Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dragon Age - Origins

Bioware delivers another fantastic hit RPG.
Review By Chris Leonaides

Dragon Age: Origins is another fine achievement by BioWare. They are known for an innovative choice system and for remarkably detailed games. DA doesn't disappoint, though bits here and there feel lacking. 

As far as story goes, I have not played a game with a deeper more engaging story before or since. A key feature of DA is a choice system that has influence both on your party characters and on certain plot outcomes. All of the characters you can recruit (and even some you cannot) have rich well drawn backstories, and sometimes even demons of their own. Choices you make through the classic dialog option box can have drastic effects on how you complete your objectives. 

Several times throughout the game the choices you make have a direct effect on who comes to your aide in the final battles. Here a decent replay value starts to emerge (I'll talk a little more about this later). In this way you are given a great deal of control over your own destiny. Or do you? The one detractor from the DA story is the distinct rigidity of quests. Each time you play you must complete the same sets of quests regardless of the customized outcomes. Given the scope of the game however, this fault can be mostly forgiven. 

The environment is superbly crafted. All game areas, regardless of importance show the same attention to detail. All of the maps are also huge as compared to any game out before or since. Adventuring and exploring the nooks and crannies of the storyworld leaves nothing to be desired. The one drawback may be that some players might dislike the extreme expansiveness. The history and side quests really help you get a feel for Ferelden and its inhabitants, but may feel overwhelming to some players who were caught off guard. 

The huge game world and variety of origin stories for the three classes results in fair replay value, falling short of anything truly fantastic. The main problem here is the railroading that you experience along the way in order to deliberately advance the plot.  

Gameplay runs smoothly. DA feels like a PC game and sports a PC exclusive interface. The tactics system allows for easy spec-ing of characters to accurately perform their functions. This system performs admirably, leaving little to be desired besides maybe a quicker reactions time in certain situations. 

The graphics and sounds transit very well overall. Design was well thought out and executed. Although, with BioWare working on the project, anything less would have been atypical.

Overall, an extremely enjoyable RPG. Dragon Age: Origins boasts an impressive storyworld with average replay value. Worth every penny.

SYSTEM: PC. PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Mac OS X


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