Dragon Age II: Shorthand and sequels


I have a feeling as I start into Dragon Age II that I’m going to ask myself again and again whether the game wouldn’t be better were it not framed as a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins.

Also, how am I going to abbreviate Dragon Age II? I’m weirdly pedantic about such things. When I shortened Dragon Age: Origins, I almost always did so as DA:O rather than DAO. Why I felt the need to hold on to the colon, I don’t know, but I did.

And yet, DAII looks like crap. Consistency would demand I not transcribe the Roman numeral II into a 2, but DA2 just looks so much better.

So, DA2. Consistency be damned.

But you want to read about the game, don’t you?

Was BioWare trying to signal something by switching so boldly from subtitles in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Awakening to a simple (if portentously Roman numerated) ordinal in DA2? Maybe the pattern doesn’t really hold up, since the box art for the standalone Awakening expansion seems to name it Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening. (I’m inferring colons in line breaks, although maybe that doesn’t hold up either, and Dragon Age: Origins should be Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age: Awakening should be Dragon Age Origins: Awakening or even Dragon Age Origins Awakening. Maybe this all just very slightly less awkward than calling Awakening Dragon Age 1.5, although it further problematizes my abbreviating the first game as DA:O if the colon isn’t part of the original title at all. . .)

Oh, good. The manual and back cover of Dragon Age: Origins refer to the game as “Dragon Age: Origins.” So I didn’t just make that up. (Although it refers to Awakening as Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening. So from now on, I’m going to abbreviate that as DA:O — A. Or just call it “Awakening.” We’ll all know what I’m talking about, right?)


Okay, okay.

DA2 doesn’t really emphasize importing a save, does it? When I started the game, I worried I’d done something wrong, as it threw me directly into a cutscene and combat after choosing only Hawke’s gender and class. (I created a female mage, just in case you’re curious, as I did in DA:O.) After defeating an ogre, I was given access to more detailed customization options, but importing a previous save was the fourth option offered when setting up the background choices.

Which is kind of great for players starting with DA2. It doesn’t emphasize the game you didn’t play.

But it’s a bit weird when importing saves is such a big selling point for BioWare RPGs.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain given that I stuck with Hawke’s default appearance. (“Why don’t you respect my choices, BioWare, even the ones I barely bothered to make?”)

NEXT WEEK: The game. (Probably.)

A slightly different version of this note was originally shared through my TinyLetter, The Playthrough, where I am currently playing and writing about Dragon Age: Inquisition. You can subscribe to The Playthrough at http://tinyletter.com/theplaythrough

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