Dragon Age: Origins Review
Incredible storytelling, great characters, and exciting battles are just a few of the things that make this fantasy role-playing game so extraordinary.
- Intricate, involving storytelling
- Amazing dialogue and voice acting bring characters to life
- Rich fantasy world filled with interesting lore
- Enjoyable questing with plenty of twists and surprises
- Lots of spells and abilities make combat fun.
- A few glitches.
When was the last time you felt totally lost in a fantasy gameworld? When was the last time you played a game with such a well-crafted and enjoyable story that you knew you’d remember it for a long, long time? Dragon Age: Origins is that kind of game, so rich and involving that you are powerless to resist its wiles and whims, so touching and triumphant that your mind and heart will be moved. In the fictional land of Ferelden, you meet memorable characters and fight for a cause you believe in, and it's this backdrop that makes developer BioWare's newest role-playing game so extraordinary. Dragon Age is more than a well-crafted story, however: It's a lengthy, intricate, and thoroughly entertaining adventure that's easy to fall in love with.
Dragon Age's plot, which deals with the impending invasion of a horde of demonic creatures called the darkspawn, isn't where the story's biggest surprises lie. The shocks, the joys, and the disappointments spring from the repartee among a number of remarkable characters; they lurk within books of lore and stories of martyrs; and they burst forth during spine-tingling moments when you must choose from a selection of difficult choices that affect the tale's direction--and the way your associates interact with you. Ferelden is a colorful and fascinating kingdom that takes enough cues from well-known fantasy tropes to be familiar, but bends enough conventions to feel original. Dragon Age features dwarves, but their caste-based society and the social paragons that rise above it twist the norms enough to keep you intrigued. Mages remain under the constant watch of templars, a restriction that doesn't sit well with those who view such policing as virtual slavery. The role of religion in human circles is of particular note. Chantries provide refuge to those worshiping the all-powerful Maker, and chanters recite the holy word near their houses of prayer. But lest this world sound too serious, don't despair: One such disciple slides food references into her chant, and a few dwarves warn you not to fall into the sky. Small, humorous touches like this are plentiful. Even if you aren't the literary sort, Dragon Age may inspire you to read every note, every character bio, and every creature description, thanks to the richness of the world and the consistency with which it's presented.
You'll learn even more from the companions who join you, and you'll grow to care about them on your quest for glory. There's Morrigan, the cynical apostate mage bound to your cause for reasons that become clear only late in the journey; Sten, the strong, silent type who isn't so quick to reveal his innermost thoughts; and Zevran, a darkly mischievous would-be assassin with a wild streak and a playful disregard for the law. There are others too, including Alistair, a wisecracking, vaguely insecure member of the Grey Wardens, an elite group of champions that recruits you early on. Great dialogue and fantastic voice acting make these characters leap off the screen as if they were real friends, and the way they interact with one another feels authentic. Morrigan and Alistair banter about the role of templars in the lives of mages, and the sweetly devout Leliana tries to communicate with your trusty canine cohort in some amusing exchanges. You may even develop a romance (or two) before all is said and done. The course of love isn't always a smooth one, though it can be a bit steamy, in a PG-13 sort of way.
Relationships must be nurtured; in the world of Dragon Age, love doesn't develop at first sight. Rather, you must improve your standings with available party members by giving them gifts and fulfilling quests in ways that please them. Doing so opens more dialogue options and may even reward you with unexpected gifts beyond the private pleasures of your tent. Your personal relationships aren't all you need to worry about when facing a difficult decision, however. On significant quests, you'll encounter complex choices that force you to weigh the risks against the rewards, even as you try to stay true to your own vision of your character. Are werewolves heartless killers, or is there a method to their madness? Should you wholeheartedly embrace a political candidate, or will some unexpected information have you playing double agent--or just killing the opposition? Such open-ended quests have become staples in many similar RPGs, but few make these decisions feel so momentous. The anxiety that results when you encounter important choices is a result of superb writing and character development: When you care about your destiny, decisions have more weight.
