Dragon Age II is Obviously Better than Dragon Age: Origins

When I started playing Dragon Age: Origins, I didn’t know that I would be sucked into the story and gameplay. It happened again with Bioware’s expansion, Awakening. While my personal preference is more sci-fi with RPGs, I thoroughly enjoyed the medieval carnage offered in the Dragon Age universe.

Going back a year ago, I remember seeing a card that all but confirmed a sequel was in the making. It seems like such a short time, and now with the release only a month away, Electronic Arts saw fit to show off a demo for Dragon Age II.

Holy shit.

I was in the minority in the fact that I didn’t have a problem with the PS3 graphics, though the bugs that appeared were a bit annoying. Considering I also never played a previous Bioware game, the gameplay took a bit to get use to as well.

Traveling from work into the city, I thought about how the title would be. The teaser trailers created a good amount of hype that I wondered about. The visuals looked better, but how would the gameplay remain?

There was a quick presentation about what the development team at Bioware was striving for the sequel.

A lack of disparity between graphics between the systems was a main point. They also wanted other party members to act smarter. But they wanted freedom for players to go into battle how they wanted.

Once set free, I took the first PS3 station available. The demo appeared to cover the introduction to the title. The introduction of Hawke, who player’s can still choose as male/female and customize, near the height of his/her abilities and then what happens during the escape of the Blight.

Dragon Age II allows for three classes to choose from: Rogue, Mage, and Warrior. Each style has different tricks. I preferred the rogue class in Dragon Age: Origins so I decided to play a rogue female Hawke.

From the onset, it’s clear that the team took the best of the original and expansion and tweaked it while expanding the core mechanics.

The new visuals are amazing compared to the first one, it actually feels like a first generation release to the current generation of releases. There is crispness to everything, even in the demo, allowing for more enemies on screen, a wider draw distance, and a smoother feel to the action on screen.

Still featuring a 3D camera, it moves with ease rather than staggering around the action. The environment even has more variation than in the first one. It’s interesting to see how more realized the title is.

The demo doesn’t tell much of the overall story; just that Hawke is running away from the oncoming Blight with their family and trying to survive. From the prologue to the beginning of the title, Hawke only has a single ability. During the demo, it was also possible to slightly level characters.

Leveling has been simplified a bit, rather than having a lot of options on screen, the title has ability trees, moving from area to area shows the requirements needed. It was difficult to read every option considering how many people wanted to try the demo, but it looks like most of the options in the previous title are still present.

During combat, it does feel a bit faster with party members being able to hold their own, but it didn’t have the same tactical feel. I’m sure once members can be assigned roles it will be better, but in the demo it felt like it was a true every-man-for-themselves battle.

The ability to quick switch between characters still exists and it did allow me to see how the warrior and mage worked, and each one appeared to have the best for each player’s style of combat.

I’m excited to see how far the ability trees function along with weapons, armor, and accessories, but that will have to wait until the release.

Dragon Age II looks and feels like it will be one of the best titles of the year and with DLC probably in the pipeline, there’s going to be a lot of game to experience.