My word, this game is massive ! Dragon Age : Origins comes from Bioware, the company who brought you Mass Effect, which explains a lot of the familiraity between the 2 games. I loved Mass Effect, and this is essentially the same, however instead of guns, spaceships and aliens, you have swords, shields and dragons.
Like with Mass Effect, each decision you make throughout the game effects how people treat you. Thinking back over the last month, I’m not too sure how much would have changed (story wise) if I’d have done anything different, and I may be wrong, but the story does seem a little linear, and can see it only 4 possible endings, however I might be totally wrong.
The story starts with a huge battle, you getting promoted to a Grey Warden, and spend the game getting ready for the final battle. The every growing map of Ferelden is split into a handful of key locations, Redcliffe, Brecilian Forest, Denerim, Lothering, Frostback Mountains, and Circle Tower. Each location is filled with vendors, quest givers, and main story plot, and potential companions. If done correctly you will finish each location with a companion and Ally against the Darkspawn. These companions consist of Rogue, Warriors or Mages, you do however start with your ever faithful dog.
The story of the games was extremely engrossing, and found myself caring about the characters, which made it hard when you had to make some key decisions within the game. Each character has their own view of particular situations and key decisions throughout the game, which will either get you plus or minus respect with them, and unfortunately you can’t please everyone all of the time. Charactures like Sten and Morgan seem to have more of an evil natures, meaning they would prefer it if you were a little selfish, and just quickly got the job done, where the like of Wynne would prefer if you helped out everyone.
You enter each area and can choose a team of 4 people (I personally found 1 x Rogue, 2 x Warriors and 1 x Mage worked the best), and this team stays with you until you leave the area. I would however like to point out, that if you don’t like the team you’re with, your stuck with them for around 8 hours, either that or you can leave the area, head back to the team camp and try again. The control scheme is a little strange, and took a lot of getting used to. As mentioned above, you have 4 characters in your team, which can be controlled independently, the other 3 chatacters your not controlling will work thier way through the “Tactics” you’ve given them.Essentially you can “program”, what you’d like each character to does when left to his/her own devices, eg, When Health < 50% use Health Potion, or When Enemy has xxxxx armour, use xxxxxx ability, which is pretty awesome to be honest, and done right can make a massive different to the game.
Each area has it’s own story arc, it’s own “instance”, and “end of level boss”, and to be honest, each of these areas feels like a full game in it’s own right.
The game itself is a “levelling up” type game, and once completed I was at level 21. Leveling up gives you talent points to spend on Strength, Dexterity, Willpower, Cunning and Constitution, these will assist you in battle and allow you to wear higher spec’d clothing.
The clothing, I thought this was quite limited to be honest, although there are different Tiers (only 7), you tend to get the same gear, with same base stats, however with slight modifers, eg +1 Willpower, or +20 Cold Protection.
Weapons as you would expect range from daggers to 2 handed longswords with everything in between. 1 thing I did find quite interesting was that fact that you could dual spec each of your characters, allowing them to carry, eg, Sword and Shield, and Bow and Arrow, which became very useful throughout the game.
I do have a few slight annoyances with the game, firstly bag space !….I suggest that if anybody is reading this, and not as yet started the game, then spend 5 minutes or so having a google for bags, as you can’t just buy these from any vendor, and you can only buy them at certain times, eg the Quartermaster in Ostager has 2, 1 before and 1 after a battle, however if you don’t pick these up, you can’t get back to him later, this alone will lose you 20 slots for you bag. I spend the majority of the game with 100 slots, and I was forever destroying items.
Sencondly, the DLC, as with Mass Effect, if you want to play the DLC, do this BEFORE you complete the game, as once you’ve completed, you’ve completed, there is no free roam option when you’ve done. You could however load up an older save same, then select them from the world map, but this seems a little pointless, and the beneficial drops you get, are pretty worthless if you’ve already completed the game.
The Stone Prisoner, gives you a hard as nails Golem called Shale, who you’ll be able to use as part of your team, his stone body mades him a great tank
Warden’s Keep gives you an unlimited storage box, which is a godsend ! as 100 slots was just not enough !
Return to Ostagar gave a handful of decent Tier 5 drops, however these were pretty useless when I did this after completing the game.
Thirdly, the bad voice acting and accents….granted I wouldn’t be able to do a better job, but the accent for Leliana was cringe worthy.
Fourthly, why the hell wasn’t this a 4 player co-op ! This would have been awesome !
I could type about this game all day, but hopefully this gives you a brief overview, please feel free to comment if you have any questions, as the game is huge.
Approx Time taken to beat – 45hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:5/5]