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Dragon Age: Origins takes place in the country Ferelden. This is on the continent Thelas. The world is, roughly speaking, similar to the fantasy setting of the books of The Lord Of The Rings. So you have people like dwarves, elves and various evil beings. At the beginning of the game you choose a character. You choose a human, elf or dwarf, and adjust the face and hair of him or her. Also choose a class, namely the warrior, mage or thief. Based on this choice you can choose 1 or 2 background stories. This choice is especially important for the first 1 to 1.5 hours of the game. In total there are six of these aperture settings, making the different for some else to play. One example is an elf. You can choose to play as a elf with a background as a nomad travelling around or an elf who lives as a slave in the city.
Dragon Age: Origins looks rather old-fashioned. It looks like all the Middle Ages. You can find some stones and wooden settlements in the world. You visit frozen ruins, a castle, dark caves, dangerous forests, etc. By means of a map can be reasonably travel freely between these locations. So you can largely choose where you first go and often you can also revert to an earlier location. These sites can be populated with enemies, but also normal people where you can accept assignments, trade with or get information.
A major difference between the PC and console versions is the camera. On the console version, the camera is behind your character. The PC version you can also do this, but the camera is above you, and you can also zoom in and out. The PC version has for me a better view during battles. You start with a single character, but you'll meet several characters who for various reasons want to go with you. Some may refuse you now or later, only one character is always with them during the story. You can take up to four characters at once when you are on the go. The rest sit in the waiting room. You can choose who you take with you, but a good balance between mage, warrior and thief and a character from 1 of these three classes is useful.
You can change the game play in various modes. With the easiest mode it is possible that you focus especially on your own character and let the computer automatically control allies to do their thing. Harder settings require more tactics. First you have to choose what a character who you do not control can't or can do during the game. For example you can say that a magician should always keep his distance and a magician can also be set as a healer and a warrior should be more aggressive.
You have mainly traditional weapons such as swords, clubs, knives and bows and arrows. Magicians sometimes use staffs. A good mix of weapons for near and far is recommended, though any character sets carry two types of weapons. For protection, various types of armor can be found or purchased, but also lighter clothing such as a garment care. The fighting may well be chaotic, because you will sometimes have about 20 enemies against you. Especially the little magician with life energy and little protective clothing can quickly die.
There are several types of enemies in the Dragon Age world, like bandits from the different races can come, but also demonic creatures, skeletons, ghosts, dragons and giant spiders. These enemies have their strengths and weaknesses, such as sensitivity to heat, ice, etc. This allows you to choose the right weapons and items to defeat an enemy. Some enemies are fairly easy, others difficult.
Dragon Age: Origins is more than just fighting. Whole sections of the game you're talking. Unfortunately the main character during the dialogues does not use his own voice, but you see in the form of texts several options. These options are very noble or even malicious. Also your speech skill affects the dialogues with the characters in the world. Choices you take during the dialogues, can affect parts of the story, as if some characters no longer want to be with you if you're too evil. On the other hand, your characters fall in love, while another character then gets jealous.
Besides the main story there are several small stories you find particularly by exploring the world. They can provide hours of extra playing time. Around 50 hours in total you can play this game I would say. Since the game can be replayed with a different race, background and style of play you can easily play the game again and again.
It took years before I finally bought Dragon Age: Origins. The game has a good and compelling story, with good dialogues with the characters which can affect the story. I noticed that I often used the same characters because they are more my style with their skills. There are some minor setbacks. So the world looks a bit old, but fortunately diverse. I had also wanted the main character had a voice during the dialogues. Also I find that sometimes you have to fight too long or dialogues are too long. Overall four stars.
Dragon Age:Origins is made by the Bioware team who are also renowned for their other games which are in a similar style (Knights of the old republic, Mass Effect, Jade Empire). These are all accomplished RPG/Adventure games with fantastic storytelling so there was high expectations for Dragon Age:Origins.
The "Origins" part of the game title refers to the fact that you can choose from a variety of characters from the off, these include Elves, Dwarves, Mage, Noble and more. You will start the introductory part of your "Origins" story finding out the background of your chosen character. This helps you to relate more to the character you have chosen and also helps you immerse yourself into the story.
