Dragon Age 2

I am not much of an RPG (Role Play Game) gamer type, I normally found these types of games to be boring and repetitive; with the exception of a few RPG’s out on the market today. Never sitting down and actually wanting to play the first Dragon Age game I was somewhat hesitant on purchasing the second game of this series Dragon Age 2. Granted at the time of Dragon Age release it had great graphics and a good storyline, I just got turned off by the constant interruption of the cut in scenes that BioWare put into the first Dragon Age during the beginning portion of this game. So when Dragon Age 2 came out I did not just go out and purchase it, I put it on a list of games that if I need to play a game I will get it then. About a week ago I decided to just bite the bullet and pick me up a copy of Dragon Age 2 at my local Wal Mart store. I figured if I did not like it, it would end up just sitting on my shelf collecting dust for eternity. I also decided that if Dragon Age 2 had the same cut scene interruptions of Dragon Age I could always just skip through them (I ended up doing this through my first play through, more about this later). I will have to be the first to admit that my first perceptions of Dragon Age 2 were completely off. That after finally physically sitting my ass down and actually get involved with Dragon Age 2, I found myself getting addicted to this game, to the graphics, the characters, and the in depth story line that Bio Ware uses for this great game title.

These images you see on this page are in no particular order. These images also are at a combined AMD Eyefinity 5760 x 1080 resolution, so if you are having difficulty on viewing the images properly please right click each one and then open the image in a new tab or window of your browser.

Storyline

As I mentioned earlier, my first play through I ended up just skipping (hitting the ESC key) the first portion of the cut scenes of Dragon Age 2. Also during the first portion of this game, I just ran through it, pretty much skipping most of the side quests, not paying any attention to the story line, and just pressing buttons. As I played through Dragon Age 2 I kept finding myself as I kept playing that I was starting to actually get more and more involved into the story line, watching the cut scenes, paying closer attention to comrades who I selected to be on my team. Because of my just running and gunning in the first portion of this great game I ended up actually missing a huge portion of the storyline. As I proceeded further into the game I found my character was literally getting its ass handed to me on a silver platter (sorta speaking). So I decided to delete all of my old save game files, and start all over and actually pay attention to the storyline and get more involved with the other characters that BioWare used in Dragon Age 2. Now in a twisted form of sense, I was kinda glad that I did do a quick rough play through with Dragon Age 2, because I found something out about this game title that i would not have known if I just did a single play through.

I am not going to go into great details of the storyline of Dragon Age 2, if you want to know the storyline then go out and buy the game. I will be referring to both times I played Dragon Age2, so please read carefully.

The way BioWare tells the story of Dragon Age 2 is rather unique and quite interesting. It starts off with one of your team members who is a dwarf by the name of Varric talking to another individual and she referenced by the name of Seeker. Now what makes this story that Varric is telling the Seeker unique is that he maybe telling the story of you the main character (who you play the role of Hawke), you as the main character as you play Dragon Age 2 determines the way Varric tells his story. Varric story telling is pretty much adaptable to the way you play Dragon Age 2, this is where playing this game twice showed me this adaptation of the game. As I mentioned i pretty much just ran through Dragon Age 2 fairly quickly the first time around, even though I did this quick run through I still paid particularly close attention to some of the parts of the game as I progressed further into the storyline. One of the choices I made and as Varric told this portion of the story (first time) I brought along my sister on one of the most important quests of Dragon Age 2 that you will perform, this quest is known as the “Expedition” (last part of Act 1). After Choosing my sister to come along and just before our small band of treasure hunters left, Dragon Age 2 breaks into a Cut Scene with Varric telling the Seeker the story of the Expedition and he kept referring my sister in a “past tense” as if she died on this quest. As I continued playing Dragon Age 2 on this most important “Quest” about the last part of this quest my sister ended up dieing on me. Now back to my current new game I started with Dragon Age 2, On this most important “Quest” I had to perform, I decided to not to take my sister with me because I did not want her to die on me. I also wanted to see if Dragon Age 2 would adapt to my new choice or would it force that I had no choice but to take my sister along (predetermine course of action that no matter what we did we had to take that action). To my Surprise, not only did Dragon Age 2 allowed my new choice of not taking my sister with me, Varric’s story changed as well. Varric no longer referenced to my sister as being “dead”, in fact he did not even mention her before we took off on the Expedition.

