Despite the minor grievance that BioWare has gone for another round of release date DLC, which tends to annoy the hell out of veteran fans and newcomers alike, Dragon Age 2 is still a must-buy if you enjoyed previous instalments of the series, or even if you have any interest in RPGs whatsoever.

In stores now, (to be released March 11 in Europe) Dragon Age 2 puts you firmly in the rugged boots of Hawke, latest and greatest champion to put himself (or herself, if you so choose) up to save Thedas again from the evil machinations of a relentless tide of demons, Darkspawn, dragons and other assorted beasties who won’t just let the land lie still!

If you haven’t been preparing for the launch of one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2011, you can bring yourself up to speed with the three class options available to you in your quest for blood soaked glory.

Whether you pick Mage, Warrior or Rogue, you’re in for a hell of a ride. As the launch trailer shows, Dragon Age 2 seems to have lost none of the intricacy or savage beauty of Dragon Age: Origins and its expansion, Awakening. If anything, it has increased in pace and overall the new combat mechanics have been executed with poise and precision.

Some immediate cosmetic changes will not sit well with everyone. RPG traditionalists may miss the opportunity to dictate the entire makeup of their onscreen avatar, as they are forced to stick with the human Hawke. However, Hawke’s sex is a choice that remains in the player’s hands, as BioWare clearly hopes to recreate the success of the legendary Mass Effect character Commander Shepard, whom players could choose to be male or female at their discretion.

Similarly, not everybody will be a fan of the more fluid style of combat, as shown by some of the feedback on BioWare’s recent release of the Dragon Age 2 demo. Still, minor issues of contention aside, so far Dragon Age 2 looks and feels stunning. My heartfelt plea: if you liked Origins, pick this up, it delivers.

Stay tuned to Gnews for a fuller review of the game once I’ve had time to properly get acquainted with it, which should not take overly long!