Even Dragon Age's initial moments present important decisions that affect how your adventure plays out. You'll customize your own avatar's look from a variety of presets, but more importantly, you'll choose a race and class. The choices may seem initially limited, but your options eventually expand. Later, you can choose up to two subclasses once you reach the necessary level requirements, and there are a few different means of unlocking additional skill trees. Your initial race and class choices don't just determine the kinds of skills and spells you will have access to, however; they influence how the first few hours of the game progress. You will experience one of six different "origin stories" that follow the events that lead you to the elite Grey Wardens. Every origin story leads to the same place, but that doesn't mean you leave these events behind for good. Characters you met early on will cross your path again, and crucial moments of your origin story will continue to haunt you. The varied origin stories not only provide plenty of replay value, but allow you to see familiar characters from a different angle. A prisoner you meet within a dank dungeon may not have much impact on you if you are playing as a Dalish elf, but if you play as a human mage, this encounter is a bittersweet reunion.
You aren't a lone adventurer, however. You can take up to three companions along with you, and eventually you will meet more willing (or unwilling, as the case may be) darkspawn slayers. You can switch out party members back at your camp or in other friendly areas. Party members you don't use will remain at camp, though they thankfully level up even when you don't take them along. Your comrades aren't just AI-controlled henchmen; you can take full control of any party member at any time, though how you do so depends on the platform. PC owners get the most versatile and rewarding experience in this regard. You can zoom the camera in to a close third-person view when exploring and conversing with non-player characters, or pull the camera back to a tactical view, which makes it a breeze to quickly and easily micromanage every spell and attack, in true Baldur's Gate tradition. On consoles, you always view the action from behind a single character, and you use a shoulder button to switch among them. It's a great way of experiencing the buzz of battle, though occasional pathfinding quirks are more apparent in the console versions, simply because you experience the action from a single perspective at a time, rather than while managing four characters simultaneously.
If you've played a BioWare fantasy RPG in the past, you'll feel right at home with the combat system. By clicking on your target or pressing the attack button, you don't just swing a sword, but you approach your target and queue up your attack. Once your party has gained access to a good number of spells, stances, and skills, battlefields explode with bright colors and raucous sound effects, and it's a lot of fun to switch back and forth between party members, managing your abilities and taking advantage of various spell combos to wreak havoc. There are dozens of different types of enemies to slice up, from giant spiders and darkspawn, to ghosts and walking trees, to demons and, of course, dragons. Allies will join you in the biggest battles, and the best of these, particularly those toward the end of the game, are thrilling. On the PC, they're particularly challenging, and many battles benefit from frequent pausing and tactical thinking, so that you can queue up attacks across your entire party. The same battles on consoles are noticeably easier.
I think the people who dislike DA were obsessed with Elder Scrolls.
If you want to run around and do anything you want at anytime and not worry about quests then replay Oblivion.
Really linear. There isn't much to do except the main plot. Anyways, it's one of the best rpgs out there.
this game was truly epic. way better then the ''milked out'' sequel. true and real. and friggin awesome
Snagged the Ultimate Edition on Steam for $10 today on Steam. Hope it's as fun as everyone says it is.
@Stealth_Knight_ What drives you to say that? because, personally, I completely disagree! Dragon Age Origins is a well made game, with an incredibly in depth history to a new world, and despite it's age, not terrible graphics. The gameplay is different from most other games, and that makes it more fun. It's not a simple hack and slash game, you need to be able to think.
-One of the richest all-encompassing stories ever to land in an rpg. From characters the players interact with, to all of the background information that gets parceled out as one plays.
-Unique/variety skill combinations for classes.
-Very nice character models with just enough variety thrown in
-great voice acting
-combat style was fun to min/max defaults for characters you probably wont be controlling most of the game
-unique origin stories for the specific class/race combos were neat
-dynamic options for quests definitely pulls you into the story-line further
-restrictive world. barriers in every zone
-very little variety of gear save for 1 or 2 weapons
-locks every where you go, so a rogue is required for any completionist ocd's out there
-lack of gear upgrades. you can probably go 6 hours or more of playtime w/out seeing any substantial upgrades
-strict leveling system that only progressed as you progressed through quests. (you can't just go out and kill some monsters for fun/gear)
-not just a lack of crafting professions, the ones that are in the game feel as though you can easily do without. besides health pots in the beginning of the game I never really had a need to use anything else once i got wynne for healing.
