Dragon Age II
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Deep RPG filled with mature themes, violence, and sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
A true role-playing game, players are encouraged to spend much of their time interacting with other characters. They can choose whether or not to act morally and how they want to develop or sabotage their relationships with others. Recurring themes throughout the game include loyalty, love, honor, and betrayal. Outside of dialogue sequences the game tends to focus on and glamorize fantasy violence.
Positive Role Models
Player can pick their own path through the story. Many situations allow players to choose between clearly right and wrong acts -- such as killing a foe or showing mercy -- often with significant consequences. Make choices that go against the grain of companion characters and they may show disdain or even become rivals if the player continues to anger them. The game generally guides players along a righteous path, but it is possible to indulge in wickedness along the way.
Ease of Play
Though more accessible than its predecessor, players new to the series will face a steep learning curve as the learn the intricacies of the game's sophisticated real time battle system, which includes a module that permits customization of individual companion's battle behavior. Newcomers would do well to play on the easiest difficulty, though the level of challenge can be changed mid-campaign.
Violence & Scariness
Players use swords, axes, bows, and magic spells to kill hundreds of enemies, including both humans and fantasy creatures like demons and giant spiders. Battles typically result in vast amounts of blood and gore spattering both the environment and the characters themselves. Severed body parts can be seen, including a decapitated head. Players occasionally have the option of killing innocent or defenseless characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The player can choose whether to flirt with some characters. At first flirting simply results in suggestive responses -- “Does your dwarf shy away from the deep roads?” -- but if continued throughout the game the player’s avatar will eventually have the opportunity to have sex with other characters, both male and female. The characters do not remove their clothes, but they do embrace, kiss passionately, and throw themselves onto a bed before the scene fades to black. Many female characters dress provocatively, showing deep cleavage, while antagonistic “desire demons” bare nearly their entire bodies, including their breasts.
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Words including “ass,” “bastard,” and “s--t” are heard infrequently in spoken dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Significant time is spent inside a pub, where the player's character may imbibe alcohol. The main protagonist never shows any signs of drunkenness, but other characters do become intoxicated, from both alcohol and a magical substance called lyrium, which acts as a drug.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dragon Age II is a violent role-playing game that glorifies bloody fantasy combat and features sexually-charged sequences that stop just shy of showing the act itself. It is also a true role-playing game that focuses on storytelling and character development. Players spend much of their time engaged in conversations with other characters, fostering or damaging relationships as they choose. Some of the dialogue contains cussing. They must consider the impact their actions and words have on others or be prepared to deal with the consequences.
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Dragon Age II
Based on 4 parent reviews
Great game, But a little more mature than the first one
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What’s It About?
Set in the same world and in the years immediately following the events of the first game, DRAGON AGE II follows the story of a customizable refugee character after his (or her) hometown is destroyed by wicked invading forces. A penniless immigrant in an overseas kingdom, he takes odd jobs to make money and earn a place for himself and his family in a city filled with strong personalities. Like its predecessor, this game focuses heavily on role-playing, allowing players to carry on long conversations with other characters and make game-altering decisions in many of its quests. Players should also expect plenty of bloody fantasy combat as they take groups of up to four party members into battle against demons, spiders, human raiders, and mages.
Is It Any Good?
Dragon Age II acts as prime evidence that developer BioWare is in a class unto itself when it comes to developing games with complex characters. Its dialogue system makes chatting just as much fun as combat. With the ability to scan responses on the fly and choose replies even before the character you're speaking with has finished his sentence, conversations flow naturally and without pause. They are completely engaging. What's more, your choices change the nature of the relationships forged with other characters and can even alter events within the story. It's a stunning achievement in game writing. The action, meanwhile, is as satisfying as it was in the first game. A cleaner interface and simpler menus manage to maintain the same level of depth but make everything feel more accessible. A wider selection of areas to explore would have been nice, and we detected a lack of direction in the first few acts, but these are the only complaints that can be fairly levelled at this brilliant and mature role-playing game.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about storytelling in games. Have you ever played a game in which the characters were just as rich, compelling, and memorable as those from a book or movie? If so, what was it that made these characters resonate with you?
Talk about the characterization of love in this game. Are games capable of effectively capturing this complex emotion? Can they depict the physical aspects of love with taste and sincerity?
Discuss the impact of violence. Why do games contain such graphic violence?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: March 8, 2011
- Genre: Role-Playing
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Content, Violence
- Last updated: August 30, 2016
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