Dragon Age: Origins
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

While many claims have been made that this is the spiritual successor to Baldurs Gate, I think Dragon Age has enough to it to stand on its own. Its, got some flaws but overall it is a superb game that should be played by all RPG fans.

Gameplay: Bioware always comes through with compelling role playing games and this one is no exception.

Graphics: Clearly held back somewhat by the consoles, but still good.

Sound: Great voice acting and stirring music

Summary 9.0 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Dragon Age: Origins

Developer: BioWare | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Being a lifelong fan of Bioware and their titles ever since I first played Baldur’s Gate I was more than a little excited about getting Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O). After hearing that it was widely being proclaimed as the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate my anticipation went into overdrive. Now 55 hours and 49 minutes later I can safely say DA:O is THE best Role Playing game of the year and probably many years to come.

Moving away from the more futuristic titles of late like Knights of the old Republic and Mass Effect, Bioware returns to their roots in this epic, dark fantasy game. After creating a character and picking their “Origin” you are thrown into a world of violence and betrayal where your every move and choice could have far reaching consequences. The story centers on “The Blight” an outbreak of evil “Darkspawn” that is threatening the land of Ferelden. Your character is recruited into the ranks of the “Grey Wardens” (the only people capable of ending a Blight, but at a terrible price) early on in the game, but things soon spiral hopelessly out of control and you are left picking up the pieces. The story might not sound like much on paper, but wait until you start playing and you’ll see how deep it really is.

First things first, this game is rated M for mature and with good reason. It deals with issues like lust, betrayel, revenge and religion. Although this might sound like the ingredients of your typical soap-opera, the mature way in which Bioware has handled the subject matter means this is not a game for children. It is also quite a violent game with frequent enemy decapitations and dismemberment, so your party members can emerge from battle covered in blood and gore. Now that you’ve been warned lets get on with the good stuff.

Dragon Age: Origins is a epic party member based fantasy Role Playing Game that proves once again why Bioware is masters of this genre. Just because it was also released on PS3 and Xbox360 don’t expect it to be “dumbed down” either. This game contains all of the typical Bioware ingredients like long, engrossing conversations, party member management and extensive skills and magic. No Rpg fan will walk away from this one feeling unsatisfied.

The graphics in Dragon Age are good but hardly cutting edge. This might upset some visual junkies, but as the game runs smoothly on even older machines I think the trade-off was worth it. The game still looks very good and the excellent facial animations really bring the characters to life. Battles can get quite hectic and it can be hard to figure out what’s going on amidst the chaos at times, but you can pause the game at any time to issue new orders so this doesn’t really matter that much.

The game doesn’t have that many locations, but the ones you do get to explore is very large and fleshed out. Unlike free roaming games like Oblivion you travel around using a map in Dragon Age instead of exploring open countryside. Don’t worry as there is more than enough to see and do in this game and not once was I left feeling bored or without somewhere to go or something to do. The camera can be zoomed out from an almost over the shoulder perspective to a classic top down view so all tastes should be catered for. Enemy designs are very cool and without wanting to spoil anything, I can only say brace yourself for some big foes. The animations for finishing these brutes are absolutely awesome.

The audio is just as excellent with some of the most atmospheric and epic tunes since Baldurs Gate 2. This is a long game, but you’ll never feel like turning the volume down. The sound effects don’t disappoint either and the gameworld really feels alive due to their excellent implementation. I have nothing but praise for the voice acting as well and there are some stellar performances throughout.

The greatest thing about Dragon Age is how the story and the characters manage to suck you in and make you care. When was the last time you became attached to a party member in a game? The game doesn’t pull any punches either, characters can be killed depending on your actions and choices, you can permanently lose some quests or items and some of the things you do can have some far reaching consequences. Sometimes you might also have to make very unpopular choices for the greater good. If you were expecting a clear-cut good/evil path through the game you’ll be in for a shock. Dragon Age excels at throwing some real curve balls at you. All of this will make you want to play the game multiple times just to see what else would have happened if you made different choices. With six different “Origin” stories that can influence the beginning and end of the game you are looking at some serious value for money.

There are not a lot of bad things I can say about Dragon Age. It’s by no means perfect, but there’s nothing that really stands out as bad either. The game is very stable and bug-free like most Bioware titles and apart from a slightly unforgiving difficulty curve it’s as polished as can be. The downloadable content is not very friendly on the wallet or bandwidth, but that’s just how it is. The lack of multiplayer might also upset some players, but this is a single player experience through and through.

In my books DA:O is the best single player Role Playing Game since Fallout 3 and an essential purchase for all fans of the genre. Just make sure you have more than enough spare time in order to do it justice.