As well as choosing your Origin there are the usual other RPG elements such as your class/sex/abilities/etc to choose from and as you level up you will be able to increase various stats and abilities along the way, which is the usual RPG fare. As you progress through the story you will have other characters join your group which come in various guises such as a War Hound, Elven Assassin (Rogue), Golem and more. These in turn can be controlled by the player as well as leveled up in turn. As you can see you have a huge amount of control over your own individuality and experience in this game.
The game play is in the standard Adventure/RPG style and if you have played a Bioware game before you will feel instantly familiar and at home with this set up. Essentially there is one main story that you progress through via a set amount of quests. These are varied so it never feels monotonous and the story is very well written and draws you in from the off. There are also numerous side quests that you can get involved in that are given out by various NPC's (Non-Player Characters) that are dotted around the various locations.
Combat is passable in my opinion, there are a vast array of baddies to slay and they all have varied styles of attack. You characters have numerous different abilities, spells and weapons to use but it all feels slightly hectic and "loose". I lost count the amount of times my character would end up stuck in amongst the throng of on screen mayhem, unable to attack because they were trying to reach another enemy. There is a neat little tactics section that you can utilise for the characters that you are not in direct control of. Essentially it is a set amount of rules for them to perform before anything else. For example "attack the enemy with the highest health" or "use a potion when your health is below 25%". It can get a lot more in depth but i have known people to go through the game without touching this so is not a necessity.
Now for the big drawback, Dragon Age is AWFUL to look at, it would not look out of place on a PS2 system and falls down badly with draw distance and graphical pop ups. I am reviewing the PS3 version which is widely thought of as the best looking version but it is woefully bad and completely under par compared to Bioware's other games. It does not detract from the game itself and is not a complete deal breaker but it is always noticeable and you cant help thinking that it could always do with a bit more polish.
Overall it is a great story driven RPG that will give you many hours of fun. I purposefully haven't given too much of the story away as feel this is something that needs to be experienced first hand to get the greatest enjoyment. The biggest let down is the "previous generation" graphics but on the face of it this is a minor blip on a fantastic game that should be owned by any RPG fan.
Dragon Age: Origins, in my opinion, is the best RPG out there. Lemme tell you my reasons.
The minute you start Dragon Age: Origins story, you will be plunged into the start of an unique origin that depends on your character's race. Each of the 6 origin stories will have an impact on the rest of the story, like your Human Noble can become king/queen, or your Dwarf can become a Paragon of his people.
Each of the major decisions can end completely different from each other, depending on the ending, some people may die, and maybe no one will. Depending on who you put on the throne will alter the ending. Not all of the choices will have as much impact as the next, but even some of the side quests have a result in the end.
The story is about you, one of only two Grey Wardens - a group of skilled warriors that are the only ones that can stop the Blight - must gather and army starting from nothing except a few ancient treaties to different races, with the only other Warden, named Alistair who like you, just joined. Each of the major quests are almost like individual mini stories, but you never loose track of the full story and what you doing. As you go along in the story, different companions join your quest. Although a couple of them are obvious, some are not. If you have no idea who they are, you may accidentally kill one, or not give a second thought to another. Also, this is the only RPG where I actually like the whole party.
This is a pause-and-play RPG on a console. That said, the combat is well done. X is your basic attack, while , /, and O, along with R2+those buttons serve as 6 special ability short-cuts. This works very well for Warriors and Rouges, but it doesn't work quite as well for mages. Mages will have dozens of spells before the end, and only having 6 of them for quick use is a little annoying. But, you can still pause the gameplay and select which spell/talent you want to use.
Unfortunately, DA:O gets really easy after about halfway though. Even on nightmare, a well-built Warden will mow though the enemies. That's about the only compliant I have about the gameplay.
Upgrading is just as fun as you would expect, getting new talents and feeling your Warden become more powerful is thrilling. You'll get 3 attribute points, 1 talent, and every 3 levels(2 for Rouges) you will get a skill point. Skill points are used for things like making potions, poisons, traps, etc. The gameplay section of DA:O, like the story, is fantastic.
As great as the other parts of DA:O are, the console versions have very lackluster graphics. The PC has great graphics, but I'm not reviewing that version.
Some of the character models look good, mostly your Warden and party, but some of the NPCs look bad. Like the character models, the environments go from good to bad. The citys, especially Orzammar, look good. However, the caves, like the Deep roads are especially lacking.
