Impressions: Dragon Age 2 demo

BioWare’s approach no longer relegates a role-playing game’s protagonists to the leagues of the lay and the lame. To describe Dragon Age II, then, as a rebellion against the fundamentals of its predecessors seems false – it simply appears that its combat has been radically dramatized to match the intensity of a setting and status quo not untypical of the genre.

We’ve all been there – in battle with an “epic” foe to ultimately decide the fate of a fictional world and its inhabitants. Sadly, however, such a situation would be marred by a cycle of repetitive animation, icons, ability cool downs and button presses – a methodical waiting game.

And Dragon Age II certainly isn’t a stranger to this. What is does do, however, is to inject energy into this waiting game, to make killing an opponent fast and frenetic. Our protagonist doesn’t feel turreted to a single spot waiting on a slew of enemy’s to meet the bloodied edge of his oversized sword.

BioWare deliberately facilitates that sense of power by granting the player access to a considerable number of abilities. Subject to interrogation, a man tells the tale of a likely pack of heroes. In his version, however, the player is imbued with a significant variety of abilities. When “called out” on the falsehood of his story, you’re returned to a similar scene, powers removed.

It’s this glimpse of glory that made it gratifying to continue. The abilities, the aesthetic appeal and the ease of play made them something worth attaining. Of course, if you’re looking to return to a more traditional, pause, point and click style of play, it’s there.

To judge on a brief glimpse of its combative offerings, Dragon Age II has the potential to be an incredibly fun action role-playing game.  Its weightier infusion of action elements and – at least on PC – refusal to abandon a tactical control method will undoubtedly cater and appeal to aspiring heroes on controllers and keyboards respectively.

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