Dragon Age II • Page 2

Blight club.

Rogues have decent ranged and close-up fighting options. They can turn themselves into fearsome archers or nimble, stealthy predators. They're the flashy middleman sitting between the heavier Warrior and the healing Mage, in other words, and they may well be the most entertaining of all three.

Plus, they're spectacularly suited to the combat system. The basics from Dragon Age remain in place – you can still switch between team members with a bumper and assign orders to team-mates, and in the PC version you'll be able to pull out a lot further and get really tactical.

However, the end result feels far more dynamic. Dr Ray Muzyka has said that he wants to ensure that, this time, whenever you press a button something awesome happens (Dr Ray Manzarek has also said this), and the design team seems to be delivering on that objective.

The animation seems to have a lot more flourish to it - rivals move around each other looking for openings, melee attacks connect more painfully, swords slice more closely and magic sends pretty little whispers of particles out when it strikes its target.

Movement's certainly speedier. This makes the fights feel so immediate and pacy that it's almost a shock when the cooldowns first kick in. Then, of course, the pleasant micromanaging takes hold as you balance a trio of offensive options (the Rogue's backstab manoeuvre is particularly good fun) against the time it takes to recharge them. And so you end up flitting between characters when you get bored in order to dish out punishment from another angle. Have at you, etc.

The chatty side of things also been overhauled. The dialogue wheel of Mass Effect has been brought in, trailing with it all the inherent pleasures of watching as your basic conversational choice turns into full-blown speech.

The camera appears to be more cinematically inclined, roving around the players, shifting between close-ups and distance shots. There's also an artful approach to framing which makes the original game look a little shabby.

I'm sure BioWare's retaining the depth - my conversation with Isabela's enemies ended in an almighty rumble, but it's entirely possible that I just missed the option to settle things with smart wordplay – yet it's nice to see the developer layering some of the gloss and finesse of Mass Effect onto this particular world too.

This demo's a tiny, tiny slice of a massive game. With a story that spans ten years of Hawke's life, BioWare's billing it as the studio's lengthiest bit of plotting yet. It's going to be interesting, once again, to see how Dragon Age feels on the PC as well as the console, but it's a confident and personable performance all the same.

For the time being, it's enough to know that for all the tweaks, this still feels like Dragon Age - and it definitely still feels like BioWare, too.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (43)

About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.


You may also enjoy...

Comments (43)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch