Already I am noticing what a different experience it is from the first time I played through. For one thing, since this time around I am playing as a mage (rather than a rogue like the last time), that means I start out with a different companion character.
|This spoiler brought to you by the Desire Demon.|
Your character of Hawke starts out fleeing from the destruction of Lothering (a key event in the first game) with your mother and two younger siblings, twins named Bethany and Carver. Bethany is a mage and Carver is a warrior. As you flee Lothering, one of your siblings is killed by an ogre. Which one depends on the class you choose for your character. As a rogue or warrior, you will need a mage in your party, so it is your brother Carver that bites the big one. That is how I played it last time. But as a mage, you don't need to start out with two, and so it is Bethany that dies. Thus, I am now playing this through with Carver, a character I am not really familiar with at all. So that adds a level of new to things for me.
Also, at the start of the game, to get into Kirkwall, which is overflowing with refugees from the Blight, you need to agree to spend a year working for someone who will bribe the guards to let you in. The first time around I don't remember there being a choice between two different employers, but apparently there is. You can either work for the smugglers or for the mercenaries. Last time I ended up with the mercenaries, so this time I figured, hey why not be different? So I went with the smugglers. That hasn't had hugely divergent repercussions as of yet, just small deviations. But remembering back to my last time through, I suspect as the game goes on it will lead to some very different encounters down the road. I look forward to finding out what they may be!
Another nifty little detail that I didn't get last time is how my current character is tied to my character from the first game. In my initial playthrough, my Hero of Ferelden (as your character from game one is referred to in game two) was an elf. In game two you can only play a human (it was a story-telling choice the designers made), so if your first character wasn't also human obviously there's no real connection there. It wasn't anything that ever occurred to me to think about the first time around. But since I played a human in my recent replay, and am a human in game two as well, they throw in the detail that Hawke, the soon-to-be Champion of Kirkwall, is actually related to the Hero of Ferelden. Dude! That's pretty nifty. We're second cousins or something. It's a nice little detail that doesn't really affect anything about how you play but still helps tie things together a bit better.
Then there is the bonus content. You may remember that initially, I forgot to actually install the bonus content until I was almost done with the game! That bonus content included an additional companion character, so I never really got to know Sebastian at all last time around. Now, I can actually get the chance to see if I like him or not, yay! Also, I will get to take advantage of the Black Emporium throughout the entire game, which should be pretty spiffing.
Of course, there is the biggest difference at all. On a whim, I decided (for pretty much the first time ever) to play not as a girl, but as a (gasp!) guy.
|Perrin Hawke, mage.|
I am not quite sure what this is going to mean for my character romantically yet. I was kind of thinking of romancing Merrill. I felt like I neglected her last time, and since then have found out/realized she is voiced by Torchwood's awesome Eve Myles. Also, she seems like she might be the best match for my mage. Part of me thinks romancing Fenris would be a worthwhile challenge, but another part of me thinks that it would be more trouble than it is worth trying to win over the mage-hating elf. I am going to try to hold off on flirting with anyone until I get a better idea of the characters this time around, methinks. Oddly enough, while I had no problem sticking with the "smartass" dialogue options with my lady Hawke (hee hee, Ladyhawke), for some reason I don't think my guy can, or maybe should, go the same route. So I have been sticking with the "nice guy" options instead. That is going to drastically affect my relationships with the other characters, I suspect.
Overall though, I am definitely enjoying this second go-around! Such a freaking fun game! The differences are making it even more interesting, and I am really glad to be getting the chance to experience them. I cannot wait to see how they make things play out.
Don't forget, Friday means new Gronk! Looks like Harli isn't so much down with the house guest. Swing by and check out the new installment. It will give you a happy, and who doesn't like that?