Back with more blood, guts, mages and ogres, the Dragon Age series returns, although it’s not quite as we all fondly remember. Moving away from the chronicles of the Grey Warden of Ferelden, you take control of Hawke, a human survivor of the Blight in Origins who escapes with their family to the city of Kirkwall. Here you help build them up as they work their way from a refugee to a person of infamy and influence in the region, with your choices effecting the outcome of difference scenarios as you progress. While the game offers the ability to import save game data from Origins, Dragon Age II is not a direct continuation of the plot, although crossover points and references to your choices in Origins will pop-up as you play.
Much like the jump from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2, streamlining the experience was Bioware’s main goal with Dragon Age II, and as such it is a major theme of this review. The concern heading into my playthrough was that simplifying certain features could destroy the old-school nature of the gameplay that made Origins stand out from the competition. In addition, the focus on storytelling and shifting to a more linear path could remove the heart of what made Origins enjoyable. However, as someone who insists on giving everything a fair chance, I put the recent media hysteria and my own worries aside, installed my copy of Dragon Age II and prepared to jump into the story of the Champion of Kirkwall.
Well, I would have, had the DRM not forced me to wait 24 hours to unlock the game after my copy turned up early. And then had to wait a little longer when I realised that the DirectX 11 issues from the demo had not been fixed and the game crashed. The joys of PC gaming, eh?Does Bioware's latest manage to meet expectations? Hit the jump to find out...