I’m currently making my way through Bioware’s recent DRAGON AGE II for the second time and am rapidly coming to the conclusion that it lacks anything in the way of replay value, even when playing a different character class and going out of my way to make different decisions regarding quests and storyline progression. If, like me, you played the game and are feeling rather let down by the whole thing, you might be interested in John Walker’s “what went wrong” post-mortem over at Rock Paper Shotgun, where he does a great job of picking apart the game’s myriad flaws and highlighting precisely where the biggest mistakes were made (not always an easy task when you have 25-40 hours of playable content).

In happier news, if you own a copy of DRAGON AGE II, you can now download the PC version of Bioware’s previous game, MASS EFFECT 2, absolutely free. This strikes me as an absurdly good deal. Not only is the PC version the best available - in terms of graphics, controls and, if your machine has moderately decent specs, frame rate (a flat cap of 30 FPS on consoles vs. uncapped on the PC) - MASS EFFECT 2 is also a vastly superior game to DRAGON AGE II. In fact, I’d be inclined to suggest that both games started out with their respective development teams trying to accomplish the same goals - to deliver a character-driven, action-oriented RPG with a cinematic quality and meaningful decisions to be made - but where one got almost everything right, the other fell flat on its face. Obviously one is an epic space opera while the other is medieval fantasy, but comparisons are valid, not least because they show that the unpopular changes Bioware made between the original DRAGON AGE and DRAGON AGE II didn’t necessarily have to be a damaging as they ended up being.

My review of DRAGON AGE II is here, by the way.