It can’t be argued; Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 are very different games, set in different locations, with all new (for the most part) people joining your mission. And I’m pretty much biased into loving any BioWare game. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to like all the changes to DA2. So let me lay it all out for you and you decide!
A word of warning: As with mostly all opinion pieces on PtC, this post contains spoilers. So go finish Dragon Age 2 before you read this.
- Faster combat in DA2 versus the slower combat / effects in DA:O. I consider this a good change. I feel powerful whipping out my blades on someone, with spells swirling in the air. The one drawback is that I tend to get so caught up in it (my character is a rogue, so she’s fast to begin with) that I tend to forget to watch everyone’s health meter.
- A quick sidequest in the Fade in DA2 versus a hell of a long time trapped in the Fade alone in DA:O. This is another positive. The Fade can be a killer if you’re stuck in it for a long time, fighting against huge crowds without any companions to help you through it. Thank goodness the Fade is no longer hours long.
- Simplification of equipment for companions in DA2 versus having access to all gear for companions in DA:O. This I could really go either way on. It can get tedious to equip all your characters with the latest gear, however not being able to put gear on them at all can be aggravating. And Wadoobie makes an excellent point; we can no longer unequip everything from our companions and have them chat in their skivvies. DAMNIT.
Companion homes in DA2 versus everyone hanging out at camp in DA:O. I think each scenario makes sense for the appropriate game. In Origins, you’re traveling all of the realm of Fereldan to gather allies to fight the Archdemon, so it’s understandable that everyone should regroup at the same location. Whereas in Dragon Age 2, you stick around the city of Kirkwall and the outer lying regions, so you and your companions can all have your own location to relax, and everyone knows where to find each other. The drawback to this setup in DA2 is that updating your companions with the latest weapons and runes becomes tricky.
- Smaller world and shorter game in DA2 versus expansive world and longer overall game in DA:O. That change is clearly sad. Just sad. Come on BioWare, I know you like to make beautiful scenery, and I love to look at it. And I also like to play for like months.
- Political concerns as a basis for the story and a lack of urgency versus one driving factor pushing the game forward in DA2 versus one main bad demon dragon going to cause pain and destruction and death over the whole world in DA:O. At the beginning of DA2, I felt a little lost, thinking, where is the urgency or the driving factor right now. My main quest is to earn money. Cool. It’s nothing like Origins, where you end up leaving everything you know to join the Grey Wardens, as there is an evil spreading that must be stopped. That feeling of not knowing what my character’s purpose was continued at the beginning of act 2. “The Qunari are causing uneasiness in the people of Kirkwall”. Oh, okay, that REALLY tells me what my main quest is. While I do appreciate the difficult decisions that come when the political parties’ clashing comes to a peak, I don’t feel that those concerns had enough significance to push the game forward in the beginning.
Fewer options of things to say due to main character being voice acted, fewer interactions and things to say with party members, gifts have actual scenes with companions in DA2 versus more response options, main character silent, more interactions & things to say with party members, gifts basically have the appearance of being thrown at a companion and the companion yells back their varied level of appreciation in DA:O. Phew, a lot of differences, but I thought I’d combine a bunch of social options. I love having a fully voiced character, and don’t even mind not having as many responses and things to say. However I do feel gypped about the fact that it seems that there are less things to talk about with companions. You don’t have the option of always forcing a conversation like you do in DA:O, and you can’t go into a special romance section and make out & / or get your tenting on. I mean…OBVIOUSLY that is a huge problem for me. I want to be able to do all the tenting and making out that I want. However I do appreciate that a scene for giving a gift has been added in. It’s always humorous to me when my companion asks, “And you’re giving this to me…why?” Much better to have an actual conversation about the gift rather than a shouted “Oh, thanks”.
- And speaking of tenting, lamer romance scenes in DA2 versus sexy half naked romance scenes and tenting movements in DA:O. What’s up with that, BioWare? I can’t force my love interest to do it with me every ten minutes, which completely pisses me off. And the actual scene… psh! What a joke! They don’t even strip down to undies (at least for femHawke & Anders…WTF…maybe I should play as a dude)! I feel very cheated here.
- In all honesty, not being the catalyst of change and decisions in DA2 versus feeling very much the hero who changes things for the better in DA:O. Didn’t you kind of feel while playing through DA2, that you weren’t the one bringing the changes to Kirkwall? Anders has a HUGE role in the game, and it felt to me that he was the one forcing the decisions, while I took a backseat and watched it play out. Whereas in Origins, I was the leader. I led the attack on the Archdemon. I recruited allies to fight with us and called them during the battle. I made the big decisions.
- Recycled dungeon layouts and scenery in DA2 versus thoughtfully created and unique locations in DA:O. Wow, this was disappointing. I knew exactly what to expect when heading to a Dock dungeon quest, and what to expect when going into a Darktown dungeon. Also no offense Kirkwall, but your city gets kinda boring after being stuck in it all game. And in Origins, every location was different and therefore interesting to explore. Aside from the tedious Orzammar / Deep Roads. And the Fade.
And there you have it. The summary of the changes I found most prominent. If you think of others, please let me know in the comments!! And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for… THE POLL: