Dragon Age: Origins Review

I’ve been meaning to write a thorough review of Dragon Age: Origins for at least a week. The problem? I can’t stop playing it long enough to write much of anything. In fact, the only reason I’m typing this right now is because dear hubby slipped the controller out of my hand while I was sleeping and is rocking the God of War Collection.  So to take advantage of this forced vacation…
Remember Mass Effect? What about Knights of the Old Republic? Dragon Age: Origins is what those games were trying to be. This is most definitely the RPG of this year and possibly the next ten years.

The major selling points are the characters. The dialogue is witty, the back stories are interesting, and the choices you make will influence how the characters feel about you. Bioware knows how to create believable, interesting characters and they’ve proven it once again. Thank you for Allister. He rocks the game.

Bioware has brought back the dwarven race. You are not confined to elf or human. This was a major selling point for me. Sometimes, I just want to wail on some Darkspawn without having to worry about snapping in half like a delicate flower.

We also have specialization classes. Warrior, mage, and rogue can choose after a certain point if they want to specialize. For example, rogues can become bards, rangers, assassins, and duelists. You aren’t as confined to the thief role as it would seem. Unlike many rpgs of late, you have some say in how you play your characters.

The story line is nothing terribly new, but it is riveting nonetheless. As I mentioned, I have had serious trouble putting the controller down long enough to type this. The character side quests aren’t terribly original but they are fun. I’m thinking of Shale’s quest in particular; I have a soft spot for that golem. You have no idea how hard it is not to elaborate and thus spoil the surprise.

I do have two complaints. First, the game is ugly. The graphics are pretty bad; at times, I feel like I’m playing KOTOR again. Sorry Bioware, but it’s true. Though I don’t think it’s a reason to not buy the game. Graphics mean nothing when you sit down and actually get into the game. I hope they pay their writers well because they deserve a huge bonus.

My second complaint concerns the bow and arrow. I haven’t found a way to spec for ranged attacks that is actually better than just using a melee weapon. I don’t want to make a snap judgment, but at this point, it looks like archery is not a beloved pasttime in Ferelden.

Should you buy Dragon Age: Origins? Yes, yes, you should. Buy it. Play it. Enjoy it.

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4 Responses to “Dragon Age: Origins Review”

  1. I think “ugly” is too strong a word. They certainly aren’t perfect by any means. The 360 version is not up to par with the PS3 version graphically speaking but it’s not immersion-breaking, in my opinion.

    I’ve got the PC version but I have a dated 8800GT video card and Dragon Age still looks quite decent.

    The issue of archery in Dragon Age has created some heated threads in the BioWare forums— arguments mostly stemming from discussions on how archery should be fixed. 😛

    I’ve got Leliana spec’d for archery but she still misses more often than she hits which really doesn’t correlate with her high level of dexterity.

    Hopefully BioWare will continue to address the archery issue because it still feels broken to me— at least where patch 1.01a is concerned. Still haven’t tried archery under patch 1.01b yet.

    • I agree that the graphics aren’t immersion breaking; I still play KOTOR with no problems, but I was surprised at how bad the water in the Dead Trenches looks as well as the love scenes. I have the PS3 version and not the PC version; that could be why it looked so darn ugly to me.

      I hope they do address the archery issue. I’d like to have Leliana in my party more often but at this point she’s just not as useful as some of the other characters. Makes me sad because I love playing as an archer. And Leliana is frickin adorable.

      • I think that’s one of the problems with the lengthy development times games today require.

        Game assets (code or graphical assets) created earlier in the development cycle can’t always be updated closer to release time to reflect current or cutting edge techniques due to budgetary/technical or time constraints. I’m guessing that’s the case here.

        One benefit in having the PC version of Dragon Age is the availability of mods. A third party high resolution texture mod was released recently and that can help with some of the graphic quality issues— provided your video hardware can handle the higher resolution textures.

        I’m underusing Leliana too— and Zevran for that matter— primarily due to the archery issue. Rogues aren’t sufficietly durable to go toe-to-toe with melee class foes and the broken archery issue can reduce their effectiveness as stand-off support.

        I use Leliana primarily for stealthed recon/spotter for non-line-of-sight spell casting, trap spotting and lockpicking. Still useful no doubt but when crap hits the fan, Leliana has to go off to the side so I don’t have to waste potions and mana trying to keep her topped up when my more crucial party members like my tank and Mages get into the thick of it.

        There’s another discrepancy too. Despite having such a high dexterity, the enemy rarely misses hitting her. It seems they are able to land more punches on her than she is able to reciprocate— and that’s *with* melee buffs like “Song of Valor”!

        It can be a frustrating experience and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t rolled a Rogue (yet) for another play-through.

  2. i love this review. it’s straight and to the point. mine are like, 30 pages long. lol. mine are so long i put pictures in between paragraphs to give the reader a text break. lol.

    i laugh, but i’m crying on the inside…

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