I'll start this review off by confessing I'm a huge fan of Dragon Age: Origins for the XBox 360. Needless to say, when the inevitable sequel was announced I waited impatiently for the release of Dragon Age II. Unfortunately, the game is a massive disappointment.
One of the great features about the first game was the interactions with your party. In Dragon Age II, you can only have conversations with party members at their "residences"...and only a couple of times a chapter. The interactions were key to the first game because you actually ended up caring about the other characters: Alistair, Leliana, etc. Playing Dragon Age II, I couldn't care less about Fenris, Merrill and the rest. A good example of "fixing" what wasn't broken by the developers.
The game environments are terribly derivative. Most of the story takes place around one city. The caves and mountains you do explore are recycled from one mission to the next. It gets really repetitive after a while. Equipment management has also regressed. You can no longer equip your party with armor but instead find upgrades for each individual. Again, this is an unnecessary step back from the original game. And the combat is same over and over. Most of the time I felt the computer was just throwing wave after wave of enemies in an attempt to just where my party down by attrition as opposed to anything resembling AI skill.
Finally, the story leaves a lot to be desired. If you're looking for a "save the world" type story, look elsewhere. The story here revolves what amounts to politics in one city and never once did I wonder why I should care.