Repost: Dragon Age: Origins Review
While I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore RPG fan and usually stick to titles that I’m more familiar with; when I began Dragon Age: Origins, I found myself immersed in the deep storyline.
Bioware is known for excellent RPG games, and they haven’t disappointed with Dragon Age: Origins. The huge amount of side quests extend the life of the game and learning about the world itself is a lot of reading, but those who want to know everything about the world will be able to.
The game begins by creating and customizing the character that will be used for the entirety of the journey through Dragon Age: Origins. The three possible races are Human, Elf, and Dwarf. A nice side note is that the Elf race are considered second class citizens rather than the elegant and awe inspiring race of other fantasy stories.
The beginning of the game is determined by the race chosen as each race has their own introduction stories. My choice was human as it would be the most standard for my first run through the game. Customization can take a long time depending on how specific the appearance of the character. After completing the customization, a character class is chosen which will determine how the combat and exploring will function. Choosing the Rogue was my first choice for the stealth abilities along with lock picking, a skill I have always found useful.
When the game presents the main story quests after the introductory quest, Dragon Age: Origins becomes a fragmented journey that slowly pieces itself together through the completing of the main quests. Each hour spent in the game presents history of the world through codexs (found throughout the world) and conversations with NPC characters and party members. The codex contains a lot of information about the world of Dragon Age: Origins and many an hour can be spent learning about the years that lead to the present day of the game.
Quest completion varies, mainly on how familiar one is with the area that you are in and the amount of tasks that need to be completed. While the main quests are straightforward and involve an amount of dungeon crawling, the title does open with the multitude of side quests. Obviously these side quests are not mandatory to complete Dragon Age: Origins, but they do help level characters and some choice equipment can be attained. These side quests are also a nice diversion from the main story.
During quests, it helps to talk to party members and learn more about the quest currently in task and get a different perspective on it. Party members relationships to the main character are variable through the different decisions that are made. Those decisions come into play as the title progresses as well.
The world is fully realized as every NPC can be talked to and lots of information can be heard, persuaded from, or simply using intimidation could get the results that I wanted. Preparation for lots of listening and reading is necessary, but encounters are interesting through the personalities of every character in the game.
The combat of the game is interesting because it is a hack and slash with a good amount of tactical planning. The main character is controlled by you, utilizing a quick move menu, but also a pop-in options menu that contains all the talents, skills, and potions that are available. Positioning is also important because it can result in higher attack points. The other characters are blessed with a Tactics Set, where pre-determined situations will be answered with pre-determined moves.
In the Tactics Set, the amount of specification for situations is staggering because your party, enemies, classes, and even certain situations can be assigned. The secondary party member’s tactics set do need to be customized as the default actions work for most situations, but there were occasions when other members blindly ran off and died.
Depending on the character class, weapons and equipment will effect the abilities of the characters, but the dual wielding ability for warriors and rogues was a nice addition. Through experience leveling, new abilities and skills for all classes are learned which open up the combat to be more in your favor. And the Tactics Set also expands allowing for a large amount of actions.
The PlayStation 3 version did have some glitches in the game, nothing truly deal breaking; but when they occurred, it changed the experience of the title. An example of a large glitch was during a cutscene that replayed itself and had all the characters involved replaced with placeholder characters who also lacked any animation. The sound also cut out during some conversations which threw me off.
Visually, the title looks nice. The majority of characters all have distinct appearances and no one looks like a copy/paste. The animations of characters is also good, though movement does looks like characters are sliding over the surface rather than touching it. Combat animations are particularly enjoyable, especially when finishers are learned and beheading is possible.
As for the sound, Dragon Age: Origins is full of it. Not even considering the voice acting, the worlds in general all have a huge amount of ambient noise. Also environmental effects are in place, like inside the Dwarf hall, echoes during combat could be heard.
The DualShock 3 is very easy to use with the game as the hot buttons are assigned on the shoulders and most of the game is through the analog sticks and X. There are no complaints on the mapping of the controls.
Gameplay varies from swift combat situations to wandering underground, but unless completely lost; there is never a boring moment in Dragon Age: Origins. There is plenty to do like customizing character equipment and weapon sets, concocting potions and poisons, making traps, and trying make out with Morrigan. Bioware really gave a full package with Dragon Age: Origins, and with three races to choose from, there is a lot of replayability.
Some concessions should be made for Dragon Age: Origins since the amount of pure game is enormous. Bioware did well in fleshing out the story of the game. The problems were small, gameplay did take a little time to understand, and the dungeon crawling did get a little repetitive, but Dragon Age: Origins is a game that RPG aficionados shouldn’t miss, especially with the caliber of games that Bioware produces. It’s a good holiday title for those who have time off, but prepare for a long haul.
Review Copy Provided By Publisher