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Dragon Age II 4-Years Later Review



Dragon Age II starts with a dwarf being dragged into a room to answer questions concerning the Champion. At this point a playable section begins with your character being somewhat nonchalant about the horde of Darkspawn coming at them and your companion. When it seems like you are going to be overwhelmed, a dragon appears and roasts all of the Darkspawn, leading the interrogated to accuse the dwarf of lying.

Now the real story of the Champion begins, and it has you with your family fleeing from the Darkspawn hordes that are swarming into Fereldan. As you run along the path, you encounter a warrior and her Templar husband, and even though there is at least one apostate mage with you (either your character and/or your sister Bethany), they agree to join you to hopefully escape. Not too long after that, an ogre appears and kills one of your two siblings. (It is dependent on the class you started with as there must be one mage in the family for the rest for the story.) As the Darkspawn continue to come, overwhelming you, a dragon does indeed appear and saves your group from them. The dragon then transforms into Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds from the first game, and based on what she says, you can tell that your character has an important destiny, just in case the interrogation was not enough.

This brings me to one of the first knocks I have against the story of Dragon Age II. Flemeth is clearly aware that you have some kind of destiny that will shape the world, but she also seems to be the only character in the game to know this. That is except for the dwarf and his interrogator who are in the future, relative to the gameplay moments. It just seems very odd to me to have a somewhat obvious hint that yours is some great destiny, but then to abandon the concept of destiny as no other character ever mentions it. I am not saying that there needed to be some prophecy for you to fulfill, but the singular tease of greatness is awkward.






Actually the whole story-telling aspect to the story, with the interrogation sequences occasionally coming up, is weird to me. It very much left me feeling like the whole story of the game is just meant to set something up as a precursor to some other story, which is not very satisfying.

Following the prologue, which gets you into the city of Kirkwall, you have three acts that are each two years apart. The first act brings you up to an expedition to make enough money to make good in the city, and be more than just a refugee. I will not spoil the events of the second act, although some of the third act I will have to discuss in due time. I will say that it is in the second act that you earn the title Champion.

All three acts basically follow your adventures, which is fine except that I never really felt like there was a common thread between them, aside from your involvement. What I mean is that you could practically have thrown out the bulk of the second act and tweak the story of the third act to still earn you the title of Champion. Each act has its own goal and once that is achieved the next act's goal need not have any relationship to the previous. This makes for a weird experience when it comes to the climaxes in the game, since you keep getting highs that are not associated with each other.

On top of that the two year separation between the acts is also really odd because next to nothing seems to happen during those two year spans. People do not really move away, arrive, and change in appearance or ideas. The only exception would seem to be one companion possibly getting married between acts. Everything else remains almost completely the same, so those two year gaps could have been two months and no one would really notice. There should be enough life in the city over the seven years of the game (the prologue is one year before the first act, so seven years total) to make some obvious changes.


One thing that does change, but you are only aware of it in conversations and not visually, is the stance the Templars take in the city. The Templar Order exists to guard the Circle of Mages, because mages are at risk of becoming possessed by demons and you can imagine how that is a bad thing. The Knight-Commander, unfortunately, goes on a campaign to essentially extinguish all mages, and like it or not, you will be in the middle of the fight between the mages and Templars, with all of it coming to a head in the third act. What changes is that early on, mages still have some freedom, but by the end they are all either imprisoned in the Circle or being hunted.

While I can see how this concept makes sense, there is one part of it that does not. The eventual battle in Kirkwall between the mages and Templars leads to the destruction of that city's Chantry, which oversees the Templar Order and Circle of Mages. Somehow these events in one city, according to the interrogation, led to mage uprisings throughout the world. It just seems unreasonable to me that such a civil war would start given the distance between the cities and that each Chantry treats the Templars and mages differently, at least from what I could see in the first game.

One final knock I have is more a comparison to the first game. There you had a variety of choices that all interact with each other, and many of them would impact the ending. Dragon Age II feels like a more linear story, with two choices typically being offered instead of several, and few seem to have a great impact on the ending, except for who will be available to you as companions at that point.

Overall it just feels like the story of Dragon Age II was crafted from a checklist of items, instead of from an idea and allowed to grow and evolve into something more. It is not a bad story, however: weak would be the word I prefer. To be fair, as I have said before, story is important to me, so I may be more sensitive to its issues than most.


  1. Dragon Age II Review - Introduction
  2. Dragon Age II Review - Graphics
  3. Dragon Age II Review - Story
  4. Dragon Age II Review - Gameplay
  5. Dragon Age II Review - Additonal Gameplay Media
  6. Dragon Age II Review - Conclusion
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