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PREPARE TO BE SLAYED; THIS STREAMLINED RPG IS NOW PACIER AND BETTER THAN EVER.

Byline: KEVIN LYNCH

Dragon age II

PC, Xbox 360, PS3. pounds 34.99-pounds 49.99 *****

BioWare's fantasy romp Dragon Age: Origins won over sword and sorcery fans in pretty conclusive style when it was released a couple of years ago.

However, even the most die-hard RPG fan would probably have bailed out before the game's conclusion, which required around of 100 hours of dedicated play.

Its streamlined sequel is a much more elegant, pacier adventure. While only lasting for half the time of its predecessor, it packs in far more action. After choosing to be a mage, rogue or warrior, you play as Hawke, who moves to the city of Kirkwall after his hometown of Lothering was levelled by the blight of Darkspawn from the first game.

Along the way you befriend a dwarf called Varric, who not only helps you on your quest, but also acts as the game's main storyteller.

DAII pulls a number of tricks from the bag of BioWare stablemate Mass Effect, the most notable being the introduction of a conversation wheel for handling dialogue, allowing you to roleplay the voiced character of Hawke however you want.

Upping the ante further is a new combat system. You're now able to move around the battlefield and select where to direct spells and cause the most damage. You're also no longer forced to pause after every spell to give more orders, bringing a much more frenetic feel to battles.

Not only does Dragon Age II play better, but there's also a more cohesive look to the game, with much improved graphics.

Refined to the point of near-perfection, this is a sequel that shows the developers have listened to the fans' gripes and set a new benchmark for RPGs.

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GREAT GRAPHICS: A more cohesive look
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2011
Words:298
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