On its own Dragon Age II is a decent game. Next to its predecessor though, it is a shameful product. It is a slap in the face to the series and gamers in general. Its only redeeming qualities are the aspects it took from Dragon Age Origins and speeding up the combat. Dragon Age II has improved its graphics a little and the gameplay is much faster paced than the original which I personally liked although it's harder to execute strategy with this technique. The story branches quite a bit which helps to keep you interested. The game stays captivating enough that you'll want to see it through to the end. That is about all I can say that is good about Dragon Age II.

Dragon Age II fails in so many ways it's difficult to tell where to start. There is a ridiculous amount of backtracking in this game. In fact, most of the game IS backtracking. You will be restricted to a very limited number of areas throughout the entire game. These areas may change ever so slightly as the game progresses but not in any way that will make you feel like you haven't done this a thousand times before. Dragon Age II also lacks story. In fact, there really isn't a story beyond a sort of documentary style of storytelling of your main character, Hawke. The threats are constantly changing and there is no overall goal or main story arch of any kind which leads me to my next problem: the characters. With no overarching plot/enemy to deal with in the game it makes absolutely no sense for most of your party members to even be following you; especially the ones that tend to dislike your decisions. Throw that on top of the fact that most of your party members are not all that likable. Hawke is a great character but for the most part, the rest of his/her party is terrible You can load a save from the original Dragon Age Origins but it serves little purpose and really changes nothing.

In closing, Dragon Age II was a sloppy, thrown-together mess. This sequel will not bode well for gamers who like a story that serves more purpose and has intriguing characters that they care about which is pretty much the entire Dragon Age fan-base. Even twitchy fingered, action-oriented gamers that this game tried to cater more too will most likely not enjoy this game too much due to the lack of environments and the awful amount of backtracking. Dragon Age II is a three star game ONLY because of the branching story and decent combat gameplay which I still feel was done better by its predecessor.

-Improved Graphics
-Branching storylines
-Fast paced combat

-No main plotline
-Uninteresting party members
-Way too much backtracking
-Only a handful of environments to go to