One more point that Varric story telling that stood out that this games story line was adaptable to my game play, was during the ending portion of Act II when you need to fight the Qunari (or also known as the Qun) to retake the city of Kirkwall after the Qunari decided to do an all out assault. Again i did a quick run through of Dragon Age 2 on my first play through, no matter what I did in the game of Dragon Age 2 I still ended up fighting the entire clan of the Qunari who were in control of Kirkwall. It did not matter what I said or did I still ended up fighting. Now on my second turn playing through Dragon Age 2, I decided not only will I take my time and listen to the cut scenes, I also wanted to know more about the back story of Dragon Age 2 as well, so I did every quest that was available to me. Now on the second play through I ended up finding a rather interesting twist to Dragon Age 2 that I did not know about, or was completely clueless too. I found out that Dragon Age 2 gives us players two extra new players that are “not part of the norm” but play key roles on the main plot of Dragon Age 2. one of these “Key” characters (I need to remind you these two extras, we have to basically stumble upon them and are not a give me) is the voluptuous Pirate/Gypsy Isabella, and a Knight by the name of Sebastian. I am going to stick with Isabella key part of the story because she really determines the out come of a key specific point in Dragon Age 2. As I mentioned earlier that at the end of Act II I had to fight the entire Qunari clan during my first play through of Dragon Age 2. Where Isabella comes into play on my second time playing through is that she stole something from the Qunari a long time ago, she mentions that she did something a long time ago and that she stole something but never clues you in on what exactly it was, and if you had her in your party when you went to go see the head Qunari leader, she always bailed out on you. Just before you go out and essentially “start a war” with the Qunari, you are supposed go to your house to talk to Isabella and Aveline. After going to your house, you will see both Isabella and Aveline arguing with one another, after you of coarse settle things down you are told by Isabella that she is in “grave danger” and she requires your hep and that she can help you with the current “war” you are about to start with the Qunari. Aveline steps in and tells you that you should just go to the leader of the Qunari and go kick ass and take names (what happened the first time I played through the game, reminder though I did not have Isabella with me at the time either on the first play through). You are giving options to choose who you will help or what you will do first, I decided to help Isabella first (hey I could not help myself, either goto war, or look/stare at Isabella some more? Hmm this is a really hard choice to make). Low and behold now Isabella tells us that why the Qunari stuck around in Kirkwall for so long, that she stole a book from them. And that by helping her, you can possibly advert a war between you and the Qunari, a rather interesting twist.

I will end things here for you, I do not want to spoil all the fun if I tell you what happens.

Performance and Graphics

Performance wise with Dragon Age 2 was perfect, even while spanning this game to my extremely large resolution of 5760 x 1080 this game played smooth as butter. Whether I used  my Crossfire’d 6970’s or while I played in a single video card mode. I should note that while I used a single video card while playing Dragon Age 2 at the increased resolution there were times of noticeable slowdowns it was sporadic and occasional, especially when there was a lot of things going on like magic bursting through the air, smoke, and when there was a lot of enemies in a small area of the battle field. Keep in mind that having to push 6.2 Million (roughly) on a single video card is no easy tasking. Take 5760 x 1080 = 6,220,800 pixels, a standard 1080i monitor only pushes 2.07 million pixels, 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels. So I am pushing three times the amount of pixels that a normal 1920 x 1080 monitor while using a single video card. Your performance will vary greatly on what size of monitor you are using, and type of machine you are playing on. For those of you who cannot comprehend this, simply imagine that I am playing Dragon Age 2 with three of your High Definition 1080i Televisions while spanning Dragon Age 2 across all three of these 1080i HDTV’s with my computer, as far as resolutions is concerned I am evenly matched so; therefore, I can use this comparison as a referencing point. More information about multi-monitor gaming please feel free to look at my Article HERE.

