DA2 has an ending which offered no resolution. I.E., was not an ending at all.
It offered an ending to the Kirkwall conflict, which the more 'important' storyline was about. What was left open was it's influence on the rest of DA's world.
It was not influenced by the character in the slightest.
Yes, your character could not influence how a very long-lasting conflict between sides numbering thousands turned out. Of course he couldn't, how could a single person do such a thing? That's what I liked about it. And 'to the slightest' bit is untrue - you couldn't influence how it panned out, but you could influence small things about it.
It applied only some minor window dressing based on party selection.
Huh? I genuinely don't understand what you just said.
It offered you no reason to give a %&* about your family to begin with. Like, really, they (or *she* rather, because you only have 1 family member) can go ahead and die already.
It gave enough reason to me. Also, funny bit: Based on whether you choose male or female, your brother or your sister survives. And they have about ... 4 endings or so by themselves each, based on your decisions, which by what you say don't influence anything. Funny that.
If you are going to replace the grand epic with this kind of narrative, how about spending more than an hour developing these characters (or this one character) that I'm supposed to love so much?
Fairly personal. I have found most of the characters in this game to be fairly well developed, and really, really like them. Maybe the writing style just wasn't your cup of tea, maybe you were just biased by the changes from DA:O that you didn't see the game for what it was. As far as I'm concerned, however, the original DA: O was boring and I loved this one.
Most of this "saving your family" nonsense consists of running 5,000 meaningless "fetch" errands through the same recycled dungeons in order to collect a whole bunch of gold in order to go on a longer, but still quite short and still meaningless cave adventure in order to get back and find that nothing you do matters... like... at all.
Which has nothing to do with the story at all. If you want to draw comparisons, calling DA2 on it's fetch quests in comparison with Skyrim is not a good idea :-P
I'll just skip a few more personal bits of your post, and skip to:
Oh, and gameplay lasts about 20 hours, tops. And it has ZERO replayability.
It has as much replayability as generally loved, linear, Bioware RPGs. Story of many characters branches quite nicely, and you can influence a lot. Also, Hawke's an awesome protagonist.
Honestly though, I consider it the most disappointing gaming experience I've ever had. Ever.
It's as if they took DA:O and said "how can we remove everything that was cool about this and still slap on the same price tag?"
I think this is the problem with majority of DA2 criticism. People were generally unable to get over the changes it made from DA: O. And I can't blame them for that, it's really easy to see the differences. But what's important to me in an RPG is a good story and meaningful choices and consequences. DA: O felt ... Bland in this respect. DA 2 seemed like a huge step forward in this department.