari are in the city. Suddenly it’s a big deal and she’ll be killed without the relic even though it wasn’t a big deal at all up until the very point the game wanted to force a false choice. If you have enough friendship points with Isabella you can give him back the stupid relic, but not BEFORE HE attacks the city and beheads the leader, so regardless of what you do you get the same outcome. Then you have a chance to hand her over to be gang raped by a bunch of Muslims, give them the Koran and have to duel their leader anyway, or just murder them all in the palace. Absolutely nothing changes the outcome; you’re still the Hero of Kirkwall if you fight no one or fight everyone.

Now you’re the Hero of Kirkwall for killing (or not) a handful of angry foreigners who were too autistic to explain themselves. Everyone is very impressed by this display of pressing a single button for 15 minutes but unfortunately the king or whatever got killed by the Qunari and even if you COULD have prevented him from getting killed he would have stepped down because this game railroads you harder than John Henry. Now I guess while you’re living it up high as the Hero of Kirkwall the fucking Adolph Hitler of the mage world gets into power and subjugates and lobotomizes mages for three years, at this time you do nothing because you’re caught in a cutscene. It’s unclear what the magical properties of a cutscene are but it seems like a combination between D&D’s Time Stop and Heroin because time flies, shit happens, and you do not give a fuck.

Things come to a head and you go on a few stupid cheap sympathy quests to make you care about the plot. First you’re asked to go apprehend crazy mages to realize why lobotomy is good. Then you have to go quell an uprising for the understanding and coolheaded leader of the mage resistance. Either way, it’s obvious who the game wants you to side with. Somewhere in this chapter a mage murderer named Quentin who you have been tracking in previous chapters DECAPITATES YOUR MOTHER AND PUTS HER BODY ON HIS NECOMANTIC SEX DOLL. While necromantic real dolls are a hilarious idea, the whole thing is a dumb sympathy grab to again show you that some mages are bad and maybe you SHOULD lobotomize them all.

Now you’re told the Adolph Hitler and cool collected opposition leader randomly arguing in the street and you’re asked to diffuse the situation. As you’re speaking to them a mage from your party shows up and basically says this can’t go on any longer and blows up the fucking church and with it Dragon Age’s version of the pope. Now everyone is way more upset about the one person getting killed than anything else, so I don’t see why he didn’t just shoot her with a fireball but oooo it’s symbolic or whatever. I mean they could at least have had him crash a fucking dragon into twin spiral minarets as the game is so fucking heavy handed.

So now you either fight the mage police or fight the mages. Either way you fight both of the leaders because these writers fucking suck. If you pick the mage guy he randomly goes “Quentin’s research was too evil, too dangerous, so I put it aside. But now I see there was no other way. If Meredith(aka Hitler) expects blood magic? Then I will give it to her, Maker(aka God) help us all.” and turns himself into an abomination. Quentin is the guy who murdered your mother for a sex doll, so real fucking classy of him to bring that up. Further it’s not like you were being overwhelmed or anything, he just goes and does it to FORCE YOU to fight both bosses, because damnit they made this fight and you’re gonna do it! After that, you leave to fight Hitler and see she has a sword made out of the evil idol from the beginning of the game and it made her go crazy. So basically both leaders were two crazy people who were going to kill one another ANYWAY, it really didn’t matter what you did because no matter what side you took you get the same ending. You might as well not have been present because the end result is the mages rebel either because they were shown they can fight back by you or your mass slaughtering of them showed them how unjust the system was. Whatever, it was dumb as fuck.