*Review originally published in 2009.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP (SP3) or Windows Vista (SP1) or Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Single 1.6 Ghz Processor (or equivalent) or AMD 64 2.0 GHz Processor (or equivalent)
    • Memory: 1GB (1.5 GB Vista and Windows 7)
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon X850 256MB or NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MB or greater (Windows Vista: Radeon X1550 256 MB or NVidia GeForce 7600GT 256MB)
    • DirectX®: DirectX (November 2007)
    • Hard Drive: 20 GB HD space
    • Sound: Direct X Compatible Sound Card
    • OS: Windows XP (SP3) or Windows Vista (SP1) or Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz or AMD Phenom II X2 Dual-Core 2.7 Ghz Processor or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB (3GB Vista and Windows 7)
    • Graphics: ATI 3850 512 MB or NVidia 8800GTS 512MB or greater
    • DirectX®: DirectX (November 2007)
    • Hard Drive: 20 GB HD space
    • Sound: Direct X Compatible Sound Card

Related posts

Procyon PC Review

Procyon PC Review

Procyon is a game that has more than a passing resemblance to the classic arcade titles from companies such as Irem and Toaplan. It won't take long to complete the five levels on offer, but you'll have fun doing so and the game is available at a bargain price. Procyon focuses on delivering a solid shooter instead of really shaking up the genre but it is polished and very enjoyable. Gameplay: Nice, solid arcade shooter. Graphics: Not the most detailed, but plenty of colors and explosions. Sound: Great soundtrack and some pretty good sound effects.

Pinball FX3 – Universal Classics™ Pinball

Pinball FX3 - Universal Classics™ Pinball

With tables based around Back to The Future, Jaws and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Universal Classics Pinball pack is a must have for fans of the genre. All three of the tables on offer look great and are a lot of fun to play. The table designers have done an admirable job with fusing these licenses with pinball instead of simply using images based on the films. Unfortunately, none of the tables feature licensed music, which is really a pity for films like these that has such iconic soundtracks. However, apart from the music there is very little to fault here and these tables offer a nice break from all the Marvel and Star Wars tables available for the platform. Gameplay: Three tables with great designs that are a lot of fun to play. Graphics: Each table features plenty of visual elements from the films as well as some great looking 3D models. Sound: The sound effects and voice acting are decent enough, but the lack of licensed music is a bummer.

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot is a great title for when you need a quick action fix and don’t want to get bogged down with small details like inventory management or stat allocation. You simply race through dungeon floors, killing everything in sight and grabbing whatever loot you can find. It doesn’t have a lot of depth, but since dungeons are randomly generated and increase in difficulty the more you play the replay value is quite high. It is also very reasonably priced, which means there is no excuse for not giving it a shot. Gameplay: The focus is very much on action and there isn’t much that gets in the way of that. Graphics: Some lovely pixel art visuals with nice enemy designs. Sound: Decent, but the sound effects are a little underwhelming.

Sakura Dungeon

Sakura Dungeon

Sakura Dungeon offers a nice fusion of traditional step based dungeon crawling and the manga visual style that has made developer Winged Cloud (in)famous. Despite all the erotic content (mostly censored in the Steam version) the game doesn’t skimp on the role playing elements either. It might not be as in-depth or complicated as other dungeon crawlers, but definitely offers a fun and compelling experience. Gameplay: Explore dungeons, defeat cute monster girls and then recruit them to your party. Graphics: The 2D visuals look great despite the lack of animations. Sound: Great music, but limited sound effects and no voice acting.

Assassin’s Creed® Revelations

Assassin's Creed® Revelations

While not quite the "revelation" that I was hoping for, this game does tie up the stories of Altair and Ezio. Not much has changed gameplay wise and the story is not the best in the series but the game is still very entertaining. It is definitely not for newcomers to the series as the story is a direction continuation of Brotherhood but it does fill the gap until Assassin's Creed 3. Gameplay: Pretty much the same as Brotherhood. Graphics: Not bad but the colours are a bit dull. Sound: Good voice acting and atmospheric music.

Trapped Dead: Lockdown

Trapped Dead: Lockdown

If you are not tired of killing zombies yet, Trapped Dead: Lockdown invites you to a small American town to get acquainted with the undead locals. The game features five different playable characters, hordes of zombies and buckets of blood, but because it is a linear experience it can also become rather repetitive. The game is still entertaining and features a lengthy campaign as well as multi-player with four players, but if you are not a fan of the genre this is unlikely to sway you. Gameplay: Enjoyable, but repetitive and there are a couple of minor annoyances. Graphics: The visuals are detailed and the locations varied. Sound: Decent voice acting, but the music and sound effects are largely forgettable.

Leave a comment

20 − 9 =