Dragon Age II Fourth Impressions

Warning: This post may contain minor spoilers for the first hour-ish of Dragon Age II.

boxartI called Dragon Age Origins a game Sunday after finishing the last little side objective I made for myself – play all of the Grey Warden intros. I’ll likely be continuing my progress babbling series before throwing together my unqualified review. That was the best $7 I ever spent! Anyway, as soon as I beat Origins, I jumped into my fourth playthrough of Dragon Age II, or what I like to consider the Final Fantasy XIII of the Dragon Age universe. Haters gonna hate, but I still love the game! I last played it many years ago (pre-FFXIII) so it feels like a mostly new experience (memory = terrible). I imported my Origins adventure too so I’m excited to see how that changes things.

Ellen Hawke the Fourth is Born!

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The default Hawkes do look badass!

I’m not kidding – my memory really is terrible. To start the game, you pick a pre-created Warrior, Mage, or Rogue Hawke (the protagonist), instead of creating one from scratch. This left me confused since I remembered a more in-depth character creation option was a thing…? Anyway, I went Female Warrior (of course) and the tutorial happened. It starts out with a big cutscene where an unfortunate dwarf, Varric, is being interrogated by the Seeker of the Chantry, Cassandra Pentaghastย (I’m pretty sure she will be a companion in Inquisition when I get there). So basically, the whole game is being narrated by the dwarf, and the action takes off with an overpowered Hawke gloriously battling through a horde of darkspawn.

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I recognized my mage friend as Hawke’s sister, whose name I didn’t recall, at least.

While I bashed in lots of skulls with OP default Hawke, the game kind of explained what the hell to do. It also encouraged me to experiment with my moves, which I thought was nice. The tutorial ends as a mighty dragon swoops in, bringing the player back to the narrator dwarf… then I remembered it was Varric over-telling Hawke’s story (aka the Champion) to Cassandra. The Seeker is not very impressed, to say the least, and she encourages Varric to tell the actual more factual story. So off to the character creation screen proper!

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And then Ellen Hawke (the fourth), the level 1 Warrior, was born!

Unlike Origins, you’re stuck with a shemlen, I mean, human character as your only choice. Since I rolled as a boring ol’ human in Origins, this didn’t bother me one bit. I can see how this would feel limiting to others though. You can choose hairstyles, face tattoos, nose length, etc. BUT pink hair was STILL not an option. This was my biggest complaint with Origins and I’m disappointed the issue is still present in DA II (I didn’t know any pink haired sheroes when I played this back in the day so it wasn’t really a problem for me then). Pink face tattoos ARE a welcome addition in DAII though, so that definitely happened to Ellen Hawke! Here is where you also have the option to import your save from Origins. It seems Grey Warden Ellen’s decisions may have an impact on Ellen Hawke’s journey. I’m excited to see how this plays out for me down the line!

A Jarring Transition

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I’m going to be rocking the sarcastic response option, a lot.

I literally started this game within an hour of finishing up Origins so it was quite the shift. This game is very different from Origins – the graphics are more polished, the battles are much quicker (but follow the same overall style), the protagonist talks, it’s a more linear story-focused experience, the dialog choices are simplified (I love, love, love the sarcastic response option!!), and the relationship system boils down to a friendship vs rivalry scale. I honestly don’t remember much about the relastionship system, but if the option to ask someone their opinion pops up, take it and they usually love you for it. I’ll remember more when I get further I’m sure.

The Story Thus Far…

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“Away from the darkspawn horde” would be my sarcastic response to that question.

The game starts out at around the same time as Origins is taking place. Now that I’ve actually played Origins, I can really appreciate all the references! It starts off with Ellen Hawke and her family fleeing Lothering for their dear lives. It’s me, my warrior bro, Carver, and my apostate mage sister, Bethany, protecting our mom against waves of darkspawn. Along the way we run into a Templar, Wesley, and his warrior wife, Aveline, who could definitely use some help.

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I remember Aveline being the badass best friend we all need in life.

My family and I help out, and then the injured Wesley has the nerve to go all Templar on my sister. Aveline tells him to drop it and he sees reason. Clearly the darkspawn are a bigger threat than the mage who just helped save your ass, eh buddy? Anyway, we fight to the top of the cliffs and the real version of Varric’s intro story happens. When the big Ogre appears, Carver decides to go solo it and…

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Yeah… I liked Varric’s original version better.

Ellen Hawke fells the bro bashing beast and mom rushes to her dead son’s side. So yeah, my bro got squashed by an Ogre, and my mom is devastated… one of the rare times I won’t be choosing the sarcastic response option, that’s for sure. The Templar says a prayer for him, and then my group suddenly becomes overwhelmed by more damn darkspawn. Thankfully, Varric wasn’t making up the dragon part! A huge fire-breathing friend descends from the sky and toasts the darkspawn. Guess what?? The dragon isn’t really a dragon either… it’s Captain Janeway, I mean, Flemeth!

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I know to add Morrigan’s Mom to that name list now.

