Thursday, April 18, 2024

Here’s Why You Should Play Dragon Age 2 Like, Right Now

In my opinion, there’s a lot of benefits to have me as deputy editor of Gayming Magazine. One of the biggest is that I’m able to think and write something about Dragon Age 2 in a matter of seconds. And why not? Dragon Age 2’s graphics and some of its less-nuanced moments haven’t aged the best, but it’s still incredibly relevant even now.

For some that may be off-putting. Topics of immigration, slavery, xenophobia, class tensions, etc aren’t exactly great at drawing the attention of anyone who wants to try and escape into another world for a few hours. In a lot of ways, Dragon Age 2 is possibly the most political game of the series, but it’s also got an incredible cast of characters, an interesting, personal story, and is one of the best games to deconstruct ‘The Hero’s Journey’. It’s also got Isabela, Varric, and Merrill as main characters, which I feel is reason enough.

Dragon Age 2 is nearly 10 years old, having recently just turned 9 back in March. With this global pandemic going on, and having very little to do, I ignored my previous Dragon Age: Origins playthrough (because fuck the Fade) and went straight to Dragon Age 2. It also helped that Normandy FM have recently started their own run of the game, and I will use anything as an excuse to play my favourite game in the world.

So, why play Dragon Age 2?

It’s Got The Best Cast in the Dragon Age Series

Yes you may have Cassandra and Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition, and even Morrigan and Leliana in Dragon Age: Origins, but no other cast speaks to me like Dragon Age 2’s. Even Anders, who I would gladly watch be lit on fire, is a character that appeals to me in a way that few characters have managed to do.

With Hawke’s companions being situated in the same city, the set-up of friendships and rivalries within the group are to be expected. It can make which group you’re running around Kirkwall with feel so alive, because no matter who you’re with, you — Hawke — being the main link that keeps them all together makes the game more personal than ever. That, and everything just hits different when Anders and Fenris are five seconds away from killing one another while you’re too busy throwing heart eyes at Isabela. It feels just like real life.

There’s also the fact that this cast is largely bisexual, and no, I don’t mean player-sexual, I mean bisexual. Fenris, Merrill, Anders, and Isabela are available to be romanced by either a female or male Hawke, with Anders and Isabela showing preference to a male and female Hawke. Even Aveline and Bethany, other non-romanceable companions, aren’t heterosexual. When Dragon Age 2 first released, the inclusion of nearly an all-bisexual cast was considered unrealistic.

Whatever you say, heteroweenies.

Isabela Is In It

It would not be an Aimee Hart article if Isabela didn’t get a special mention. But look, listen here… Isabela is an incredibly underrated character. Not only is she hilarious, but she just hits that trope of ‘thief with a heart of gold’ and that just does it for me, y’know? That selfish character who actually isn’t as selfish as they claim to be, and is actually incredibly sweet to the people they love? God, that’s just so good.

I’m also just very fond of a character who comes off as very confident, but who 100% cries themselves to sleep when nobody is looking. Don’t even tell me Isabela isn’t that, because I will fight you, reader. I really will fight you.

Outside of my very obvious love for Isabela, she’s honestly just a breath of fresh air and makes running around Kirkwall alongside Varric, Aveline and Merrill that much more fun. Because come on, sometimes, you just really want Isabela to make jokes about Cupping your Joining and Greying your Warden.

Anyway, please expect a 2000-worded article about why I love Isabela later on in my very successful, very serious, career.

Nobody Knows How to Use Make-Up

Is this really a reason? Yes, yes it is. Look at it. There’s no way in hell that you’ve not seen that image and not felt a wild desire to boot up Dragon Age 2 just to see if it really exists. You’re welcome.

Dragon Age 2
The Modding Scene Is Incredible

My adventures through Dragon Age modding hasn’t always been positive. I’ve come across my fair share of gross mods, often ones that are racist, homophobic or both. Not all mods, however, are bad and the Dragon Age series has a whole subsection dedicated to the must-have mods needed to make your Dragon Age experience fresh and fun.

I first played Dragon Age 2 on a console, so now that I finally have access to a gaming laptop that can run this timeless classic, whew, it’s like Christmas has come early. Now I can get Isabela straight away without having to do Anders quest first, and I’ve even swapped up Merrill’s hairstyle just to see if it suits her. My Hawke can at least attempt to look like a rip-off of Katie McGrath. It’s fantastic and Dragon Age 2 on a console can get lost because I’m never coming back to it. Ever.

Dragon Age 2
The ‘Felicitate Me’ Scene

Don’t even ask. Please don’t even try and find it on YouTube.

Just recruit Sebastian Vael, bring Isabela with you to all his main quests and just let this scene sweep you away into the biggest ‘what the actual living hell is going on here’ moment you’ll ever experience.

It Really is the Funniest Game of the Series
Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age has always been a pretty funny series. No matter which game you play, there’s going to be characters, scenes and dialogue that’ll have you cracking up. However, I am very certain that a lot of the funniest moments in Dragon Age comes from this game.

You’ve got Isabela’s puns, Varric’s exaggerated re-tellings, Merrill’s obliviousness and Aveline’s ‘The Long Road’ quest and it makes a potent tonic of hilarity. Even the more stoic characters like Fenris and Anders have their moments. It’s ironic really, considering how almost 80% of the game is full of really disturbing, downright depressing moments. But if you like your humour dark, then I’m certain that Dragon Age 2 will be the game for you.

The DLC is Top Notch

If Dragon Age: Inquisition was your first game, you may be scratching your heads on why Corypheus was the villain or why he was seemingly so important. In Dragon Age 2, you first meet Corypheus during the DLC ‘Legacy’ which has, as per usual, Hawke and the gang stumble on something a lot bigger than them.

But it’s not just great at finding out more about a villain like Corypheus, the DLC’s add more content with all your companions, as well as Hawke. If you’re as devoted as I am to spending time with all my friend’s in this wonderful game, then you’ll no doubt be as stoked and motivated to play.

Dragon Age 2

Everyone is Hot

The fact that there are mods to make the companions more ‘attractive’ is an affront to God. Everyone in this game is already hot enough, thanks and if you think differently then you’re a coward. Sorry, those are the rules. Mods that change the companions are fine, but to be more attractive? We’re going to have to stop you right there, chief.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.

3 thoughts on “Here’s Why You Should Play Dragon Age 2 Like, Right Now

  • In these times this is the journalism we need.

    I’m concerned about the Isabella article though, only 2000 words? Are you sure you didn’t mean a 6 part series of 2000 word articles?

  • I would pay money for a remake of this game where they didn’t reuse areas too many times, it’s the only criticism of an amazing game. Apart from Anders. F*** Anders.

  • It’s amazing to read such a well thought out article on one of my favorite gaming experiences of all time. I may be hated, but I fell in love with Anders. Like almost literally. I had to fight back real tears when he died. It was awesome to play through the new territory of same-sex relationships in a video game.

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