Dragon Age 2 features one of the ballsiest RPG stories in recent memory, what with the framed narrative, the more personal approach, and the complete lack of an epic world-saving goal. Therefore we should be forgiving of the story's many faults, which are the natural byproduct of this noble experiment.
We should, but where's the fun in that? Instead, let's take a look at campiest, most off-putting, illogical, and downright funny moments in the game - the moments that, in the parlance of our times, make you say "WTF?"
It probably goes without saying that this is chock-full of spoilers, but I'm going to say it anyway. Twice. Seriously, do not read this if you haven't played the game but plan to at some point.
Again, SPOILERS. Got it? OK...
1. The curiously unaffecting death of your sibling
I may be alone on this one, but can I also just say that it's weird that my character's class determines which sibling lives and which one dies? I call shenanigans on Bioware for altering the storyline based on metagame choices rather than in-character ones. In my book, that's cheating.
2. The year of living dangerously
3. Kirkwall's worst-kept secret
4. Nice work if you can get it
The cognitive dissonance of Aveline's moonlighting reaches a high point when she asks you to look into the concerns of a local conspiracy theorist so she "doesn't have to deal with it" (uh, you should know damn well by now that you're going with me, lady). Then, when Hawke and the Aveline reach said conspiracy theorist, he complains that the City Guard won't look into his claims. To which you respond: "Dude, the Captain of the Guard is standing right next to me!" Or you would, if the game let you.
5. Livin' large, Hawke-style
6. Merrill's really obviously horribly bad idea
Nah. Something bad happens. And though there is a different way to interpret it (maybe the Keeper was wrong to intervene), we've still reached that inevitable end that we've seen coming a mile away. The Merrill quest also features the worst dialogue wheel disconnect in the game, where selecting "I take responsibility" somehow results in Hawke badmouthing Merrill in front of her clan.
The Burrow, and recalling Kafka is not something that happens very often while playing videogames.
But the way Hawke's mom gets tied into this (literally) is a problem. For one thing, it's too much of a coincidence that the Champion of Kirkwall's mom becomes a victim because she happens to resemble a stereotypical maniac's dead wife. For another, see Item #1. There's no real connection with your mom because you don't get a chance to roleplay the relationship. Whatever the player feels from this scene is based on what he or she projects on it from real life - in other words, the whole thing is a rather cheap punch in the gut.
8. Companions going off the reservation
9. Orsino: A meltdown for the ages
The scenario: Hawke has just sided with the Circle Mages over the templars. The first wave of templars has been beaten back with no problem, and another is materializing before you - no big whoop. But for some reason, Orsino gets all worked up, reveals that he's been experimenting with blood magic, and transforms into demon that you have to kill in what turns out to be one of the game's most tedious battles. Obviously, Bioware didn't want to "waste" resources on a truly branching plot, so they came up with a way for you to fight both bosses. But as this episode shows, what makes sense from a project development point of view doesn't always work for the story.
10. It's a bird... it's a plane... it's a really bad plot device
It's almost as if Bioware woke up at some point and said "Holy shit, we need to make the final encounters more epic!" Thus the final boss Meredith is abruptly endowed with super powers, courtesy of the lyrium idol Hawke found earlier on the Deep Roads expedition (see, it's not completely random). Orsino's flipout is a little more understandable because he's a dirty mage, but the premeditated act of acquiring the idol seems a little out of character for a stern, anti-magic templar like Meredith. Granted, a certain amount of hand-waving is allowed in game plots, which have unique requirements. But in this case, what's going on is just a little too obvious.