-restrictive starting bag space and the need to buy actual items to increase your inventory which feel inordinately expensive early in the game.
I stumbled across this game while I was renting some blue-rays (ps3). I was hoping for more of a "dungeon crawl" rpg, but found myself pleasantly surprised. The storyline is not only superb it really carried me to finish the game. But the lack of flexibility with traveling, gaining xp, some other minor details and the overall lack of and variety of gear really weighed the overall grade down. This game could've achieved legendary status if it could've knocked out a better loot generator. I understand why though, they probably didn't have enough manpower/resources left over in the budget or maybe thats what they wanted in the end. A game more focused on the story and the journey and not on gear. So much time and hard work must have went into building that familiar yet unique rpg universe.
I give it a solid 8/10
10/10 for effort
Pretty good for being the type of rpg I normally stay far, far away from.
Would recommend to any of my fellow rpg nerds.
@jontunnel130 I agree with all the cons you have outlined in this mini-review and I personally would say they are all pretty hard to argue against. I found the origin stories really good but the main story was pretty predictable and familiar. I think people overlook this and are fully engrossed by the apparent wealth of lore which gives rise to people confusing lore and a rich environment, with the main story telling which I think was pretty average. I also found the voice acting fairly average but again the overly positive reviews about this element of the game is more to do with the decent script than the actors or acting. It's more of an action adventure game than a true RPG; more akin to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic than a classic RPG.
I think this review is over rating this game. It's well made, fun to play and what I would consider a proper RPG but it is in no way anywhere near some of the absolute classic RPG's one would consider in a list of "The best RPG's ever made!". It's very predictable in a sense that you feel as though you have played a very similar story before and although some of the characters who join are well thought out, some of them they seem to have been completely overlooked during development meaning most of the time your play-throughs consist of the same party members. The skills, items and quests are either generic or too few which generally isn't a characteristic of an RPG.
This game doesn't come close to Morrowind, Might and Magic 6, the first two Fallout games, any Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale game, Divine Divinity, Planescape Torment and many others. It's been rated too highly because it was released amongst a lot of crap and watered down games claiming to be RPG's.
There is a comment somewhere on here claiming this to be Bioware's best RPG... can't even begin to explain how wrong you are.
@Akark What did you play this on? If console, then you did it wrong. If PC, then, opinion or not, it is ARGUABLY one of the best, if not ever, than in the past 12 years easily. So unless you want a blast from the past, this is going to be as good as it gets when trying to mimic the likes of what you named. If you only consider originals to be the greatest, then you are really missing out on some great games. If you'd REALLY like to have a discussion on WHY I have this opinion, rather than flat out telling me I'm wrong, please feel free to respond. I am very experienced in RPGs from the past 20 years and will gladly make a case for DAO. PC version at least.
@Rat_King I played it on the PC and enjoyed it. I played it through three times, twice on nightmare; it's a great game and deserves a good score, perhaps 8.0-8.5. I'm merely suggesting in a strong way that it is not a 9.5 game. It lacked content, had a predictable and familiar story and really didn't live up to the hype with regards to how your actions supposedly affect the story in a meaningful way. It has received a lot of strong reviews mostly due to when it was released and how a couple of the characters have some decent scripts. Can people please read my post before assuming I have just said "NO!!!! YOU ARE WRONG!!!!" which I never did. Read it carefully and you will notice the word explain, which gives rise to a discussion on the topic.
@havok786ca @Akark I wouldn't rate a game based on how other games (such as those in the Call of Duty series) have been rated. They can be massively over-hyped and that may put pressure on popular, big gaming sites to give them good reviews.
Since when has 8/10 been a bad score? Why does any game have to be rated between 7 and 10? 7 being complete crud and 10 being anything someone played more than once. It makes the entire bottom half of any scale completely pointless. Every game should be reviewed and rated on its own merit using the entire scale responsibly.
Personal opinion of anything will always skew the results when perceived by someone else. However, a well written review should address a varied audience interested in finding out more about the game before buying it, regardless of the final score.
