Released in 2009 Dragon Age: Origins is an RPG (that’s Role Playing Game if you aren’t a nerd and if you are not then why are you reading my review) made by EA and was initially released with optional DLC, I however, got hold of the Ultimate Edition which contains all of the DLC in one convenient package.
As you know I am not exactly a fan of humans, and despite occasionally entering into the multi-player arena of GTA Online I am really at my happiest when playing a single player game in which I can take a powerless twat and beef them up to the point that they can crush anyone who stands before them like a bulldozer would roll over a maggot.
Enter then Dragon Age, a massive RPG in which you take a powerless, or talentless twat and beef them up to the point where they can pretty much take on anything the world can throw at them.
As usual before going on let me enlighten you regarding what is going on in Dragon Age: Origins…
So, the game is set in the fictional land of Ferelden during a civil crisis with an end of the world type catastrophe looming on the horizon. A band of vicious creatures known as the Darkspawn have amassed an army being lead by a monstrous Arch-Demon and you are recruited to become a new Grey Warden who alone can stop the threat posed by the army and the terrifying Dragon leading them.
The initial battle does not exactly go to plan, one of your allies abandons the fight resulting in the majority of the Grey Wardens being slaughtered. You and another Warden survive, and it is up to you to travel through the world visiting dwarves, elves, humans and various other groups so you can rally another army, reclaim the kingdom from the man that left you to die, and battle the approaching Darkspawn.
I was recommended this game by a friend of my skin sack and my initial impressions weren’t exactly great, at the time I was not really familiar with what you were supposed to do in an RPG. I created a mage and could barely fight, I did not know how to use spells properly so got killed…a lot. Annoyed but assured by my friend that the game did get better I started again becoming a warrior and played the game through to the end…since then I have played through this game many, many times.
The character customisation is pretty involved and you can create either Prince Charming or Quasimodo if you want. You choose your gender, then race from human, elf or dwarf. Then you decide to be a warrior, rogue or mage. From there, depending on which of the above options you opted for the game will give you numerous opening levels in which you do something or other before being offered to join the Grey Wardens by a man named Duncan.
After the Grey Warden are slaughtered you have the opportunity to explore the world, recruit more members to join your party and have the chance to affect the world around you. The decisions you make have various consequences and can lead to numerous things happening to you and others later in the game.
Naturally as you progress you and your party level up, when this happens you can upgrade your character, if they are a mage unlocking better spells, or new skills as a rogue or better fighting techniques for a warrior. It is up to you to create the best group you want to, but ultimately it is all up to you, do you have a party comprised of mostly mages?? Or warriors?? Or rogues?? Or do you have a combination of all?? One of my favourite skills to unlock is: Persuasion - which basically means that you can pretty much talk anyone into anything, do you use this mastery of the silver tongue to help those around you or do you use it to seduce various women and get them to have sex with you?? Again, the choice is yours. Companions will react differently depending on which decisions you make with some being disgusted if you act with compassion and mercy with others being horrified if you do what you want whenever you want.
Perhaps all RPGs are like this but this is the first that I have played, and I really enjoy doing it. I love having a massively powerful mage that has mastery of the elements and can shoot fire or ice from his hands.
The game itself is also massive and will take hours and hours to complete. The enemies can be a little repetitive but the story will keep you interested. You have the ability to romance various different party members, some only want casual relationships, whilst others are more interested in long term commitments. If you are playing as a woman it is possible to wind up the Queen of Ferelden, every member of the party has a “Like” meter and if it falls too far down they will leave your groups, and if you talk to them give them gifts and their like meter increases you can do their personal quests which unlock more content. Like I said I have played through this game maybe a dozen times and I am still discovering new quests and missions for my companions. The dialogue that your companions have with one another also changes depending who is in your party during the missions.
The downloadable content contained within the Ultimate Edition is well worth a bit of extra cost, it gives a greater emphasis on the nature of the universe and has missions that are set before and after the main game Origins.
Awakening will add more to the lore and shows what happened in the wake of the defeat of the Arch-Demon at the end of Origins, I would call that a spoiler but I would have thought the bad guy dies, would be a pretty obvious ending. Plus it probably adds another twenty hours to the game play, plus lets you explore previously unvisited locations in the land of Ferelden.
The graphics are pretty good, and whilst the dialogue is a little generic a lot of the time, the game boasts Claudia Black as the sexy and seductive witch-of-the-wilds Morrigan. Your conversations options are basically limited to Agree, Disagree or Attack. You can pretty much always just attack if you fancy it, or can try to talk your way out of a difficult situation. More often than not I was using my silver tongue to talk my enemies out of trying to kill me, mainly because you can turn enemies into allies if you pick the right dialogue options. Plus if someone cannot be talked out of trying to kill you, all you have to do is slaughter them, thankfully you can do it with a clear conscious because you tired to stop them from fighting you in the first place.
Picking different races will result in different dialogue options, however, if you want to see all of the opening chapters all you really have to do is start the game, pick a new origin, and play each races’ first mission. You don’t need to play through the whole thing as another race if you don’t want to, still, I would recommended it so you can truly see just how much this game has to offer.
Basically the game’s biggest drawback is the lack of a game+ mode…if such a mode existed than this game would be, hands down, one of my favourite games of all time. I could understand if the game locked you into the same sex, class and even face of your previous character meaning that large sections of the game, especially the opening chapter, would ultimately be the same. Personally though I would not care because I could take my high level mage from the end of one play through and start again with him as a ridiculously powerful being that can take apart most enemies apart with ease. Sadly because there is no game+ mode if you do restart you are starting from scratch each time, with a piss-weak character, that you must build up again. More often than not I will restart as a mage because that is my favourite character type, and will build up the same spells because there are a select few that I really like, especially one which blows enemies up like cluster bombs and can infect everyone around them causing them to explode too. So, I chose the same character, and skill class, and upgrade the same spells, so why am I not allowed to restart with my skills from a previous play through and upgrade the spells I don’t normally give priority to??
Considering this game came out in 2009, you can pick up the Ultimate Edition relatively cheaply and I urge you to track it down. I have heard that Dragon Age II was pretty poor, but I haven’t played that one, nor have I had a chance to play Dragon Age: Inquisition yet. As far as this game goes, it is a great RPG, and with a playtime that will easily clock in at over forty hours there is certainly great value for money here.
I have enjoyed other games like Metal Gear Solid and Dead Space but I have not played any of the other games as many times as this one. It is rewarded with a very strong Thumbs Up because it really sucked me into the world and made me want to play as the Grey Warden over and over again.
8.5/10 – If this game had a game+ mode then it would almost undoubtedly be one of my favourite game of all time, unfortunately because no such mode exists you are forced to play the game through again and again starting with a weak-ass character that takes considerable time to make into a badass…still once he is a badass the shit really hits the fan