Intended to blend the line between Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 to create a unified style across all of Bioware's brands, Dragon Age II is a departure from the classic Bioware format the franchise was built on to emphasize the action and make the gameplay faster. Simpler and quicker than its predecessor, Dragon Age II was incredibly divisive among the fanbase. The RPG sequel was released to the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles on March 8, 2011.
Players take on the role of Hawke, a Ferelden born human who was living in Lothering right before the Darkspawn attack from the beginning of Dragon Age: Origins. Fleeing from home with the Hawke family in tow, players are able to select Hawke's gender, appearance and class before starting a near decade long adventure in a rise to power in the city of Kirkwall.
Dragon Age II was released to a very mixed fanbase. Many of the fans of the series felt betrayed because of the huge amounts of simplification and watering down of the classic systems, while the classic methods for doing things in Origins were a major part of the appeal for many players. While the watering down of most things in the game was considered problematic, the combat was praised by numerous critics for retaining all of the strategy while greatly speeding it up, but due to a minor coding bug, the Auto-Attack feature from the PC and all versions of Origins was unavailable on the Xbox and Playstation, leading to many to feel like the game's button mashing lost a lot of the charm and became repetitive. It was also criticized for reusing the same few environments the entire game- the number of maps are very small, and the whole 40 to 80 hour RPG takes place in a single area- the city of Kirkwall, which lead to a lot of people complaining about the repetitive maps.
Despite the gameplay problems, as with all Bioware games, the story and writing were heavily praised. The party members in the game were considered incredibly realistic and deep, and the voice acting was praised as being top notch. The minor changes to the Mass Effect dialogue wheel were also praised heavily, with the more defined personality paths highlighted clearly with the wheel itself, and the romance dialogue and party-specific triggers which could often be missed in the past were highlighted in Dragon Age II, allowing players more control over their Hawke's personality while making sure that the player doesn't accidentally romance a party member or miss an important line of dialogue.
Collector's EditionEditUnlike most games, Dragon Age II decided to release their collector's edition for no additional price to the original game. Referred to as the Bioware Signature Edition, this collector's edition was given to player's for no additional charge if they pre-ordered the game before January 11, 2011 for any platform and from any retailer. The Signature Edition comes with two packs of DLC- The Black Emporium, a special shop that gives players numerous extremely odd and unique items, a mirror to allow them to customize their appearances after creating a character and a Mabari War Hound companion, and The Exiled Prince DLC expansion, which includes an exclusive questline and a party member, Sebastian Vael. It also included a digital soundtrack for the game and a small arsenal of exclusive items, weapons and gear. The Signature Edition for the game could not be purchased after January 11, and the two main DLC packs would require separate purchases, while the Soundtrack and items were never made available for non-Signature Edition owners. Players could also recieve numerous pieces of gear depending on numerous other factors, many of which would come with the Bioware Signature Edition- signing up for the Bioware newsletter gained players the Staff of Parthalan weapon, while pre-ordering from Gamestop gave players the Fadeshear sword and the Lion of Orlais shield. The Blood Dragon Armor would be unlocked for players with a Dragon Age: Origins save file on their hard drive.
- Dragon Age II: The Black Emporium
- Dragon Age II: The Exiled Prince
- Dragon Age II: Legacy
- Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin