To seek new friends and stranger companies – Julie Replays Dragon Age 2 Pt. 2
It is weird to replay a game that I have played several times already, especially after replaying Dragon Age Origins, where I completely unexpectedly fell totally in love with my OC and the story all over again.
I’m still kind of waiting for this to happen with DA2. I am very fond of Adriene and I find myself much more attentive to the story, to what we find and what is being said. Ah, I already laughed out loud several times – party banter between Varic and Fenris is my absolute favourite so far. I carefully look out for hints from my DAO gameplay and the more I get along in the story, the more I realize how many hints and premonitions are already in Act 1, despite the super casual gameplay of that beginning.
My first missions are concentrated on getting all my companions. Varric makes his introduction quite early, inviting us to his brother’s Deep Roads expedition and basically gives us the plot for the first Act – go get the money and the map to the Deep Roads.
That leads us to find Anders, our favourite and haunted healer – and his.. well, how do we put it? His strange companion, Justice. Adriene takes a liking to Anders but his immediate major reaction to the least bit of flirting takes her aback (“I would only hurt you…” – “Whoa, okay, I was only flirting, not proposing, man.”).
She is suspicious of Justice – but at least as curious. His passionate defense of mage’s rights goes right along hers because that is what she has done all her life: defend her father and sister from the Chantry and fight for their right to freedom.
A mission acquired by a really frightened dwarf leads her to Fenris and like every damn time I play this game, I sigh every time I hear his voice. Seriously, I got a bad case of Talk To Me All Night Long. ♥ And again, I plan to romance that broody elf, until we come across a dashing, sarcastic and awesome lady who can perfectly handle herself.
Ah, Isabela. I never intended for it to happen, but Adriene and Isabela have an immediate chemistry and I’m done for. I do have a favourite OT3 and this Hawke is so going to have it – but ingame, we’ll play the Isabela romance. We of course help her with her duel and are overexcited when she decides to hang around.
Afterwards, we take Bethany and Aveline to fulfill our promise to Flemeth and go meet the Dalish.And there she is, Merrill, bloodmage and awesomeness. She comes with us, despite clearly being unhappy about having to leave but determined nonetheless. Adriene is very concerned about her when she has to leave her in the Alienage but promises to come by often.
And now that we have all companions together (apart from Sebastian who will join us in Act 2), the long run to gather 50 sovereigns begins. And the collecting of premonitions. The first and one of the more mind-blowing ones is directly when we go with Merrill to do the requested ritual for Flemeth.
“Do you know who I am beyond that title?”, Flemeth asks and I sit there, waving about frantically. Even that she asks this means there are elves who DO know! Also, the first thing Marethari, the Keeper, says after we tell her how we came by the amulet is that she prays to Mythal to keep us save. Damn, the irony. Or knowledge?
We also meet a noble dwarf named Harimond. Who tells us that Bhelen did not stop at killing Lord Harimond after we made him king but continued to kill the whole family down to the babies and every distant cousin. He is the last survivor, fleeing from the Carta who is out to kill him. I as a player feel really bad about it and Hawke feels for him because he lost his whole family. His WHOLE family. That is something she can relate to – even though she does not yet know how much she will relate to it in the near future…
We find a letter from Avernus who is still experimenting with the Taint and forward his findings to the Wardens (DAO headcanon expanded UHAHA!)
And of course, unknown to the player who first plays this game, we meet and set the basics for the big things to come.
Say hello to Elthina, the Arishok and Samson.
And Adriene cannot resist giving, especially the Arishok, a little bit of sass.
The whole first Act was surprisingly hard for me to connect to. With DAO, I never looked so much into the Dragon Age Wikia just to see who will react to what in what way. Here, as I know that many important quests are only started with a certain amount of approval (especially personal quests), I have a strong need to “appeal” to certain companions and I feel myself way more calculating who I want to take to the friendship or the rivalry path. This makes my gameplay less intuitive and more calculating and I’m not sure I like it. Next up is the Deep Roads expedition and I’m still unsure who to take with me. I do hope that the more personal touch to the next Act makes it easier for me to connect to Hawke’s story on a personal level.
Pro tip if the looking up stuff annoys you too much: Do whatever you want and in case of emergency use the console. There is a debug dialogue wheel whee you manually can set friendship and rivarly
Other than that, if you do all quests and do not take obvious ppl with you who will disprove (Like don’t take Fenris to Shepherding Wolves or Ser Thrask’s quests if you help mages etc) there is usually enough approval/rivalry to go around to forgive mistakes there.
Plus some of the rivalry friendships are just as good. (Isabela and Merrill for instance)
You’re right, I forgot about the console!
In one playthrough I didn’t have enough friendship points with Isabela, and she did not return with the book (Crying shame, that. I soo love that scene. Pure “Han Solo” and one of the reasons I love Isabela so much.). So I became a little paranoid concerning the friendship/rivalry points it my next and most recent playthrough.
Good to know that you can use the console.