The voice acting in Dragon Age sits with the best of it. All of the party sounds believable and the NPCs sound good too. The battles and sword clanging have an epic sound to them.
Dragon Age: Origins is an incredible RPG, and my favorite RPG ever. With a great story, addicting gameplay, and believable voice acting, its easy to look past some of the uglier graphical moments.
I originally got Dragon Age: Origins over a year ago and played it once thought it was terrible, never played it, until now that is, I have started playing it again and have now realised how good of a game it is. It is well put together and is by far Ubisoft's best fantasy RPG, the beautiful thing about this game is how much the player chooses via dialogue options.
Dragon Age: Origins is a third-person RPG set in a mythical continent called Thedas, more precisely Ferelden, this mythical continent contains three races; elves, dwarves and humans, along with the usual mythical creatures such as dragons and golems. At the beginning of the game you choose one of 3 classes; a rogue, a warrior or a mage and one of 6 origin stories which change the first 2-4 hours depending on the origin story you choose, these also act as a training stage that teaches the basics of your character and abilities, these origins can also affect what happens later in the story. After you complete your origin story you are recruited by a group of legendary band of soldiers called the "Grey Wardens," they have been re-grouped to drive back the darkspawn that are ordered by the archdemon these come with that come with the blight.
The graphics in the game are very good, the detail to the environment is very good and the locations are very well done. The characters faces are refined very well but the faces and body language can sometimes lag a bit to the game but it is copable considering the rest of the game is just amazing.
You progress through the game doing the story quests and optional side-quests that can give you weapons, armour and experience points to help you to achieve your final goal, which is to kill the archdemon and drive back the darkspawn. Through-out the game you attain party members that will fight with you through the story, there is also possibility to have a 'relationship' with them if you get their attitude towards you good enough. There is a lot of dialogue through-out the game and as your character doesn't have a voice you have to choose all the dialogue options for him, which can get a bit tedious over time, but the decisions you make effect the outcome of the game in some way. There are also multiple endings. Also, if you export your character over Dragon Age: II decisions you made in the first game are referenced in the second game.
The fighting style on this game is a different kind of fighting that I am usually used to on most RPGs but it is easy to get used to, you have 3 spells or talents hot spotted to a button; X, circle or triangle and another 3 hot spotted to the same buttons but with you holding down R2 at the same time. But any time during the game, except for cutscenes and dialogue options. You can access the radial menu which gives you full access to all of your potions, traps, poisons, inventory and spells/talents, by holding defaultly L2, you can change this in the options menu to set it to just pressing it and keeping the radial menu up. In Dragon Age: Origins there is also a levelling system which involves the character getting a certain amount of experience points either from killing enemies, finding items or completing quests, you get a specialisation point to spend on a specialisation point to spend on a specialisation every few levels I believe, 3 points to spend on either, Strength, Dexterity, Willpower, Magic, Cunning and Constitution or playing there part in the skill of your character. Every 2 levels with rogues and every 3 levels with warriors and mages you get a skill point to spend which are the same for every class just some are more specific to other classes. Spells for mages and talents for warriors and rogues, they gain 1 point to spend on a specific talent or spell every time they level up the mages spells include ones for parties weapons, the mages or parties own defense or attack, health or mana regeneration for the mage or party,damaging the enemy or crippling them, while talents range from passive where they are constantly activated benefiting the character, activated where you activate (obviously) to injure an enemy or sustained where your character receives benefits for a certain time period. The level cap is level 25.
The game can be completed in roughly 35+ hours depending on the person and if they complete all side-missions, sorry I can't give a better approximation then this, it is just too varied.
My personal thoughts of this game is that it is a brilliant game and is a must-have for all RPG enthusiasts. For beginners it is a very good game to start becoming a fan of an RPG as it contains virtually everything you expect from an RPG and I believe it has all the features of an RPG you could possibly want. The game has an extremely long story and a lot of replay value as you can try to get trophies, try to complete it with another class or origin and different attainable characters. The only real problem is that the dialogue can make you want to skip a lot of it and not enjoy the story and also the travelling to different locations can be tedious as well. But in general, this game is fantastic and I am ashamed I haven't played it before now.