Is Dragon Age: II Really That Bad?

Dragon Age II is infamous for the let down it provided the fanbase after Dragon Age Origins, and it’s quite understandable. Dragon Age Origins was a wonderful, creative game that focused on the player being able to completely create their own story. A vast choice of character, gender, race… The options seemed endless. Then this silent protagonist went on a memorable journey to, almost, singlehandedly save the world. Follow that up with a game that introduces a set character, customisable, but still prepackaged for you. It feels like an entirely different game, for this fact alone. Along with the initial shock of the sudden narrative change, there’s the issue with repetitive areas, such as caves, dungeons, etc. A lot of people claimed it was boring. That it felt rushed – because it was rushed.

However, that being said, Dragon Age II is still popular with a lot of the fanbase. One example of this is the ‘tumblr fandom’ for Dragon Age; there’s certainly much more content based on DA:II than there is for DA:O. Of course, both previous games have been overtaken by content based on Dragon Age Inquisition, but that’s expected with a more modern game that brought a lot of new gamers to the franchise.

Overall, it’s a very controversial topic. I took to reddit to find out what fans think in general, here’s some top picks:

“I love that the companions are allowed to be truly flawed and even off-putting: it makes them feel more real to me. I love that they develop a group dynamic outside of Hawke’s influence. And that the game permits them to sometimes make choices that are truly wrong. And that these semi-reprehensible people stick together out of loyalty and the grudging bonds that only a troupe of repeat fuck-ups can have.”


“I didn’t hate it, but it felt really distant from Origins. Discounting the tired repeated environments argument, the environments we did get all felt really bland to me. And as much as some people seem to like the story for its less focused narrative, I just couldn’t get interested in it. I also felt it had the weakest characters of the series outside of Varric I can barely remember anyone else in the game. Again I didn’t hate it, I think I beat it more than once, but I don’t have particularly fond memories of it either, I can definitely think of more flaws than strengths.”

“It’s actually my favorite Dragon Age game. It has its flaws, yes, but the good things about it far outweigh the issues like the repeating dungeons. To me, it has the most compelling story and characters out of all three games, and I even think the gameplay is really fun (especially if you’re playing as a mage. I miss the melee staves). DA2 is also very much a departure from Bioware’s usually style of storytelling in that it’s very much the personal story of a hero who, in the end, fails. Hawke is a tragic protagonist in a lot of ways, and that’s not something we see very often in these kinds of games. For everything Hawke gains, they lose something else. In the end, Kirkwall still goes to hell regardless of what they do. This might be a somewhat unpopular opinion, but I actually think that Hawke is the best of the DA protagonists and I’m more attached to my Hawke than I am my Wardens and especially my Inquisitor. Hawke just feels the most real to me. They’re not a chosen one, they’re not some epic hero swooping in to save the day because swooping is bad– they’re just a person who’s constantly in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“To be honest thats only the case because DA2 flopped. Its obvious from marketing and in general the way DA2 is set up that he was supposed to be the Inquisitor.

I would have preferred that because I think Hawke’s story isn’t satisfying at all. One of the reasons I dislike replaying DA2, dude has no effect on anything, everything goes to shit and instead of all that paying off in DA:I with him becoming a hero, it gets even worse!

I dont see how thats enjoyable at all.”



3 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s not bad. In fact it’s pretty good! I love the comment about how the companions are flawed and have their own goals.
    If this wasn’t called Dragon Age II I think it would be more highly regarded, but as it came off the back of a solid RPG, and then changed it so much it was looked down on somewhat. Call it Age of Flame Lizards or something and it may have done better due to not being linked to the previous game.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. shaunkellett says:

    During my too-short-lived, Games Journalist days I wrote an article called “What Dragon Age: Inquisition should learn from Dragon Age 2”. Mainly because I actually enjoyed Dragon Age 2 more than the first… Which is certainly not what you’d expect from the reputation the sequel garnered!

    I very much agree with the quote saying it’s a much more personal story. Dragon Age 2, for me, was all about the characters, the story, the changing town… I really enjoyed it, despite its flaws, and I think it shows that good writing/characters/story can carry gameplay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always felt the backlash against it was a little over the top. It was a disappointment after Origins – but given that Origins is one of the best Western RPGs ever made, how could it not be?
    It was flawed, but the characters were strong enough that I was happy to overlook that. It’s far from Bioware’s worst RPG, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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