I know this game is old, but I'm about 12 hours in and wanted to share my thoughts.
I'm really baffled by the bad reviews by fans when it first came out. I'll be the first to say that they made some pretty drastic changes from Origins.
First the strengths.
1. Graphics, I never understood why people have said that Dragon Age games are bad looking. Maybe I still marvel that in my life time we went from Intellivision to these technological marvels. The graphics although not bleeding edge certainly aren't bad in any sense of the word.
One of my favorite features of this game that EVERY game should let you do is the freeze frame pause. Not only does this pause the game (always a nice feature), but when you pause, you can rotate the camera. This has allowed me to get just the right angle when getting a nice screenshot. You can freeze massive explosions right in the middle of a fight and get a screenie. Nice!
2. Art style, Both Dragon Age games have had fantastic art style. From the design of the environments right down to the swords and armor, everything looks great.
3. Storytelling, DA:O had great storytelling! DA2 I would say carries on that theme. If a 1 - 10 scale could be had, I'd say DA:O was a 10. DA2 would be an 8. An 8 is NOT bad folks.
4. Combat, I know people loved the DA:O RTS type gameplay but for me it wasn't quite a home run. It wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't quite for me. DA2 I feel takes the great parts of DA:O's combat and kicks it into high gear. They really got it right IMO.
It's quite linear. Being a big fan of Open World/Sandbox games this is disappointing however I have to remind myself that they weren't trying for open world. Speaking of world, they reduced the game from a large map down to a city and although the city is nice and neat, more variety is the let down here.
Armor - The armor has restrictions at times. You may find a NICE rogue piece just to find out it's restricted to the main character. what if your main character is a mage?!?! That piece is completely wasted.
Runes/Enchantments - This has felt like a bullet point in both DA:O and DA2 that never got much attention. I'm 12 hours into this game and have not applied one single rune or one single enchantment. It's such an afterthought in these games that I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. I know the austistic dwarf is supposed to be the enchanter, but I've had 1 piece of gear the whole game that was even eligible to be enchanted.
Lastly, there are some repeated use of dungeons and map areas that again can get a little tedious, but it's certainly not a deal breaker that the reviews made it out to be.
In summation, DA2 is a step down from DA:O. HOWEVER, if it had a different title or was made by someone other than Bioware, I feel that people would have been like "OMG, this game is awesome!" The fact is that because it was a change and a little less than it's predecessor it took a lot of heat. If DA:O was a 9.5, DA2 is an 8.5. 8.5 IMO isn't bad.
Peace up, A-town down.