Why Dragon Age 2 Is The Best Dragon Age

Dragon Age Week is coming to a close at, and we’re wrapping things up by explaining why each game in the series is the best. It’s my job to explain to you all why Dragon Age 2 is the best Dragon Age ever to Dragon Age, but here's the thing – I don't really want to. Not because I don't like Dragon Age 2; in fact, I love it, and put it not only as the best Dragon Age game ever, but one of my all-time favourites games of any era, any genre, any console. But I don't really want to tell you how great it is, because if you don't know by now, then frankly you don't deserve Dragon Age 2.

There are some caveats to that. You may not have played Dragon Age before, and it might be that having seen us waffle on about Dragon Age non-stop for a week has convinced you the game is worth paying attention to. When we did Mass Effect Week a few months ago, one of our editors (un)successfully predicted the trilogy based on a handful of screenshots, but was later motivated to play the trilogy in full, coming away from it with the glorious review that it was, and I quote, "Okay." We've tried to repeat the trick this time around, having a different editor predict Dragon Age based on some other screenshots. She successfully surmised that the Dragon Age: Origins dragon infects everyone with a toxic purple cloud that makes everyone dance, but I'm sure that was just a lucky guess. We look forward to hearing her reaction to playing the trilogy for real soon, which might move her to remark "It's alright." That's the stuff dreams are made of.

Related: Interview: Alix Wilton Regan On Traynor, The Inquisitor, And The Differences Between Mass Effect And Dragon Age

Anyway, Dragon Age 2. If you've played it and reckon its naff, you're not worth convincing. You had your chance and you blew it. And if you are a newbie, I wouldn't even recommend starting with Dragon Age 2. Though the three games feature different protagonists and are far more distinct than the Shepard-driven story of the Mass Effect trilogy, they should be played in order. That's not because Dragon Age: Origins is the best – it's actually the worst, if you ask me – but because it makes sense, both from a narrative point of view and in terms of BioWare's evolution as a developer, it's worth playing Origins, then 2, then Inquisition. If you only have time for one? Sure, make it Dragon Age 2. But also, make more time in your life for Dragon Age games, my guy.

But I suppose I shouldn't waste this opportunity to wax lyrical about Dragon Age 2. Best protagonist in the series? Hawke and Ladyhawke. Best companion? Isabela. Best setting? Kirkwall. Best boss battle? Arishok. Best guy who shouts 'Enchantment!'? That guy who shouts 'Enchantment!'

See what all these things have in common? Dragon Age 2, baby. Okay, enchantment boy – Sandall, if you're nasty – is also in Origins, but you see what I'm saying, right? The Dragon Age series peaked in all the right ways in Dragon Age 2, and the incessant complaints about its flaws just don't seem to matter.

There are, primarily, two charges brought against Dragon Age 2. Firstly, it is very different to Dragon Age: Origins, and secondly, it uses repeated assets, dungeons, and battle arenas. Both of these charges are correct. They are both symptoms of the more rushed development cycle, but nevertheless, they are true.

Let's take them one at a time. Dragon Age: Origins is a PC game. Dragon Age 2 is a console game. It really is as simple as that. Yes, you can play DA2 on console, and – although you almost couldn't – you can play DAO on consoles. But there is still a clear difference between the two. Origins was designed as a more classic RPG, with lore, tactical play, and a depth that you were supposed to slowly sink deeper into with each footstep. Dragon Age 2 takes its cues from the much faster Mass Effect, and delivers a sharper, more action-packed, instant gratification experience. There is still winding lore – hence why Fenris alone stands out as a Mass Effect character in a Dragon Age world – but it has been designed for people to sit on the sofa with a controller in their hand, not hunched over two monitors with a mouse, keyboard, and an ergonomic wrist strap.

They are different games. Gold star for you. Dragon Age 2 is better though.

On the reused assets, yeah. They do. Underneath the intensely bombastic magic battles, epic adventures with sexy pirates, and fights against dragons the sewers beneath you all look the same. To dust off an old chestnut, it's like going to New York and complaining the subway stations look the same. While simultaneously complaining it looks nothing like New Hampshire, and you much prefer New Hampshire. Although I have no idea how Dragon Age: Origins is New Hampshire. Outdated and lots of nature, I guess.

Anyway, Dragon Age 2 is the best Dragon Age. I know why you all don't like it. I know none of you agree with me. I don't care. It's the best. The end.

Next: Dragon Age Originally Had No Dragons

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