Versus the Ogre: This is basically middle school all over again.
You want to achieve. Everyone does.
And if you were alive during medieval times, your parents would encourage you to form a heavily armed party, go out into the world, use weapons and magic to achieve your goals and to rise to the loftiest heights of society.
Which is essentially the core premise of Dragon Age II, BioWare’s epic role-playing title in which you take on the role of Hawke, an escapee from the land of Ferelden, to resettle in the city-state of Kirkwall as a refugee and freelance mercenary. Over the next decade, your character rises to power and influence, becoming the city’s hero as well as directly involved with political and social tensions throughout the city.
Sometimes you have to kill Varterral the giant spider demon, okay? Why are we arguing about this?
Like its predecessor, Dragon Age II swings for the fences to be the king of the role-playing genre. And once again, it succeeds. Amazing graphics and sound meet top-notch voice acting while presenting a world that’s completely immersive and makes you an active part of the storyline with every choice you make. Looking to help a given side in a dispute? Prepare to reap the consequences and alliances are made, broken, mended and tested with every dialogue choice you make. Like any good role-playing game, Dragon Age II allows you to build the character of Hawke from the ground up, your first choices being Hawke’s gender as well as character type (warrior, rogue or mage).
Where a fair number of role-playing titles put a huge amount of focus on specifying your party’s upgrades after a new level has been gained, Dragon Age II finds an easier way to do this. You’re tasked with choosing Hawke’s next upgrades, and can also choose whether to upgrade everyone else in the party individually or use an Auto Level-Up option to make the best choices for upgrades.
Yes, you will fight dragons. And yes, they will be rather large…
This, combined with an easy mission tracking and travel system, make one of the richest role-playing titles on the market also incredibly accessible to the point that you can simply pull up the map, see where the next quest is, travel there and work toward your next goal, thereby removing a lot of “RPG grind” from the gameplay.
In spite of doing nearly everything well, Dragon Age II has some kinks to work out. A consistent graphical glitch caused part of my character’s arms to disappear during cut-scenes after I equipped my character with a certain pair of gauntlets (this was fixed by switching to different equipment later on), the game froze once under Mac OS 10.6.7 after 20+ hours of gameplay, and the controls occasionally hung as larger battle sequences got underway.
Some demons light their bodies on fire while fighting you. It just happens. And it’s perfectly natural.
The bottom line. Even so, the game runs well 99.99 percent of the time, the story is immersive, the play style is readily accessible, and with a zillion choices, the game can change each time you play it.