I don't think anything in entertainment deserves a 10/10. This is obviously an opinion I doubt many poeple would agree with but by the very nature of scales used to rate something, surely 10/10 would indicate it's perfect? In my mind a harsh score for this game would be below 7/10. It has many good features and few bad features and has been well received by many gaming websites.
Three play-throughs is probably only 40-50 hours to be fair which is a fraction of what I have spent on other games over the years. All three of those play-throughs were binged in the space of about a month and then I never played the game again. I still regularly play Age of Empires II and Heroes of Might and Magic 3 as well as other games. I wouldnt rate either of those games a 10/10 having spent silly amounts of time playing them over the years.
@Akark wow wtf...if I ever bothered to play through a huge RPG THREE times I would never give it an 8/10...I mean nothing is perfect; RPG's are about the overall experience after all. I consider chrono trigger to be the best console RPG of all time, and a definite 10/10 despite being able to find several flaws in it...why? Because I played it through 10+ times, just to see all the different endings. This is when something goes beyond being just a game..
Honestly this game is hardly perfect (no game is), but considering what I just said an 8/10 is just harsh...modern warfare 3 got that and I got bored with it literally 1 hour into it despite loving FPS games.
@Rat_King It is indeed refreshing to have a conversation with someone able to write properly; shame about the sentance comprehension. It's not meant literally, otherwise I would've typed "literally can't even begin to explain how wrong you are". It's merely an expression emphasising how strongly I feel about the point I was trying to make. The word "explain" suggests the sentance is an opinion as already stated earlier in this conversation.
@Akark Hey man, fair enough. I respect your opinion and think it's great you have readable grammar. Unfortunately, it seems you're the only one able to interpret the fine line between "NO!! YOU ARE WRONG!!!" and "can't even begin to explain how wrong you are."
I guess the fact you can't begin to tell them how wrong they are negates the fact that you are, in fact, saying they are straight up wrong. What a twist!!
@Akark A person cannot be "wrong" about an opinion. Grow up.
@chesney Boy I hate this sort of relativistic crap! If we take your reasoning to its logical conclusion, then it becomes impossible to judge one thing as being any better than anything else; all opinions and things are automatically equal, differentiated only by subjective tastes. Some opinions ARE better than others, some opinions ARE wrong. Better reasons, more convincing argumentation... these sorts of things make some opinions more correct and others less so, some others even WRONG.
@chesney This is my opinion of his opinion. Grow up.
@houshidar The blind leading the blind comes to mind. Two people agreeing with each other most definitely does not make the argument true and not backing down from an argument is not arrogance. If I am wrong it is ignorance or a lack of knowledge of the English language and regional expressions. The sentence is there in black and white, it means what it typically means whenever I have read or heard it. I haven't made a mistake by typing it, I meant to type it. I'm struggling to come up with different ways to explain it, and truthfully you have already explained it for me in an earlier post better than I originally did. You'll read this as a defeatist comment but I'll say it anyway; this is really getting off topic.
@Akark Indeed it is getting embarrassing, however not for me. If you cannot see the irony in calling someone else arrogant when you are blinded by your own to accept that you have made a mistake (now pointed out to you by 2 people) then there isnt much more that can be said. And I appreciate your acknowledgement of my ability to converse appropriately without the need to insult or degrade others :)
@houshidar You need to look up the word irony then because this entire conversation is getting really embarrassing for you. There is literally no irony there whatsoever. I point out your arrogance and pass it off as a mistake since you can actually hold together a proper conversation on the internet.
@Akark "finish it all off with a sentence so disgustingly arrogant" I cant even begin to explain the irony in that statement, haha xD Good day
@houshidar You've just proved my point though. It's an expression. It is exactly what is written but interpreted in a figurative way. All you have done here is clarify exactly what I have been trying to explain. "..."I cant even begin to explain how wrong you are" means exactly you are wrong". No it doesn't. It doesn't in the exact same way the expression "The dogs bollocks" doesn't mean it's literally the dogs bollocks. Unless you were actually eating food made from the testicles of a dog. All you have done is written one literal meaning of the phrase then another literal meaning of the phrase and labeled one of them as what you think I was trying to say, then you have gone on to define an idiom and declare the well known phrase I have used as not an idiom, when it truth it's a well know, often used phrase. Then to top off your post you mention political correctness when nothing non-PC has been said here at all, and finish it all off with a sentence so disgustingly arrogant, I must only assume it was a heat-of-the-moment lack of judgment on your part since otherwise you have presented yourself quite well.
