Dragon Age II Check-In: Week 1

One of my great video game shames is never really getting into the Dragon Age series. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I loved lots of BioWare’s other games. Mass Effect might be the most important franchise of the previous generation of games, and Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic might be my absolute favorite original Xbox game. But for some reason, Dragon Age just never grabbed me. I started to correct that last year when I played through the first game and wrote about my time with the game.Well, I’m doing that again with the second game.

The game opens with a mysterious woman talking to a dwarf, Varric. The woman asks him to tell her about Hawke, the main character of the this game. This leads to a very strange sequence where you’re playing as some dude that you didn’t create, killing tons of monsters and just being a general badass. Things seem a little off, with a more over the top tone. I wouldn’t normally bring this up, but to go along with that tone, your female companion, Bethany, has comically large breasts. The whole thing is very strange.

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Eventually, the woman calls Varric out on his bullshit. Turns out that while he had the basic details of what happened right, he was exaggerating all the details. So, Varric starts again, which leads into the creation of our main character. If you’ve read any of my other Check-In series, you know that whenever given the option, I make my character an old man and name him Ivan Ooze. So, that’s what I did.

Similar to Mass Effect, Dragon Age II features a character with a premade last name, in this case “Hawke”. So, my guy is Ivan Ooze Hawke. He features silvery-white hair, mutton chops, and a ridiculous looking mustache.

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With our character created, we start the game again. It’s more or less what we had already seen, but with a much more serious tone. Also, Bethany, who is apparently my sister, has much more reasonably sized breasts. What a weird game. So, anyway, Ivan Ooze Hawke and his family are fleeing from the Blight from the first game. Along the way, they come across two more people, a female knight named Aveline and her templar husband Wesley.

After a bunch of killing Darkspawn, the group encounters an ogre. The previous Dragon Age Ivan Ooze killed plenty of those things, so it should be pretty whatever. Instead, it ends up picking up our brother and slamming him into the ground a few times, killing him. Then we kill the ogre, fairly easily. Afterwards, more Darkspawn pop up, but thankfully, a dragon swoops down and destroys all of them.

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The dragon transforms into Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds and Morrigan’s mother from the first game. After learning that we’re fleeing Fereldan to get to Kirkwall, she asks us to make a delivery for her. In exchange, she’ll turn back into a dragon and clear the path of any remaining Darkspawn. We end up agreeing. Also, Wesley is dying from Darkspawn corruption due to an injury during the fight. Flemeth tells us that the only cure is to become a Grey Warden, so instead we just have to kill him. You can choose to do it yourself, but I decide to let Aveline put her husband out of his misery.

The group, which after a couple deaths consists of Ivan Ooze, his mother, his sister Bethany, and Aveline, arrive in Kirkwall. Unfortunately, no one’s being let in. It seems there’s just too many refugees right now. We point out that we have family here, specifically, Ivan’s uncle. After a bit of a hassle, we eventually get to meet with our uncle. Turns out, he’s a bit of a douche. He’s sold off the family home in order to pay a debt, so now we’re kind of stranded.

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So anyway, we need money. To correct that, Ivan’s beloved uncle sells him and Bethany into indentured servitude. Lovely. We can either work with some smugglers or some mercenaries. I went with the smugglers, and I wish I had a good reason for that, but it’s just because the quest giver was a cute elf lady. She needs me to get some money from a merchant. Easy enough. I talk to the guy, tell him he owes money and he better pay, get the money, and we’re done.

After some time passes, we’re introduced to Dragon Age II’s more open ended style of play. It’s honestly kind of weird and took me a little bit to get used to. You get a map screen with various locations you can go to, and any quests that you have will appear as icons on the map. Seems simple enough, and it is, but the constant bouncing around looking for different quests to do kind of makes following the story a little bit of an issue. Basically what I’m saying is, I will almost certainly forget to write about some of the quests I did.

In the time between when we arrived at Kirkwall and now, Templar activity has really increased. This is an issue for Bethany, but, we find ourselves a solution. A dwarf named Bartrand is leading an expedition into the Deep Roads. We try to join up, as it would be a good way to leave town for a little while, but unfortunately are refused. Fortunately, we meet up with Varric, the dwarf who’s apparently telling the whole story and Bartrand’s brother. Varric wants to help us out, but we need to help him too. He’s trying to find the best way into the Deep Roads, and he needs our help finding a Grey Warden who might know.

Along the way, we stop and talk to Aveline. She’s now a guard for the city of Kirkwall. After talking to her about what she’s been up to, she decides to join us. The group of us go and find Anders, the Grey Warden who apparently was a character from the DLC of the first game that I didn’t play. He agrees to help us out in exchange for helping him. It turns out he’s in Kirkwall to try to save a friend of his, a mage. We agree, but we’re too late. Anders’ friend has been made Tranquil, which basically means he no longer can use magic or feel emotion.

We fight the bad guys that did that to him, and Anders goes crazy for a little bit. Something about a spirit of Justice? So, what, is he Ghost Rider? I don’t know. But anyway, Anders’ friend briefly regains himself, but just asks to be killed rather than have to live life as a Tranquil. Anders agrees. Yikes, well, welcome to the party anyway Anders.

Let’s pick up another party member! This time it’s Isabela, who you might remember as the girl I almost had a threeway with in the first game! I like Isabela. When we find her, she’s getting harassed by a gang who demand some sort of payment from her. Isabela quickly kicks their asses. After talking to her, she recruits us to help her with a dual she’s set up with an old acquaintance. Yeah, sure, I’ll do whatever you want.

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We fight some of her target’s goons, and soon learn where we can find him. He’s inside the Chantry. After finding him, he demands to know where some relic is, which Isabela claims has been lost. This leads to a fight, and the dude’s death. Now Isabela is a permanent party member. I am okay with that.

Hey, remember that thing Flemeth gave us? Why don’t we go take care of that. By the way, this is what I mean by the story being hard to follow sometimes. Because things are so open ended, it often feels like your starting and stopping things too frequently. Anyways, we’re supposed to take it to the Dalish elves.

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We meet with the leader of the Dalish, and she tells us to bring Flemeth’s amulet up a mountain to take part in some ritual. She’s also sending us Merrill, a super awkward elf who wants to leave the village and join us. Well whatever. We bring the amulet to the top, and Merrill does what she needs to do. This results in Flemeth being summoned. Apparently this whole thing was a scheme to survive the events of the first game. Huh. Well, anyway, we’ve got another party member.

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Sometimes, you get letters that give you quests. In one, I’m sent to go retrieve some property that’s been lost. After fighting a bunch of dudes, the property turns out to be slaves. After fighting off some slavers, an elf named Fenris appears. He’s a former slave and wants to free more slaves. Yeah, why not? Fenris joins the party.

My understanding is that’s all the party members, other than a DLC one. That’s pretty quick to have everyone. But hey, that’s cool, right? And that’s what I did the first week. If you’ve ever followed any of my Check-In series before, you know that I usually start each one with some stats. I’ll do that starting next week, but for this week, I’m ending with my stats. My current play time is 4 hours and 40 minutes, Ivan Ooze is level 7, and I’m partway through act 1. Now, let’s see how far I can get next week.

Oh, and at some point, I got a dog and named him Bork Doggo 2.

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