Fantastic fantasy - Page 2

Dragon Age II is as elaborately polished and stage-managed as its predecessor was rough-hewn and idiosyncratic

Oh, those pesky fire-breathers: a character takes on a you-know-what in Dragon Age II.

Try too hard to scratch beneath the game's admittedly pretty surface, however, and you'll be dealt a stinging rebuke. Though its appearance is universally stunning, Dragon Age II compensates for Origins' excessive ambition by limiting itself to a narrow range of environments, enemy types, and mission structures. In 12 hours with the game, a player will clear out the same identical cave five or six times. Though the cut scene and conversation dialogue is excellent, game play is too often comprised of "travel here, travel there," with the occasional ambush thrown in just to whet your appetite, your sword, and, thanks to the series' distinctive blood-spatter graphical effect, pretty much everything else you have on.

If you can ignore some repetition (you want me to save another wayward, magic-addled youth?) and concentrate on the game's positive qualities (there are many), Dragon Age II will provide some 40 hours of enjoyment. BioWare has taken an old role-playing dog and taught it a number of impressive number of new tricks. Unfortunately, "roll over" and "shake" are often overshadowed by "fetch," and sometimes, "play dead."

Dragon Age II

Bioware/Electronic Arts

(PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3)

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