Dragon Age: Origins, 2011 Developer: Bioware Publisher: Electronic Arts Availble on: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 Where to buy?: Origin Leliana: "I am a woman and I reserve the right to be inconsistent!" The world is going to shit, again. This time by ferocious darkspawn, demons from the depths below are climbing out to overrun humanity. And per usual Biowarian story writing you are the only one that can stop them. Go you! The game is heavily focused on the different origins your character can have, a well fed dwarven noble, an elf living in the forest, or maybe one of those poor city elves that are treated like rats. Depending on which origin you choose the story will take some different turns at certain points. I do not claim to have completed the game as every origin, however, I have done three of them, the dwarven noble, the human noble, and the human mage. All three do offer different stories, and even if the game, in the broader sense is the same quest for glory, the small details make replays more fun. Just to give a small example, and minor spoilers, the human noble origin starts out with his family being betrayed by a former ally, burning the estate down and forcing the PC to flee with the warden Duncan, basically he is conscripted to fight the blight with no say in it whatsoever, this is where you define your character. Can you see past the treachery and dedicate your life to eradicating the darkspawn or is it all a quest to gain more power and take out revenge on the culprit? The story has all the fantasy clichés you can ask for, but it is solid in all its genericness. Go on an epic quest to change the world, however, where it shines is in its individual quests, where the moral ambiguity really shows off. The whole journey is about means to an end, where you have to decide what will benefit mankind in the long and short term. Throughout your journey this feeling of impending doom is constantly breathing down your neck, and you get quite caught up in the action and the choices you are forced to make for the greater good. You take on the role of a warden, wardens are the historical defenders against the blight, the blight is the darkspawn. Your sole goal of the game is to gather allies and to eventually have an epic showdown with the demons and send them back to the hell that spawned them. This can be accomplished in a different set of manners depending on which allies you pick up on the way. The game is open ended and you can go anywhere you want right off the bat, and the allies can be recruited in a different order every play through. You will encounter villages, dungeons, cultists and the capitol of the kingdom. This is a modern classic because it is one of the few recent Bioware titles with solid combat mechanics, solid writing and a great music track. The combat is RTwP and some of the encounters are quite fun and as the name suggests, here be dragons! The class system is mostly good, even though it is fairly unbalanced at times and you feel some classes really are quite useless and tend to stick to some no matter how many playthroughs you do but most of them offer interesting and unique approaches to the different encounters. The game has level scaling, with a catch, an area will scale to the level you are when you first encounter it, and then stay that way. So if something is too hard you can come back later, and the area will be scaled to the level where you first went there. This has both pros and cons as some equipment also scales with the area and when you come back the loot might be too bad for you have you leveled up too much. If you are one of those that claims RPGs can only be a true RPG if there is turn based combat, unforgiving encounters and dungeon crawling where you have to draw the map yourself, you might be slightly disappointed. People that do not enjoy generic fantasy settings might also be disappointed, this is elves, dwarves and demons, with a mature there, racism, rape and lot's of blood, which, after a while get's rather silly. Think the Black Knight from Monty Python. The game has its shortcomings, but I would still recommend this over Mass Effect any day, when discussing Bioware games. Named the spiritual successor to Baldurs Gate, all in all, this is a solid RPG with great mechanics, generic story and interesting moral choices where nothing is black or white. If you have the opportunity to pick it up, do so.