The over the top combat animations are what make it so cool. It didn't feel as horribly static as DA:O, it didn't feel as if it was just static numbers and health bars, I felt more involved and for the most part, you can't really just mash X to success, you need some form of strategy and management, especially with combat being faster now. Like those assassin lieutenant guys, try facing those by just mashing X. I would have liked more strategy option from the synchronizing the abilities of different party members window, but otherwise it was solid and fun, with room for improvement however.
And now, for the story:
If we're gonna call deaths a dramatic cliche/trope, that pretty much qualifies for most of every book, game, movie there is. Hawke isn't some magical hero with the answers. Hawke is just trying to look do the best he can with what he's given, he's a product of circumstance, he was there at the right time at the right place, or the wrong time at the wrong place depending on how you look at it. You can see that within the framed narrative, how often Cassandra is surprised at things like Hawke not knowing what was in The Deep Roads, how he didn't plan for an entire Qunari uprising to cease power. That's the case with act 1 and act 2. One of the things Varric points out at the end tt is The Champion was more or less an accessory, Hawke can't save the city, now matter what he does or tries to do. A prime example of this is the entirety of act III. You don't get a third choice, you can't fight off hordes of Templars and Mages and save the city, other people in this world make decisions, they shape the world aswell. Its personal in that it's a self contained political struggle, not a world shattering quest of epic proportions. It's definitely a far cry from DA:O's typical fantasy story with reskinned orcs.
Also been playing Assassin's Creed III, horribly underrated entry and probably my favorite in the franchise. I love the setting, the plot, the characters, the gameplay was improved *combat still sucks though*, the graphics, the world, naval.