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Dragon Age: Origins, A Review Just In Time.

December 23, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dragon_Age Alright, let me tell you a little tale about a company.  Now this little company, back in 2003 made a little game called “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” aka KOTOR.  Now this company was known as BioWare and they took on a big challenge in making a Star Wars game.  Why?  Because, almost as a rule, Star Wars games SUCK!

Now, BioWare, had some things that George Lucas didn’t have with Episodes 1-3.  They had a story and talent.  KOTOR was amazing.  It combined action, with an RPG, linking a turn based combat system into real-time play.  But, for all the wonder that was the KOTOR engine, the real joy was the story.  The KOTOR story was just incredible; deep and thoughtful.  KOTOR made your decisions during the game influence how the game progressed and how people treated you.

In 2007, BioWare released Mass Effect for the XBOX 360.  Another sci-fi themed game, BioWare expanded on their engine and made for a beautiful real time combat system with amazing facial graphics.  Their games continued on the same “what I do affects the game” idea and made for an awesome game with a huge, exciting storyline.  One thing that BioWare did take some heat for was the romances you could develop in the game, even a lesbian “alien-human” one.  The cut scenes for this were really no more graphic than in a late night movie on TV, but it still caused a ruckus.

Now, we come to 2009, and BioWare releases Dragon Age: Origins.  This time a fantasy based game, but using the same concepts of a deep story and a decision based storyline, you get to make the game play how you want to act.

dragon-age-origins-dao_11-490 DA:O follows the story of you, the Grey Warden, as you attempt to save the world from the evil invasion of the “Blight”  As you play, others will join your quest, as you have to unite the country to help you.

I am purposely going to avoid much of the story.  Suffice it to say that the story is HUGELY entertaining and will have you playing the game again and again, just to try playing it in different ways.

So, lets break it down.

Character Generation:  When you first start the game, you get to choose, male or female.  Unlike most games, this DOES make a difference in the story.  Not in abilities or skills, but there are major differences in the story.  You can choose a race: human, elf, and dwarf and then your class: warrior, mage, or rogue.  Finally, you choose one of 6 backgrounds (based on the other choices).  These backgrounds are not just fluff.  You actually start your adventure living in the background story and play your way to becoming a Grey Warden.  Some games have different endings.  This one has different starts too!

  You then go to designing what your character looks like.  There are presets, but if you want those eyes just a bit wider, you can do so.

Controls:  The controls are very easy to get used to and simple to use.  The inventory system, which was a major weakness in Mass Effect, has been greatly improved upon, allowing you to focus on the game.

Gameplay:  Outstanding fun, amazing graphics, wow… just wow.  You need to try it to see.  There is just something amazing about watching your character jumping onto the head of a dragon, get thrown up into the air, to slam back down, smashing his/her ax deep into its skull.  But let’s not reveal too much.

Story:  The story, as expected from BioWare is very interesting and suits the game well.  Your choices affect many things in the game, to the point of having a party member turning on you.  Your actions affect how your party members think about you and having them like you gives them small abilities perks as well as opens up quests and dialog.

dragonageorigins Romance:  Like BioWare’s other games, you can form relationships in the story.  There are several potential people for this, regardless of the sex of the main character… or their sexual preferences.  For good or bad, BioWare does not force you to choose a male-female relationship.  It does not force this on you and you can easily tell the person of whatever gender that you aren’t interested in that sort of thing.  I consider it far from offensive.  If the main character gets to the point where the relationship becomes sexual, you are presented with a cut scene of bikini/shorts-clad kissing and that’s about it.  It’s not as bad as what you would see in the daytime soaps or late night tv, but it is there.

There is a lot more I could tell you about the game.  I mainly wanted to cover two things:  The story and the sexuality.  The story is deep and detailed and may be too much to understand for younger players and parents may object to the sexuality in the game.  Barring those concerns, get the game.  It’s well worth it.  The game IS rated Mature, so keep that in mind.  It’s really a game for an adult.

One final thing:  Don’t get the game used.  I know, it’s cheaper that way, but in this case, it’s not.  See, Electronic Arts, the evil corporation that owns BioWare now, made part of the game as downloadable content.  You can play the whole game through without it, but you miss out on some major quests, even a party member without it.  The codes for this content comes with the game and can only be used once.  If you buy it used, and want that missing content, be ready to fork over an additional $15.

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