• Dragon Age: Origins

    The Basics
    Dragon Age is a 3rd person RPG by Bioware, following on from Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights. Medieval setting, party of four, story, exploration and combat with the possibility of pausing during combat to task actions to each of the party.

    The Good
    The story is one of the best I have ever encountered in a game. Choices you make impact the story and the characters in your party. Some games present you with goodie/baddie options that are distinctive. The choices here are less transparent and impact different personalities in your party.

    There is a fair bit of dialogue and although I normally skip through that aspect as fast possible, I found myself intrigued by what the characters had to say and the choices I was presented with. The voice-overs are pretty good and I am sure a fair chunk of the 15GB installation is for sound files. Whilst you are wandering around, characters in your party will talk to each other and the banter is amusing.

    I like the system of a codex where lots of history is written into the game but relegated to a place where you access it only if you are interested. I didn't spend much time in the codex and lost a few minor quests through not reading info in time.

    You get good game time for your money. I think I played about 60hrs doing most of the side quests. If you are thorough, I guestimate around 80-90hrs for a play through.

    The Bad

    There were a few frustrations, mainly triggered by party control and camera angle. Each party member has tactical options that come with a preset. You are able to edit the tactics and whilst the tactical options are impressive, I found them impractical (lots of swearing as they run off to die without consent) in most instances and disabled them. Whilst it slows the game down a bit, I found it better to use the pause option during combat than the tactical presets.

    Camera control also produced a few expletives. For open areas there are no problems whatsoever. You can, after a bit of practice, pan around easily. But, as soon as there are tall buildings/mountains/trees in the picture there are problems, particularly when you are being targeted by ranged weapons and you simply cannot return fire because the camera angle to view the enemies is unavailable. There were several battles where I had to run all my characters closer to see who I was fighting and return fire.

    Eye Candy (Hello Paul)

    Graphically the game is a mixed bag. Rendering of characters is decent but the scenery is quite simple. I appreciated the facial animations of characters as they spoke, it was more seamless than previous RPG's, but overall, nothing to write home about.


    Pretty good. I liked the rate at which the characters level up as each time it creates new fighting options in the quick slot bar at the bottom of the screen. Given that you can choose 3 of the 4 (the fixed character is you) in the group, and that each character comes with a different skill set, the options are diverse. In the end I favoured a group with 2 mages and 2 warrior types and focused on mastering their skill sets rather than changing often. The combat dynamics are very similar to NWN2 and drawn from previous RPG's rather than breaking new ground. Its not a bad thing, but don't expect something different.


    Pretty forking good. Nothing revolutionary in terms of an RPG, you have the same bad guys and flaming swords in a medieval setting but what Bioware have done is produce a finished game that is both intriguing and entertaining. Its immersive and addictive and the only noticeable bug, after 60hrs or so, was a minor quest that should have closed. (It may be that I still had a task to do but this was not evident. ) If you enjoy RPG's then you will enjoy Dragon Age. Get it, but make sure you have a few weeks to lose yourself in it.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Dragon Age: Origins started by Megageth View original post

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