We went back to Thedas!

Andraste’s flaming nickers! It’s been how long since I’ve been here?! My apologies dear friends but alas, there were many quest to fulfill and coin to be earned in the land of Thedas. After completing DA Inquisition and having cleared the Blight during DA Origins it was finally time to witness what happened in-between and so we caught the first boat heading to the free city of Kirkwall.

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DA II narration differs from what we’re normally used for two main reasons, first it’s being told by the rogue dwarf Varric (Barrica – little barrel, as we call him XD) to Seeker Cassandra, ten years after what the player is about to witness and second, we play as a pre made character named Hawke, with the only customization option being the gender and its class – at least you don’t spend half an hour thinking about every little detail… except for the name, that’s a whole different story XP. In my case I followed the adventures of Devin Hawke, a rogue refugee from Ferelden who’s willing to do anything for some extra coin in his pocket but eventually rises to the very top of Kirkwall’s society – siding with elves (even having an affair with one) and mages alike, fighting closed-minded cultists, snot nosed nobles, demons, invaders, gangs and so on, leaving a huge body trail behind him and maybe, just maybe, sparking a whole civil war that will fully unfold during Inquisition.

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Hawke is a badass and there are some exciting moments in the mix, no doubt about it but don’t be fooled as his adventures are somewhat more “domestic” and down to earth than both the other games – political and power games, civil unrest and domestic threats, all within the walls of Kirkwall and the city’s surroundings. The overworld is reduced and the maps very linear (Kirkwall being the only city and main stage for most of the game and even it can’t be explored completely) not to mention that most of the quests are simple, fetch-like and will make you go back and forth between the several areas of the city without a greater purpose than to get some coin (sorry people, I’m not a goody-goody two shoes, I’m just here for some sweet loot! XP). Even worse than having linear maps is the fact that they use the same ones over and over again for caverns, warehouses and so on – lack of time for development I’ve read – not to mention that proper grinding areas, apart from hunting gangs at night, don’t even exist! Thank the Creators that with a little skill and luck you can manage to overcome most of the foes without having to grind..

But DA II also has some nice features like (when compared with its predecessor) an improved interface, a more fluid and fast paced combat system without having to micro manage everything and unique skill trees for every companion. Regarding those, we could say that there are enough options for anyone’s taste, choices and tactics – usually I rolled with a rogue (myself), a warrior/tank and two mages, one to rain primal and elven mayhem upon my enemies and the other to support with buffs, healing and some elemental attacks – that will work nicely in almost any well though formation. The decisions you make and the way you act towards them (and their personal quests) will determine their behaviour towards you and between themselves no to mention their stat modifiers for getting a full on rivalry/friendship going.

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The dialogue options are fewer than in Origins but have the plus side of being fully voice acted and having different tones that result in a more enjoyable role-playing experience but the real jewel lies are the companion’s lines as they help to flesh them out, make them more believable and give some nice background info and stories from time to time.

DA II runs from the typical over the top doomsday epic questline and that may be a deal breaker for some but its “more character and locally centered” perspective is also an interesting one – ultimately, despite all its flaws, DA II turned out to be a fun and kind of addictive game (maybe “kind of” is an understatement, time and time again we lied to ourselves saying, just one more quest just to end up playing hours upon hours) and it was a shame when I got to the end of it, not wanting to lay down my daggers… oh well, now I have to get the dlc XP

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