So on February 22, Bioware released a demo of the RPG Dragon Age II. I downloaded it. A good friend asked why not just wait for the two weeks when the full game is released on March 8th, which is a fantastic question. There is some free DLC for downloading the demo, but I wanted to do two more things: One I am going to review Dragon Age II on SDCS. The second is that I wanted to try the different classes without having to commit to a heavy playthrough. Let me tell you what I found out.
First you play as Hawk. Choose this character’s class (mage, rogue or warrior) and gender. You and your family have fled Lothering from the Blight (Darkspawn –they kinda look like an army of Skeletors in this game). Needless to say they’re nasty and they kill anything that’s living. The environment looks ravaged. In playing the original games, Lothering was rather green and prosperous. The Kokari wilds were green with ancient buildings by the Tenvineter Impirum that lasted for ages. It’s all gone.
Each class has a talent tree and for the sake of the demo some of them are locked/unknown at the moment, which is fine for me. I like a little surprise with the actual game.
I chose my favorite class, Mage, to play first. After playing Dragon Age: Origins, and Dragon Age Awakenings, I can tell you that the mage’s skills are more than enhanced for gameplay. The mage can perform better combat attacks for creatures (mainly Darkspawn in the demo) that get too close, and the spells are a high improvement.
He (or she) doesn’t have the strength of the warrior or rogue for physical attacks however the spells are pretty powerful. Also distance attacks are pretty amazing. I was able to use the fire and ice spells (as well as healing, and some of the psychic abilities) just fine. The controls are a little different, but familiar enough to catch on fast.
As the rogue, this cat is quick and skilled. I will say the miasma/saboteur tree makes a world of difference in combat. I am a big fan of distance attacks and having the ability to stun clusters of enemies at once is a good thing. The rogue moves fast, and has the ability to reappear behind enemies for some backstabbing action. The rogue moves so fast I almost didn’t think I would keep up with his acrobatics, but I did.
The rogue typically uses dual weapons or the bow and arrow. Tried them both. All I can say is those who use the bow and arrow tree are able to pick off targets at a distance and even fight up distance. I was impressed.
As a warrior I am a failure. While I like the strength and the ability to wield the dual-hand sword, I simply don’t excel here. No distance attacks. No high speed. I did get to mow down my enemies by subdividing them. The gore factor is amped like crazy. Blood and body parts everywhere. It’s perfect for the game. I found I’m just a poor warrior. I was not as flexible as the rogue, and did not give the hardcore blast of power of the mage. I am no warrior.
The voice acting is superb. Kate Mulgrew as Flemmeth is a great moment. She’s different from her appearance in DA:O. That’s all I’ll say about her. None of the other characters grated my ears.
The Demo did have some drawbacks. I couldn’t use the tactics to have the characters use the poultices and draughts to heal themselves restore their mana/stamina. I did simply take over a party member and made the choice for them to keep them from dying. Also there was no switching gear except for in the beginning for the rogue and warrior. Again some talent/spell trees were locked. Not that I think Bioware’s gonna give all the goods out in a demo.