The second instalment of BioWare’s Dragon Age series was anticipated with open arms as the promise of a finely tuned, more approachable, more cinematic version of the game was promised. What was the reality? A highly dumbed-down, simplified and rather insulting sequel to the marvellous Dragon Age: Origins.
The simplified equipment windows, more linear storyline and rather limited exploration leaves questions in my mind whether this game was made for fans of Origins or simply to absorb more money out of lowest common denominator audiences. Even the point of customer creation is highly limited.
In Dragon Age 2 you are Hawke, a set character with a set destiny that’s being narrated by one of the NPCs through a series of flashbacks of your characters life. Any modifications of Hawke’s face does lead to some minor graphics glitches as well, so you may as well just stick to the default male/female face.
The storyline is quite appealing, with many of the characters feeling complete and well-rounded; however it can become rather schizophrenic and at many points the player is left wondering what he’s actually there for. The storyline changes direction so many times its easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, unless you’ve watched the trailer which as spoilers go takes the first prize.
Dragon Age 2 is a completely fine game in its own merits, it makes good use of BioWare’s chat mechanics and the personality of Hawke is, at times, quite entertaining. However, as sequels go, BioWare seem to have lost the great ability they showed with games like Mass Effect 2. An ok game but a disappointing sequel.
And so comes the sequel to Pixar’s ‘Cars’, dubbed as Pixar’s first bad movie. And Cars 2 has widely received similar criticisms that show it as worse than the original. I watched Cars 2 yesterday (from the day of writing) and have given myself 24 hours to let it sink in. The reason? Because I have no idea why it’s gained so much critical infamy.
What I witnessed was a nicely balanced mix of lighthearted comedy, diverse characters and a simple yet addictive storyline. Cars 2 is arguably a better film that the original, partly due to the fact that Pixar realised that ‘Mater’s personality was far more appealing to audiences than the slightly generic personality of Lightning McQueen. By making Mater the main character, they’ve found a more comedic baseline for the film, which really flourishes on many occasions.
Cars 2 is, in my eyes, a good film and one that Pixar should be proud of. I actually went to see this with my dad, as we both enjoyed the first film, and I can honestly say neither of us have laughed quite so much for a while.