@Akark No I am english and frankly the context in which you state "I cant even begin to explain how wrong you are" means exactly you are wrong. To break down your phrase and give it back to you it means you are so wrong that there is too much to go into detail therefore I am not able to begin such an impossible task due to the sheer quantity of error in your statement. But what you are trying to do is say that "I cant even begin to explain how wrong you are" in its absolute literal meaning would mean that it wouldn't make sense since you couldnt express and explain his errors. Lets not compare apples to oranges here, the context of your statement suggested his opinion was wrong, your trying to wriggle out of it by saying it is a metaphor and not literal. If thats the case you can say the same about any idiom used in the english language. If I say oh that food is the dogs bollocks it connotes the food is good, but then if someone were to question me about it I could say well it isnt actually the dogs bollocks since that wouldn't make sense, or saying a job is a piece of cake doesn't literally make it a piece of cake but connotes that it is an easy job. But to be honest your statement isnt even an idiom its a far more straight forward way of saying you are wrong.sorry for the essay I dont even care that much about this whole business tbh, I just thought I would clarify what chesney meant. Also in the future to avoid all this nonsense just respect other peoples opinion and rather than saying they are wrong you can resort to saying "I disagree". Much more PC and far nicer to the rest of the community. thank you have a nice day
@houshidar That is not what that sentence means at all. I never once say "You are wrong, fact". I present my opinion in an expression of intent; the intent being to discuss or "explain" how I believe him to be wrong. You have read what I've said, quoted it, and still have no understanding of it at all. The expression I've used clearly isn't meant literally since if I meant it literally I actually wouldn't be able to begin to explain how wrong he was, which could imply many things such as: No common language to discuss the topic on. No understanding of the topic. A sudden emergency resulting in me never being able to continue the conversation, and others. You have done the exact same thing as Chesney and failed to understand a sentence written in a conversational manner. I can only assume you must be American or of nationality that is not natively English speaking.
@Akark thats not what he is saying. what I believe he is trying to say is that when you state "I cant even begin to explain how wrong you are" regarding someone elses opinion. you are stating that the persons opinion is invalid but yours is of greater importance in this forum. what chesney is trying to say is that, his opinion is not invalid, it is as valid as yours.
@chesney You really just don't get it do you. How do you talk to anyone about anything without getting worked up? People don't constantly write "in my opinion" when talking about something. I wrote "... can't even begin to explain how wrong you are." I didn't write "You are wrong, fact." You really need to work very hard on your communication skills; discussions are a set of opinions by default.
@Akark No, what annoyed me is that you called someone else wrong for thinking DA:O was BioWare's best game. It's like calling someone wrong for thinking blue is the prettiest color.
@chesney In all seriousness though everything I have said in my original comment is an opinion. Most sentences detailing an opinion don't begin with "In my opinion" because it's generally inferred that given this type of context - a review of a game - every comment in the comments section will be an opinion. All that has happened here is you disagree with what I have said and it has annoyed you enough to have a go. It's a good game, but it's not a 9.5.
@chesney A person cannot be "wrong" about an opinion. Grow up.
@Akark Well then, I "can't even begin to explain how wrong you are."
this and witcher 2 are the best 2 rpgs ive seen and played so far, they include good graphic, story and gameplay, not sure why is so fuc@#$ hard for other companies to do the same :(
Easily one of the greatest RPG made so far. Very hard to let go and has an amazing replay value due to the complex storyline.IMHO, the best RPG Bioware made.
