Bioware is known for providing classic role-playing game experiences with titles such as Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur’s Gate, and Mass Effect. And with Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware cements its reputation further and creates a RPG with size and scale far beyond any other game in the genre. Dragon Age has an extremely rich plot providing gameplay spanning over several hours. And you will want to come back again and again to its beautiful world.
Dragon Age is a traditional party-based tactical RPG where you command a party of four characters having different abilities. You can assign actions and spells to each party member by pausing the game and issuing orders. Dragon Age provides a ton of customization without a level cap, so you can take two characters with the exact same background and develop them in completely different ways. The game offers a very good tactical AI editor that lets you set some basic if/else scenarios allowing you to manually issue commands to your entire group.
DA:O is set in the world of Ferelden. Ferelden is your traditional fantasy setting populated by elves, dwarves, and humans. There are a lot of subtle touches here and there that make this world all so unique. You start off as a newly minted Grey Warden, the newest recruit of an ancient warrior caste. Depending upon which character you select in the start, you’ll play one of six origin stories in the first hour of the game. The way the different aspects of the origins are referenced help make the world feel like a more cohesive place. This and some other unique gameplay elements make separate playthroughs feel decidedly unique.
Throughout the game you’ll be presented with tough scenarios where none of the options at hand seem particularly good or evil, leaving you to choose what may seem like merely the least evil choice. Dragon Age frequently presents you with options that can radically change events. Certain choices have longer-lasting impacts while some can alter the overall story. The combat in Dragon Age is where the game feels closest to its RPG roots having classic pause-and-command gameplay. The game’s boss fights are quite long and tough requiring proper management. Combat may have been simplified, but it’s offset with extremely long fights.
Dragon Age: Origins is a difficult game that requires patience and strategy. You can combine different spells and abilities with devastating effects e.g. casting a spell to freeze approaching monsters and having your warriors smash the creatures into pieces. You’ll need to cleverly mix these different combinations in order to succeed. You can always change the difficulty of a particular quest if you find it really hard. In addition to being tough DA:O is also quite long and your first outing can last as far as 50 hours. In general, the main quest is well-written. The choices you’ll make regarding certain party members and multiple endings add to game’s replay value.
The radial menu in the console version is similar to Mass Effect while PC version of Dragon supports a classic hotbar configuration. The console versions certainly aren’t bad, but PC version by far is the better one. It looks significantly better than the console versions. Dragon Age: Origins reminds of good old days of PC role-playing epics. This is definitely not the game for those frightened of the idea of micromanaging a game to a great deal of extent. Ultimately it’s a fantasy RPG that will keep you up late at night because you have to see what happens next. Dragon Age will sweep you up in its world and when you are done, you’ll still be left wanting more.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Great voice-acting. Fun combat. Incredible storytelling. Amazingly detailed world.
Not the best looking game. Sluggish interface.
Deep story and character development help Dragon Age set the bar real high for the RPG genre.