One thing I could say I wasn't a huge fan of for Dragon Age: Origins was the artwork. While it wasn't horrible, it did possess a slight generic fantasy feeling, which made some cutscenes in the game lose a lot of their impact because I was too busy thinking "how many townsfolk look like one another?"
BioWare is set to repair that problem by creating a more distinct artistic flair for Dragon Age 2. Judging how early gameplay looks graphically, it's not entirely impressive, the game itself is another story; it thankfully looks pretty good.
As you can see above, the races all have a more individual characteristic about them and don't just look like differently built human forms with small changes. However, Dragon Age 2 will be doing away with character creation to focus on a very distinct main hero, who is human. Leaving the remainder of the NPCs, humans included, to look a little more different than their prequel's counterparts.
The design work looks very good, though, elves still a little took much like humans for my liking, but hey, what can you do? Elves are lame, anyway. Also noticeable is the change of the Qunari, the race of people that Sten (one of the NPCs) came from, which is the most dramatic change of art from the previous game. Sten, being the only Qunari you encountered in the game, didn't look too much like another race, and rather a giant human. A welcome change, and definitely a big one.
Dragon Age 2 is shaping up to be a much more pretty game than it's predecessor and that's something very acceptable to me, I'm very much wondering on the entire art design philosophy on the game and would love to know more.