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Dragon Age II
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

view user comments (6)
User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

Save for a few hiccups and bland environments, Dragon Age 2 is miles ahead of its predecessor in both audio and video. The presentation components combine to create one epic feeling game.

Gameplay: 5

Whether it's the uneven story, the hit or miss combat, Dragon Age 2 constantly feels like it's in battle with itself. At times, it's the epic RPG sequel you've been waiting for, yet other times it feels like the rushed game you hoped it wouldn't be.

Lasting Appeal:

Several key enhancements make Dragon Age 2 a lot easier to navigate than the original, and the story is lacking, but admittedly deep. You're bound to have a blast with Dragon Age 2, just not as much as you thought you would.

Overall: 6
Dragon Age 2 may not be the game that it was meant to be, but it's still one hell of a western RPG. Fans of the series should be able to see past the game's shortcomings and technical deficiencies and have a great time with Dragon Age 2.
CHEATfactor: 6

If you're reading this, you've probably already made your mind up about Dragon Age 2. You want me to say how it's everything the original was and more. How it's the sequel to the gaming masterpiece you hoped for. Well, I won't, and it's not. Now don't get me wrong, Dragon Age 2 is still a phenomenally bloody and brutal time, and you're sure to have a blast, it's just seems like the developers tried to do too much and as a result, certain aspects, like the story, tend to feel like they're not as fleshed out as they should be. Still though, what works, works well, and there's little reason to be disappointed by what Bioware has done with Dragon Age 2.

Dragon Age 2 isn't really a sequel as much as it's an alternate story from 2009's Dragon Age: Origins. You take the role of Hawke as you desperately try to escape the village of Lothering during the Darkspawn horde's invasion early in the original game. Arriving in the city of Kirkwall, it's your job, as you'd expect from an RPG, to make a name for yourself and rise from refugee to champion of the people. Much like in Mass Effect 2, you're able to import over save data from Dragon age Origins (or the Awakenings Expansion pack) and since the game takes place in the same world, your choices will have an effect on the way the game plays out.

"'s an intriguing tale of political unrest and war..."


Oddly though, the game seems to contradict this feeling of free will with one of predetermined fate. Similar to a story book or fairy tale, the plot of Dragon Age 2 is told in a framed narrative, meaning it's already known that Hawke will rise up and become a legend, and take down the Chantry. Of course, you can make the argument that such is the case with pretty much any RPG, and what's to be determined is just what role you play in the chaos, but it just seemed a bit off-putting at times. It's also a bit surprising just how linear the game's plot is, especially for all of the branching quests you're able to go on. Still though, it's an intriguing tale of political unrest and war that's sure to keep you interested throughout most of the game, including several moments that left my jaw lying directly on the floor.

While the story comes off as linear, the game's choice system is anything but. Much like all Bioware games, the true joy of the Dragon Age series is to explore the worlds and talk to those that you see, and while the worlds aren't as varied here, that system of choice is as prevalent as always. What makes Dragon Age 2's choice system so much more notable than the original is that the dilemmas you're presented with aren't as simple as a good choice and a bad one. Dragon Age 2 presents a fairly charged political climate that all but requires you to be a jerk at some point, to someone during the game. It also helps that the game employs the conversation click wheel from the Mass Effect franchise, so these conversations are much easier to manage than before. It's just a shame that with how linear the game is, these choices all lead to the same end result, a cliffhanger type ending that seems to cheapen the entire game.

Dragon Age 2 plays much more like an action RPG than the original game. Now purists, this isn't cause to panic, as the series hasn't abandoned its roots, it's just made them more accessible. Cool down times have been shortened and animations sped up, so there's definitely a much more immediate feeling to all of your actions that before. The core RPG elements are still intact though, including mana and magic casting. On that note though, the game does lose the tactical camera, so players used to zooming out the camera to target enemies will be a bit disappointed. There are also a few questionable changes, like that you can still control any party member you want, but thanks to a few new weird restrictions, you can't really manage everyone's inventory as much as you'd like to.

"...severely disappointed with the game's talent tree system."


I was also severely disappointed with the game's talent tree system. Of course you can still develop all of your party members in any way, but several of your choices (most are non combat) are completely nonexistent here. Where's trap making? Poison making? These things are still in the game, but you'll have to find recipes and nodes throughout the world.

When the watercolor inspired visuals in Dragon Age 2 work, they work remarkably well, but sadly the same can't be said for when they don't work. Admittedly miles ahead of its predecessor, Dragon Age 2 has some surprisingly low end visuals, mostly apparent in some of the low detail textures and stutters. On the bright side though, the characters (including Hawke) are all superbly voiced, a notable change in direction from the original Dragon Age.

It may not be the game everyone wanted it to be, but Dragon Age 2 is still an epic, quality western RPG that should be experienced. It's clear that Bioware wanted the game to be much more accessible than its predecessor, and as a result, the game feels like it's not fleshed out as it should be. Still though, you can't deny how much fun it is to blast through a crowd of enemies with your blood soaked sword in the universe Bioware has created. 



CHEATS USED: Unlimited Mana, Stamina, Add XP, Attribute Points, Level Up/Down, more

It's extremely fun to blast through an entire wave of enemies with unlimited mana and stamina. This beautiful feeling is possible with the trainer for Dragon Age 2 from

There's also an option to instantly add XP and attribute points to level up your character a lot faster. Or hell, you can just use the level up or down command.

The trainer for Dragon Age 2 is a great addition to the gameplay, and you'll want to experience the long awaited sequel with it.



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