SUMMER, it seems, is once again upon us. As the sun’s unfamiliar warmth creeps through the clouds, young people frantically scramble to try and make the most of the glorious sunshine, because, as we all know, it doesn’t last.
As you can imagine, there are far better times to thoroughly play one of the most deep and complex games that I’ve seen in a while. I even doubt a week of downpours would have provided enough time to complete enough playthroughs of Dragon Age II to give a totally informed review. However, I shall do my best ...
Dragon Age II, as you’ve probably worked out, is the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, a game which a good friend tells me I would absolutely hate. To be fair, the only other offering I’ve played from Bioware (the developers of DA2) is Mass Effect, a game which for all its praise and interactivity, left me unimpressed. So I approached Dragon Age II cautiously, trying not to notice specifically the flaws.
Which, pleasingly, there were very few of. The gameplay, while simple, is extremely immersive. Combat plays out much like an MMORPG such as World Of Warcraft, regular attacks interlaced with special abilities, with specific abilities assigned to different buttons of the controller, as you’d expect. While people who strive for complexity will be left disappointed, in my view this works really quite well.
Another feature prominent in most RPG games is the class system. There are three classes to choose from: The Warrior, who uses melee combat and can generally take the most damage; The Mage, who uses spells to take out enemies from a distance; and the Rogue, who focuses on a single target and takes out foes with ruthless efficiency. The party-based gameplay means that you can select three AI-controlled allies to accompany you, and it’s usually best to keep a mixture of the different classes so all fronts are covered.
Combat, however, is only half the story. A key feature of Bioware games is the decision-based storyline. To the untrained eye it may seem rather simple: Each conversation gives the player a number of opportunities to decide which line of dialogue to choose, Good, Evil or Neutral (which usually materialises as being quite humourous). However, these decisions make a big difference to the storyline, whether it’s affecting another character’s opinion of you, to seriously affecting the future of your home city, Kirkwall.
To conclude, if you’re a fan of Role-Playing Games, Dragon Age II is a must-buy. And if you’re not, I would seriously recommend buying it anyway, you may well find a new passion. And if Irish elves don’t sell it for you, then you should probably get off the internet and get back to wasting life away on Call of Duty.
Dragon Age II is available to rent or buy from BLOCKBUSTER, WIGAN LANE, WIGAN