Dragon Age Origins ReviewSince the many years that Bioware's Dragon Age established itself as a popular RPG series, I have all but seen and heard of the addictive and amazing story found in the series. At the time I favoured the galactic setting of Mass Effect and it's 3rd person shooter/RPG style. However, on a odd summer day in the midst of 2014, with a spare amount of change in my wallet there it was on the store shelf. Dragon Age Origins for £6.00, the offer seemed reasonable so I took the chance and bought it. Ever since I came home and put the disc into my xbox 360 I have been angry and frustrated. Not with the game, but with myself; for not giving this game the chance all those years ago. Dragon Age: Origins is one of the most addictive RPG's you'll find on the pre-gen consoles, with so much content on the disc and an enriching story you can't help but feel the game is worth every penny. Story The story for Dragon Age Origins is deep and filled with an exceptional amount of lore. The story follows you as you journey through the land of Fereldan as a member of the Grey Wardens, a society of protectors set to defend the world from the Blight and the Darkspawn horde. You play as one of the newest recruits into the order and must journey the land in search of aid from the different races and factions, all to join together to fight back the Blight and save Ferelden! You will find yourself in a world that feels alive and enriched with so many great stories to tell. You can even have your own origin story within the world which helps personify your characters and their story even more. Your choice of race whether it's a Human Noble, Dalish Elf, or Commoner Dwarf will all have slight variation on the game in some areas which is also another bonus as it again helps make your story unique to those you might have in other playthroughs. Companions feel real and their personality and motivations have great affect on how you might choose to play. This isn't like Mass Effect where the Good Choice and Bad Choice are shown in front of you. Each of your companions have different perspectives and ways of seeing things, so it forces you to consider how your choices in the game might impact them as well as you. If your companions approve of your way of interacting with the situation their approval rating will go up, if they don't it will go down. It's this sort of system that helps you actually identify and relate with these characters as you get to learn why they see things in their own ways and whether you would benefit from having them at your side as friends, or even as lovers if you really feel a bond with them. You have Morrigan, a witch of the wilds. Daughter to a powerful elder witch who is out to aid you on your quest in order to stop the blight. Morrigan is one of the more favoured characters in the game for me, hre ideals while harsh are logical and understandable and her character is made that much better by the good writing and well done voice acting, There's also Allister, another fellow Grey Warden out to help you on your quest. He's smart, cocky and loves to joke. His loyalty to the Grey Wardens is unquestioned but he's also struggling to find his place in this war, and it's up to you to help him. There's plenty more companions to interact with and develop interests with and they all have great personalities for you to learn about and understand. Gameplay The gameplay is where the game does lack a little. I've never been too much of a fan of auto-attack combat as it kinda makes me feel as though I'm not really taking part on the combat more or less telling someone to go attack someone else. I mean how much can you really get involved with the battles your in when you're not even pulling your sword or firing your bow. It's not something the really ruins the game as there are many other games that benefit from auto-attack systems but for me it kinda makes the gameplay feel repetitive. Although one of the major saving graces for combat is the abilities and powers you have at your disposal. With each level you gain you gain skill and attribute points that you are required to place in the respected stats. After allocating your points you get to select abilities and powers that you can use throughout combat. Some powers and abilities are unique based on the classes you pick and they all have their benefits. Warriors can take up abilities that benefit their use of swords and shield where as mages skill tree are specifically styled to allow them multiple powers which they can focus on in order to conquer the battlefield. Whether it's stat changes or fire balls or explosions, powers and abilities will always give you an extra hand on in combat. Interacting with characters can be interesting as you're presented with a good selection of dialogue choices to use but it's worth to notice that you kind of feel out of it as your character doesn't really speak or have a voice in the dialogue interactions. It's merely a matter of selecting which line to say and the other characters will respond to it with their own dialogue. I mean it's strange cause you can choose in the character creator the style of voice your character has when shouting out lines during combat. But when in conversations there isn't any audio dialogue for you, just text. Weaponry and equipment are in a great range for Origins too, with an extended amount spread out across the whole game. All weaponry and equipment is rated through tiers. Each tier of a weapon is built up with a stronger resource and material. The highest in the current base game being Dragonbone which is ranked at tier 7. The range of weapons you can wield in the game is massive too, with the option of using two-handed axes, hammers, greatswords, one handed swords, daggers, bows and staffs all within your arsenal. Upgrading your characters and team members skill trees is rather extensive too. You have a wide range of areas to apply skill points to in order to improve the way your characters interact in combat, conversation, trap making, poison making or even herb making. There are such a massive amount of skills and abilities to upgrade your character to, and while great that you have so many options....it's a bit too much. I at times found myself so overwhelmed with all these abilities and skill trees that I felt applying 3 points between all of them was really hard. But then in some cases some abilities are less important than others so the choice doesn't always feel serious in the long run. Presentation Now being honest visuals and presentation aren't the games strong point. The game is a very big game and it seems to put more of it's focus on the story and the settings than the actual polish and design. A game of todays standards the presentation isn't anything to be admired, it's good, it can render some impressive models and moments. But the graphics still feel messy and a bit bloaty in a lot of areas and when dealing with cutscenes which render a lot of character the game can slow down or even crash due to the heavy amount of work required on the games graphics. Sound wise the game performs a lot better, with an awe inspiring soundtrack that I am currently hunting down to add to my personal collection. I mean just listen to this and say you don't find this music inspiring Dragon Age Origins is one of those games that deserves your time and attention, as you get to benefit from a lot of great storytelling and gameplay from a game series that is brilliant in it's opening stride. What's that? What about Dragon Age 2? We'll leave that misfire for another time and another place.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5