November 10th, 2009

Dragon Age Origins

So I haven’t seen daylight since Tuesday. The reason? Dragon Age Origins. It’s the new role playing game from one of my all time favorite game developers, Bioware (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2). This is what they refer to as the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate franchise. For the uninitiated, Bioware was formed from the ashes of Black Isle, the company behind such mega hits as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, which are both essential games for any D&D fan.

The story is set in an epic fantasy world where you are a Grey Warden. Grey Warden’s are warriors, rouges, and mages that have dedicated their lives to beating back the blight and destroying the evil Shadowspawn. Wrapped up in the overall, “Let’s kick evil’s ass,” storyline we also have an intricate political plot complete with civil war, backstabbing games of noble houses, romance, and religion. All in all, if you’re looking for a very involved story, you’ve found one. I beat the game at 50 hours and there was still about 10% of the world still to explore.

So let’s talk about the game a bit. Origins is the focus of the title. You basically have the potential to make 6 completely different pasts for your character (12 if you include the variation of gender). The first few hours of the game is spent making a lot of decisions that will affect you throughout the entire experience. I can’t stress this enough, everything you do in this game affects what happens. Remember how that was promised to us in Fable and Fable 2 yet was not delivered on at all? Yeah, this game backs it up. I honestly think that it’s possible to have hundreds of different endings because so many little details make their way through to the end. Love triangles, friendships, not using certain characters enough, how you treat people, and what gifts you give someone will literally change everything. It honestly makes the characters feel a lot more real than most games have ever really accomplished.

The game play is similar to Knights of the Old Republic mixed with Final Fantasy XII. If you haven’t played either of these games then shame on you. Basically it adopts the gambit system from FF XII where you can customize the AI of your party so you can literally go on auto pilot during fights with the option of controlling each character individually. At the same time it retains the really simple battle mechanic of KOTOR. Basically it’s really simple with a lot of great customizable options.

The sound was great. All the effects were spot on and all the voices were great. Seriously, Tim Curry plays a character in it. Nuff said. The music was subtle and enhanced the story. There wasn’t anything super memorable from the soundtrack but it does the job it needs to do.

Graphically it’s good. I will say though that it’s not nearly as good looking as Mass Effect was and that game came out 2 years ago. So even though it looks rad there’s proof that Bioware can make a prettier game if they wanted to. I personally don’t feel that this hurts the game though. Mass Effect is probably the best looking game I’ve ever seen so meeting that bar is nearly impossible at this point. The blood affects are really cool though. After you get in a fight your character is literally covered in blood. It’s honestly pretty accurate and makes some of the conversations great when your party has blood splattered on their face.

So basically this game is great. I’m already gearing up to play it again just so I can see how different things are this time around. If you like role playing games you should really check this one out because I think you’re in for a treat. If you like it pick up the KOTOR games and Mass Effect as well. Mass Effect 2 comes out in a few months so playing the first one is a must.


Tell me what you think.

All content © 2009-2010 by Chronicles of the Nerds




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