Gamasutra - Can A Good Game Be A Bad Sequel?
Gamasutra has an "analysis" titled Can A Good Game Be A Bad Sequel? Dragon Age 2 is one of the titles considered, hence our interest. Personally, they missed the mark on the issue but here's a snip after looking at several reviews that suggested DA2 wasn't "epic":
That word, "Epic," is a common feature of these reviews. But what does "epic" even mean? The word has less meaning than ever now that the internet has driven it to become a new synonym for "awesome," but it's safe to assume that these writers are talking about something more precise, a feeling of "epic-ness" that's associated closely with fantasy literature.
Dragon Age 2 zeros in on the rise to power of an individual over the course of many years in a centralized location, which is not an uncommon setup for a fantasy series, or at least its first hundred pages. That is the more or less the route that Dragon Age Origins took with its opening sections.
They're not just talking about an epic feeling, but a very specific kind of epic feeling, that's not measured just by depth or scale but by an adherence to a quest-narrative, a sense of world-saving purpose and scope -- Dragon Age 2 ends just as its scope widens to an acceptably epic breadth.
Dragon Age 2 was still well reviewed, but it seems that this sense of scope was something both critics and fans felt was an integral part of what made Dragon Age what it was, and the gap between the scores of both games. This certainly doesn't make Dragon Age 2 a bad game, but it does make it an inferior sequel. This isn't a gameplay consideration or a writing consideration, but a consideration of theme.