Subm. Dragon Age: Origins

Discussion in '50 RPGs per Hour' started by Dragula, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    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.

     
  2. Wintermind

    Wintermind Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 21, 2011
    Actually, the biggest disappointment is that origins only interact with the story in a handful of places, and other than that It's the exact same game. Picking any of the noble origins just invovles you becoming a peasant or something, and you never get to be noble and lord over some medieval peasants. Nor can you strike fear into people by mentioning you're a wizard or the like. Hell, even being a dirty dirty elf people barely notice it.
     
  3. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Still writing this up, had work and stuff to do so I shall have it ready somewhat later. However, I disagree, some key moments in the game is affected by your origin.
     
  4. BigBoss

    BigBoss Your Local Scrub

    956
    Dec 24, 2012
    Never played it.
     
  5. Sicblades

    Sicblades Antediluvian as Feck
    Orderite

    Aug 28, 2008
    Yay for Draguling game reviews

    An Opinion I can trust!
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  6. Little Robot

    Little Robot sup Orderite

    Sep 29, 2010
    Was this the game that a lot of people hated or was that a different Dragon Age?

    Edit: I think I'm thinking of Dragon Age II, that was the one people got mad at Hepler for right?
     
  7. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Yeah Dragon Age II was despised all over.
     
  8. Wintermind

    Wintermind Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 21, 2011
    DA2 was universally shitty. DAO had it's good moments, but the origin never felt like it really impacted much other than a few extra bits of dialog. And I guess if you were a human noble you could run to be king or regent or whatever, but outside of that the game felt very, very samey regardless of your origin.
     
  9. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Most of the origins played out in the ending slide show, but some choices throughout the game was affected by your origin, and how you played it out.
    [spoiler:fd1031daa1]Choosing to become a blood mage could make you loose an ally, for example. [/spoiler:fd1031daa1]
     
  10. Wintermind

    Wintermind Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 21, 2011
    Still though, all the Origins didn't feel like they did much for the gameplay. In a world where elves are essentially second class citizens, being an elf doesn't penalize you at all.
     
  11. Sam Ecorners

    Sam Ecorners Vault Senior Citizen
    Orderite

    Jan 23, 2007
    Maybe I'll play through it one day. Tried it on the console, got bored by second town
     
  12. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign WHO DO YOU THINK THAT IS THERE? Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Nice write-up Dragula! Orderites know their shit.
     
  13. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    The Human origin has several impacts in the overall story, and the dwarven one has impacts in, where else, Orzammar. It's true that being an elf should get you a bit more bile from the average person, especially early on, but being a mage can change some things , especially when persuading NPCs. I don't think they intended the Origins to be game-defining, just a way to introduce you to the setting. I loved that there's evidence of the existence of all the Origins you didn't take over the game, but because a certain person wasn't there to bail their asses they died.
     
  14. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Elf or not, you are a grey warden, which gives you status anyway.
     
  15. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    This is till a great game, even if Dragon age 2 and 3 is utter shit.
     
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  16. Giax

    Giax It Wandered In From the Wastes

    147
    Aug 13, 2015
    One of my favourite games of all time.
     
  17. Aniki

    Aniki Just Works

    169
    Oct 9, 2015
    I would hate the game less if I didn't approach it as a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate. Come on Bioware, you can't spout shit like this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  18. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Party based real time with pause with long tactical battles against dragons? It's a spiritual successor to Baldurs Gate.
     
  19. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    DA:O looks more like a disabled foster brother than a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate.
    All the "tactical battles" consist of ordering your party members to shoot at the same target in order to get it killed as quickly as possible. Unlike in BG2, you won't find those intricate mage-to-mage battles demanding deep knowledge combined with memorizing of proper counter-spells on player's part in DA:O, this old DnD heritage has been replaced by waiting for cooldowns and mindless win-button smashing instead. As for the story, it's nothing but a monstrous cliche and plagiarism - [strike]Aragorn[/strike] human noble trying to reunite elves, dwarves, human mages and figters in order to stop endless waves of [strike]orcs[/strike] dark hordes? Tolkien must be rolling in his grave like a friggin propeller right now.
    4/10 for me at best, won't touch it again.
     
  20. Aniki

    Aniki Just Works

    169
    Oct 9, 2015
    And here I thought it was - a great story with a rich world along with party based real time with pause. I guess my expectations were just higher than others.