Graphically Dragon Age 2 looks and feels clean, the only real gripe I have is that I wish BioWare took some extra time and used some of the more advanced features of Direct X 11 (not available to Console users) in this great game title. The one key feature I wished that BioWare used on this game is tessellation, this feature alone can and would have made Dragon Age 2 graphically stand out. I did not notice any graphical anomalies, problems or anything in general that would hurt this game title. I could tell that BioWare took there time on the development of this game title, and it shows.

Combat and General Play Through

Dragon Age 2 in the combat portion was not much different from other RPG’s I played. the only real differences I noticed was that if and when I was in combat (which is an awful lot) if my main Character died, it would switch me over to the next party member so I can continue on with my game play. This is not nothing new to us gamers as I seen this tactic played out on a few other games as well. You also have to keep track of your party members health and stamina while you were in combat, normally this would be an easy task for those that use a single monitor, but for me on my extended resolution proved to be quite challenging, because not everything was in the center, it was being displayed on the far left side of my screen (look at the images I posted and blow ’em up to full actual size to get an idea of what I am talking about). Even while using a High DPI mouse (a Razer Imperator that utilizes a 5600 DPI) proved to be rather slow on them times when I needed to react fast because I neglected my “duties” as a leader, Oops. Now there is an advantage to a multi monitor configuration with Dragon Age 2, besides of adding peripheral vision, we Multi-monitor gamers can add more attributes (or spells) to our bottom scroll bar then those who only use 1 single monitor (again refer to the screenshots for more information). there is only one more thing I will mention about the combat portion of Dragon Age 2, that is this game can and will unindate you with a lot of enemies at varying points of you game play. Even though most of the “fighting” is done automatically, you still have physically keep selecting your targets, and these targets will vary on the need of how many shots it will take to bring them down. Also Dragon Age 2 allows you to use all four of your team to target one specific enemy that you selected, now if you don’t (and there will be times that it will be needed) your team members go off on tangents and will start attacking anything at will. So use your judgment if and when it is appropriate.

The general play through of this game was again smooth, during most of the quests I did not experience any major broken quests. There was only one quest (and it is a minor quest) that seemed to be broken to me, this quest is when I went out to find all of the “blood magic” books and either had a choice to keep them, read them, or destroy them. I could get to two of these books (there are four in total) while the other two seemed to be missing (I went online for a quick walk-through on the locations of these books and when I went to go find them I could only gain access to two of them not the last two). Another thing that really stands out with Dragon Age 2 was the playful banter that happens while you walk through the towns or areas with the other members of your team. Most of these banters were quite interesting and fun to listen too, I found myself stopping (before I warp to a new area) and listen to their playful bantering with one another. BioWare went all out on Dragon Age 2, and gives us gamers something else to break up the monotony of the long traveling we will be doing as we play Dragon Age 2.

Ending Thoughts

Time for me to wrap things up with this game title.

Dragon Age 2 shows us gamers that there is more to a game then just blowing apart enemies. That this game also contains a highly inter-actionable environment that we gamers can determine the way the story gets told by Varric to the Seeker. We can also change the over all attitude of our character as we play Dragon Age 2, we can either be heartless, to being a nice person, or even being a little bit of both. We have a lot of free will to do what we feel is necessary and can accustom our specific gaming style to this game, and it dynamically changes as we make these choices on our actions. Dragon Age 2 also gives us gamers something that a lot of games don’t, and that being re-playability. Meaning even though there is a predetermined out come on quests or story line telling that we have to take, we can replay this game and take another approach to it each time we play and tweak the story line each time we replay this game.

Dragon Age 2 earns a very well earned a respected score of

9 out of Ten and the:

Golden Dragon Award

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