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by Lady Ramkin

Welcome to the world of Dragon Age: Origins, where you will experience yet another epic RPG from the makers of Mass Effect, Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire, to name but a few.

Dragon Age is an “epic party-based fantasy role-playing game, dense with story and tactical combat”, where you will come across men, elves, dwarfs, demons, walking corpses and cuddly goat-like creatures to mention but a few. The world is in great danger, because a mage messed with the powers that be, and very bad things are let loose on the world.

The Bioware team sure knows how to tell a story, and this one is riddled with humour, drama, passion and a bit of crazy to say the least. Which part will you play in this epic adventure?

The Mouse Is Mightier Than The Sword

Start off by creating your character where you can customise your appearance, and spend any amount of time adjusting your eye colour, hairstyle, skincolour and a bunch of other settings, or if you’re not fussy simply choose a randomly generated character. There are six different background stories that depend on your character class and race, which broadens the choice for you as player as to what kind of character you would like to play. If you are the type of person that loses yourself in a character and story, you’ll be quite pleased from the start. The player is tactfully placed into the world, and with a bit of imagination will feel right at home.

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You essentially control a group of four characters on your quest, and may choose to directly controll all of them, or tell the group members what to do using a tactics menu where you can basically program them to react in certain ways to certain cenarios. Quite intricate, but worthwile when used correctly.

Choices choices, so many of them to be made. I find this game desires planning and strategy from the beginning when you choose between mage, warrior or rogue. Each class has sub-classes or specialisations, and with each level-up you get to choose between a multitude of different skills, spells and talents.

Your choices from character creation through to conversation choices, and choices you make during missions will all influence the game. If a party member dislikes your decisions for instance, and their approval rating of you drops enough they might choose to desert you, so your choices influence the outcome of certain scenarios further on in the game.

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For me to attempt a short run-through of all the functions and controls in the game will be a monumental task. I referred to the manual many a time, to make sure I know about everything the game can offer. There are many elements that make up this excellent game, and you find yourself wanting to know every function and possibility.

Hear Some Evil, See No Evil

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The music adds a lot of atmosphere to the gaming experience, and cutscenes and conversation scenes are very well done. One thing that confuses me is that you choose your characters voice at the beginning of the game, but rarely ever hear it again. It would’ve been nice to have your characters conversation pieces in audio, instead of only in writing. Even at low settings the game looks good, although full graphic settings are obviously ideal if you have the capablilty.

I can see that the interface is adapted to suit the xbox as well, but cannot imagine how the experience will differ on console. This may well be a good time for you to dust off your keyboard and flex your mouse wrist, as I recommend this game be played on pc rather than console.

Conclusion

The storyline is intrigueing, the controls are complex but logical and the overall experience is very rewarding. You’ll know you’re controlling a well oiled machine when you realise the depth of the game mechanics, although for the more casual player the game is still very accessable. If you loved Neverwinter Nights, and fell in love with Mass Effect then this game is definitely for you.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8.7

Controls are very intuitive, you find your fingers almost know what to do already. The keys are fully customisable to your needs.

Presentation: 9.0

Intuitive menus and great looking visuals

Sound: 8.5

Music is nice, and voice-acting is great although there could’ve been more of it.

Value:9.0

Hours of gameplay and if you wish you can play all 3 races or all 6 background stories, or play a good character this time, and a bad one the next… the option to replay is definitely there.


Overall: 9.0

Last Updated: November 20, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins
Summary
9.0

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