Flemeth LOVES my Hawke’s sarcastic nature (almost as much as I do) and agrees to help my family get to a ship that can take us to the city of Kirkwall. Unfortunately, our Templar buddy is succumbing to the darkspawn taint (I’m kinda wondering why only he is though… um, everyone was covered in darkspawn blood after that battle?). In a tragic scene, I tell Aveline to do what she thinks is best, and she has to help her husband kill himself to avoid becoming a darkspawn… wow.

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This scene is still hard to watch a fourth time… it’s definitely not the most depressing scene in the game though. I’ll leave it at that.

Back to the dragon lady’s offer, nothing in life is free so her help comes with strings attached – I have to deliver something to a clan of Dalish elves near Kirkwall for her. Deal! Let’s get the hell away from Ferelden now, please!! The game cuts back to Varric and Cassandra as the dwarf explains Hawke’s journey to Kirkwall: crammed on a boat full of other refugees and dropped on the doorstep of a city that is essentially a Templar-controlled prison for mages…

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Ellen Hawke, girl, I know we’re gonna have a crazy few years in Kirkwall (and similar looking surrounding linear areas).

Overall Goals

Due to the fact I have played this game before, and it is pretty linear (even if I don’t remember a whole lot), I’m hoping to breeze through my fourth playthrough by early December. Then I can jump into Inquisition, a whole new expansive Dragon Age game that will likely take me well into next year. After that, I intend to give The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild another serious shot before moving on to the Mass Effect universe. I will continue to pick away at shorter games on the side (Super Mario Odyssey, RiME, Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds DLC).

Disclaimer: My gaming goals are subject to change at any time, based on current level of moodiness.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
-It really doesn’t take me long to forget most of a game… that’s why I love this blogging thing! Babbling about my virtual adventures helps me remember them. I unfortunately do remember a few horrifying events that happen to Hawke though.
-If it were socially acceptable, real life Ellen would totally get the same pink coloured face tattoos as Ellen Hawke… probably.

โšกThanks for reading!โšก

14 thoughts on “Dragon Age II Fourth Impressions

  1. RiME is a bit of a disastrous port, I’ve heard, so I recommend Axiom Verge as an indie game replacement. It’s very much like Super Metroid. It’s awesome. I’ve also taken up Breath of the Wild again and just love it so. I’ll be having serious words with you if you’re not delighted with the thing by the end of the year. YOU HEAR?! Goodo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard about the bad rap RiME was getting as a Switch port. To that I say meh, and I’m picking up the physical Switch edition on Tuesday anyway. I also really want to check out Axiom Verge before the world ends.

      Oh BoTW… I really want to love that epic Zelda game. Can you extend my deadline of liking it to the end of 2019, please? ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Well yeah, you go for it! Frankly, the amount of fuss Breath of the Wild received for its occasional framerate drops was ridiculous. RiME has struggled on every format, apparently, something about it makes it judder from time to time. Being from the NES era, this sort of stuff doesn’t overly bother me. I would like RiME, too. I will steal a copy.

        January 2019 – your one and only deadline extension, madam.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah… Framerates and other minor technical issues don’t bug me at all if the story is good and the game is fun. RiME comes highly recommended from another blogger friend here. I trust her opinion much more than the cranky internet masses, haha.

          I promise I will beat Breath of the Wild, Ori, and Axiom Verge by Jan 2019. Thank you for the deadline extension! ๐Ÿ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Good for you, madam! Yeah, I’m tempted to get it now. I’ve got it on Steam and that had frame rate issues as well, but still enjoyed it. I saw a video on NintendoLife complaining about it and just thought… that really doesn’t look too bad, what’s their bloody problem? Then I sent them an abusive e-mail explaining so.

            Priority is Ori and BoTW. I love both of them as much as tea and jam. H’enjoy!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. 4 times is really impressive! The only plot game that I may have done that before is Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and that was back when I was a little kid with a very small selection of games to choose from every Saturday. I guess the short term memory comes in handy for these moments ๐Ÿ˜€ I have pretty bad memory myself so I can sympathize. A big part of why I review things in the first place is so that I can remember them. There are tons of movies that I have completely forgotten and then I use my review to jog my memory. I just hope my memory doesn’t get too worse, I actually forgot to return my books to the library for the first time so I have to pay 5 dollars next time I go -__-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It was my first BioWare game so the character interactions and choices really pulled me in. I loved Sonic Adventure 2 Battle! I spent way too much time raising those adorable Chao, haha. ๐Ÿ˜€

      That’s exactly why I review games and babble about progress in my blog. I can reread this stuff down the road and remember the game. My memory has always been terrible and it’s definitely getting worse with time. Ouch with your $5 late fee!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I won’t be reading your adventures in Dragon Age II because I haven’t played it yet and want to avoid spoilers and I hope to be able to sometime in the future. With that said, I’m confident that you’re going to enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked the framing device they used here. The few times it did pop up, Varric telling stories to Cassandra really did add a lot to the experience. I wish they did more with it really, but some of its impact may have been in its brevity.

    Liked by 1 person

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