Just to let you know ahead of time, this is one of the greatest games I have ever played. Is it better than KotOR? No. Is it better than most crap that comes out? Hell yes. So despite all the horrible things I’m about to say, you should still buy this game.
So Dragon Age: Origins is a game from Bioware that came out before they sold out and started to treat their fans like dirt. It is something of a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate. Meaning that it borrows heavily from its gameplay. You lead party members into a world where you choose where you go on a map then engage in conversation with NPCs who just love to stare at you, then you command each party member individually in combat before you kill everyone and take their junk. Yep, it’s an RPG alright….sort of. But I’ll get to that later. For now, this brief introduction to the game leads into my brief introduction to the story.
In Dragon Age: Origins, you play one of three races: Human, Elf, or Dwarf. Then you pick whether you want to be a warrior, mage, or a rogue. Then you pick which origin you want. You get six in total so two for each race (Theoretically). The problem is that humans kind of get screwed over. While the Elf has 3 origins that differ greatly, and Dwarfs get two very different origins, the humans get one for warrior and rogues, then one for a mage. So you can’t be a peasant while being a warrior, you have to be a noble. So anyways, once you do that you get a 30-45 minute section detailing your past and current situation. Either way you are drafted into the Grey Wardens, a group of fighters who defend the land against the monstrous Darkspawn. So it is up to you to raise an army and defend the land against the massive armies of the Darkspawn. While this may sound vague, just trust me. The story takes very interesting turns and manages to be the best part of the game (Since this was made before Bioware lost every ounce of integrity it had). Also, it’s worth mentioning that the party members are all very well written and very well acted. You can even “romance” some companions. Which may or may not lead to a sex scene…..hehehheheh.
So the gameplay is very similar to Baldur’s Gate. You can command each of your party members individually to be more tactical, or you can just rely on your main character. Either way, it’s third person with a bonus camera which makes it Baldur’s Gate style. You level up and pick which skill to level up. Then you have some bonus abilities which might increase your resistance to nature or deal more damage. Then you get to pick your abilities….and that’s where the gameplay starts to show its weaknesses. The abilities are so bland and generic, even for the mages. But even though mages have SOME cool abilities, it’s mostly pick whatever might help you a little. The warriors and rogues get even more screwed over. Warriors have the most boring and generic abilities you can think of. While rogues have very little (Good) multiple enemy attacks. I played as a rogue with two swords and the strongest armor in the game and I could kill one enemy very quickly, but I had to pause the game, pick my enemy, then attack him, then rinse and repeat.
Now for the least important part of video games: the graphics. For the most part, the game looks nice. Yes, it’s not Crysis but I’d rather not have my computer explode on me. The graphics are varied and detailed enough to satisfy a common player. HOWEVER, there are some problems with the character models, meaning they ARE ALL THE SAME! Every NPC is created with the god awful character creator so they all end up looking like each other. Even some of the important NPCs can look too close to some dude you killed. Also, the NPCs really don’t look that good and it really shows during some of the conversation scenes. On that note, I would like to say that the armor is also too generic and dull. Mages get an assortment of robes that only change color. While warriors and rogues get a bunch of color coded armor. It seems like a LOT of more effort could have been put into the clothes and armor.
Now since this is the ultimate edition, I suppose I should talk about the DLC. Shale was a companion cut from the game so that golem was interesting and important to some of the lore. You also have uses for crystals other than selling them! Next is Warden’s Peak. You essentially get a 30 minute mission with some good trading bonuses. Also, you get to learn about the Grey Wardens some more. Leliana’s Song is a short DLC which tells of her betrayal and move to the Chantry (Which is basically church). Although it is some fun, it doesn’t really match the story she told in the game…..so wtf. Then there’s also the Darkspawn Chronicles, which tells an alternate story where your character was killed off. So you play a Darkspawn and you must save your leader and effectively kill off your companions from the first game (They are under new leadership). So I hope you weren’t too attached to a certain character! Then there’s the expansion: Awakening. This adds a whole new story, new companions, new loot, and new lore. It actually solves some of my boring skills and armor complaints but it commits the worst offense for a story driven game. The story and characters are not interesting at all. Oh sure, there’s a few likable characters but they’re mainly from the original game. But hey, at least we have some cool loot.
Now, the other DLCs are either minor, or I just didn’t want you reading a wall of text. There are some minor DLCs like the feastday pranks which are freaking hilarious, but I’m talking about the big ones. So the Golems of Amgarrak ,(I hope I spelt that right) is a DLC where you kill golems and mess up the space-time continuum. Fun. There’s also a little mission DLC that I won’t spoil for you, but I liked it so that’s something. Then there’s Witch Hunt, the last DLC that also concludes the story of the Warden. I was disappointed by it because it involves a character I had no interest in finding. So that was pointless for me and for some other players. It also leaves on a cliffhanger……well up yours too Bioware!!
So in conclusion, Dragon Age: Origins is a fantastic game. You need to play it if you’re a Bioware fan or a Baldur’s Gate fan or even a video game fan. Hell, if you don’t like video games, just try it for the amazing story. The community is also very helpful with keeping this game alive. With so many mods, ranging from full transformations, little updates, and your classic sex mods. The story is engaging and leads to a very interesting finale involving lots of emotion and wondering who might not survive…if you even win. So what I’m trying to say is that despite all the games flaws, it’s still a fantastic game. It’s well worth your money. Also, be sure to buy the Ultimate Edition. You don’t want to be the only one who got screwed because you were a dumbass and decided not to buy the really good edition.