Game is fantastic if you like lengthy, true rpg experiences. Ignore this palad guy's comment, some people cant appreciate art unless you can button mash to victory. I had the 360 version until I made some huge upgrades to my pc then I swapped for DA:Origins Ultimate Edition(Includes, DA:O and Awakening expansion and all 9 DLC packs) from Amazon.com. It's only 15 bucks!! or 25 digital and filled with 100's of hours of entertainment. PC version has A-LOT more combat since enemies pour at you constantly. Also looks and runs MUCH better and has a more tactical feel to it. So if you have not tried this game, or want to play a better version of it try the PC version. Best 15 bucks you ever spent.
Guys, if you want a real medieval RPG for your PC, with real moves, animations and the true 3D feeling of a real sword wielder or a respected powerful mage, get Gothic 2 Gold Edititon from gog (www.gog.com).
For your 10 $, it is the real thing: beside full voice acting and top notch humor, fight dragons, trolls, necromancers and demons in REAL TIME, using your carefully thought reflexes (no button mashing!), similar to a fighting game kinda Street Fighter, only in 3D.
Be the master of your own decisions, not the slave of rolling dice and bribed game industry hyping.
"By clicking on your target or pressing the attack button, you don't just swing a sword, but you approach your target and queue up your attack." Actually, the combat system, in relation with the difficulty, is the game's worst part. That alone makes the whole game unbearable, not to mention restraining and unrealistic. Queue up? No thanks, we don't like mechanical, rigid movements. We actually prefer to swing swords in real time, and dodge and counter and retreat whenever we please. Ever played Gothic 2? That is what fighting should be, dragons and everything, that is Combat. There, when you become strong enough, you one hit baddies that once made your life hell. "... battlefields explode with bright colors and raucous sound effects, and it's a lot of fun to switch back and forth between party members..." Actually, it's more eye damaging and strenuous. No, we don't all like to control each party member, it is time consuming and gets boring. Dragon Age 2 was a slight improvement in terms of combat, but not by much. Still, the old "queue up" stuffy stuff. It seems that, except Jade Empire, Bioware would be better to stick with SF games. At least from what they've shown so far.
@paladinjedi lol? so button smashing with ur finger is realistic in compare to holding a real sword??plz, its game and its storyline and char designs fully back up to whatever insignificant problem ur dressing, this and the witcher2 and the best rpg that this world has to offer so far, period.
@dreamchaserwu Real sword??? Don't make me laugh, swords from DAO are anything but 'real'. The old, obsolete and unrealistic D&D system is at its worst in DAO. No other game made such a huge mistake when combat is called for.
Using a 2 handed when playing female makes her look like a hunchback hag. Her animations and movements are clumsy and idiotic.
Fighting in larger groups makes people stumble upon one another ridiculously hindering themselves. That is not fighting, it is circus!
Storyline is cliche, imposed upon the player, and so are all characters; except Leliana. (The only thing that carried my endurance to the end of the game was Leliana's romance, NOT the story itself!...)
What button smashing are you talking about? I don't mean games like Diablo. Ever played Gothic 2, or Jedi Academy, or Kingdoms of Amalur? There you have to TIME your movements, while being able to dodge or block in real time. Not to mention the choreography is beautiful and totally the poor DAO's to dust.
Next time before you intend to reply, either use your Common Sense, or: p i s s o f f.
Stop addressing everything and everyone as "we." I disagree with just about everything you said, as do most commenters here. Say what you want, but do not EVER include me in it.
@manutdarsenal So, after all, this is the conduit of DAO sectarians... Don't hurt their graven image, or they'll hurt you...
Oh, well, as the product, its audience...
- Player Reviews: 741
- Game Universe:
- Dragon Age: Origins (PC, PS3, X360, MAC),
- Dragon Age: Origins - The Stone Prisoner (X360, PC, PS3),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Warden's Keep (X360, PC, PS3),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Return to Ostagar (PC, X360, PS3),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (PS3, X360, PC, MAC),
- Dragon Age II (X360, PS3, PC, MAC),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Darkspawn Chronicles (PS3, X360, PC),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Leliana's Song (X360, PC, PS3),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Golems of Amgarrak (PC, X360, PS3),
- Dragon Age: Origins - Witch Hunt (X360, PC, PS3)
- Number of Players: