A few years back, I bought a slew of Bioware games for dirt cheap. By the time that I completed Dragon Age, I was thoroughly sick of Bioware games. Fast forward two years, and I finally felt up to playing Dragon Age 2.
It was a game, I played it, and what there was of it, well, it had a lot of it.
I'm not a fan of Bioware storytelling. I find the whole cinematic story a bridge too far for me. For crying out loud, drop the cut scenes and give me shit to fight, OK? Fortunately, I learned the use of the ESC key to grind through the cut scenes faster.
I finally learned what it was that annoyed me about the cut scenes. I think that they use novel writers to create the dialog, which I think is a pretty bad idea. You do want the novel writers creating the story and the world, but when it comes to dialog, if you want a cinematic story, you need SCREENWRITERS. If Bioware ever gets smart enough to hire halfway decent screenwriters, those cut scenes might become worth watching.
The story itself follows a rags-to-riches structure. Hawke and family, fleeing from war, come as refugees to the city. Here, Hawke, a person of no particular character, advances through the city ranks through butchery of everyone else's foes. After enough butchery, she rises in status, and a new chapter of the story unfolds, with all the same heartless butchery as the previous chapter.
Apathy. That's what best describes the first act. I went though all the adventures with total apathy. With chapter two, apathy was replaced with disgust. By the time that I ended that chapter, I wanted to walk out of that city and let the place burn to the ground. It deserved it. Chapter three was just annoying, and I that I wanted to do was to board a boat with Tits, the Pirate Girl, who is most notable for her huge and well displayed tits, and Jugs, my sister, and leave the town in ruins, a victim of its own turpitude.
Your supporting party would have been better played by a slate of characters without any personality at all, as that would have beaten the annoying and irritating personalities that they were given. In short, they each deserved to be abandoned to their fates. It's only because you got almost free XP from helping them that you actually bothered helping them at all.
A major plot thread centers around the conflict between the mages and the Templars, the military mage herders. To say that each was institutionally stupid understates the pure strains of stupidity driving a wedge between the groups. It seems that mages can use demons to make themselves strong, and the only way to defeat them is by organizing into a group and not fighting them one-on-one. Given that the Templars can kick a wizard's ass, its doesn't seem that wizards should even be a problem, and yet, they are to be feared without limit. So naturally, the Templars stick all the mages together into one place, because that's safer, right? Right?
In my imagination, I walked out of the game at the end of Act 2. In truth, I took the game to the end, fought the final battle, then went to bed without thinking about the ending at all. At this point, the ending is already hazy, which shows you how important the ending was.