Dragon Age Origins; Review

Most people I know that own any major gaming platform (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) have played Dragon Age; Origins at some point and everyone I’ve met says the same thing.

It’s amazing.

I’ve seen a few odd bad things said about it through different reviews but they’re but a small stain on the otherwise massive canvas. So, by and large, Dragon Age; Origins must have done a LOT of things right. My opinion? Yes, yes it did. It isn’t by any means a perfect game, but those don’t exist. So, I’m going to try and flesh out the good parts and the few bad parts to try and explain to people who haven’t played it while it’s such a worthwhile investment.

First up, and probably the thing that has the most impact; storyline. This game has a story that trumps almost all other RPGs I’ve played. The main story is compelling and you never find yourself bored with it. There are just enough twists to keep you entertained but not so many so that you expect them. Progression is well paced and enemies scale appropriately according to your level so you’re not over or underwhelmed. The 6 different backstories give the start real depth because it’s something you’ve chosen. It also gives the game replay value right from the off as people treat you differently throughout the game depending on what you chose. The sidequests can sometimes be a bit of a pain depending on what they are but most of them have good pacing with appropriate rewards at the end. Companion quests are extremely worthwhile and engrossing as it makes you realise that the characters you recruit had a life before they joined forces with you. It gives them a great sense of depth and thought. Overall, there isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to it’s story. It’s got everything it needs; nothing more and nothing less.

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Next up is combat. Combat is functional and flows smoothly enough, but can feel quite awkward sometimes considering if you click off and enemy your character will just stand about like an idiot. Your abilities have modest cooldowns as do the various poultices so when you’re in a tough battle you feel as though you’re actually being challenged as opposed to just constantly necking health poultices so you’re Mr./Mrs. Invincible. It’s not very fast-paced but it gets your heart pumping in other ways; suspense coupled with constantly checking up on your allies to make sure they’re coping alright. The combat might not be approaching warp-speed any time soon but it gives you plenty of time to deliberate on your options. Faster paced combat used in it’s ‘sequel’ (though I use the term loosely) Dragon Age 2 can sometimes make you panic and hit any old button, praying it works. Overall, it could be a bit faster and a bit more user-friendly, but it makes up for it in slightly less conventional areas.

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Then comes characters. You fall in love with them. Full stop. I can guarantee there will be at least one party member you come across who will capture your heart, romantically or otherwise. For me, it was every one of them. Even the merchant Bodahn who stays on the fringes of your camp has an extremely in-depth backstory for you to ask about if you choose to do so. Romances are believable and charming, and the gift system is extremely rewarding. Approval and disapproval is very well done; for example if you take a character who prefers immoral choices and a character that prefers moral choices then you make an immoral choice, you’ll earn approval from the character that prefers immoral and disapproval from the character that prefers moral. It’s a challenge to make everybody like you but it’s not impossible. Companion quests hold real sway for them as they almost always have personal items that will last you for at least the majority of the game. However, it’s their own individual personalities that sell it the best. Each character is different and unique. The voice actors are convincing too, sucking you in further. You care for them deeply by the end of the game and whenever something bad happens to them you feel it. It’s not often a game can do that to a person. There is absolutely, definitely no fault with the characters. There may be a few flaws here and there to some, but I can’t see any.

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The last thing I’ll touch on is soundtrack. The score for this game is amazing. Even the menu screen music captivated me for a good 5 minutes. I didn’t start the game until it’d finished. The amount of sheer effort gone into composing the music for this game is monumental and you can tell. It always suits the situation and the battle music changes depending on the severity of the enemy you’re facing. It can make you stressed out, but it compels you to do better. It makes you want to win. Some of the scores make your heart swell; sometimes with pride, sometimes with determination. For me, it was half of what kept me going when I’d face a strong opponent and they’d keep killing me over, and over…And over. I probably would’ve given up before long if I hadn’t heard the score and thought;

‘…Yup, I can do this.’

Again, nothing to complain about. Only praise. A good musical score can be just as important as the story in games like this. If the music is awful and fits poorly, you’re not going to want to play it. It ruins the immersion and the fun, for me at least.

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So…There you have it! I’m sure there are plenty of better reviews out there but here’s my addition to the ranks. If you haven’t played Dragon Age; Origins I would strongly recommend it. Considering the game isn’t that new, the price is very modest. Even the Ultimate Edition on Steam with every DLC pack is saving you a lot of money as opposed to buying the vanilla then adding all the DLC afterwards. Don’t take anyones opinion as true; you’ll only know how good this game is if you try it for yourself. Try it, you won’t regret it.

ashenRenegade, signing off~

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