Dragon Age: Origins


posted 11/23/2009 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
One Page Platforms: PS3
I’ve just finished Dragon Age: Origins after spending several weekends with it. Sitting here, slightly bleary eyed from the multiple hours I’ve just spent fighting through to the last boss, I’m contemplating what the past-accumulated 50 hours has amounted to.

A good RPG relies on several key factors. First, there’s the storyline. So how does Dragon Age handle storyline compared to other RPGs? Well, let’s put it this way: after my high praise for the game in my preview that convinced a close friend of mine to pick the game up, we couldn’t stop comparing notes on what decisions we’d made throughout the game and how that ended up affecting the storyline. We were both fascinated by how drastically different some of our circumstances ended up being, which definitely made me want to go back to previous saves and try out a few options. I wont spoil any key elements of the storyline, but I will say that I’ve tried out my fare share of reloads.

Sure, the characters and cities themselves have really intriguing backgrounds, but what really makes the story unique is this influence that you have on it. Your story is your making. The decisions you make along your path have the potential to change the future of Ferelden. The way you interact with characters through conversation, quests, and your overall behavior will change your game. Who follows you in your party, their actions, and your relationships with them can all be dictated by your decisions.

The story isn’t just composed as an epic fantasy – it is also an elaborate tale of cities ravaged by the blight, but also political turmoil, corruption, race and classism, and all around distrust of each other. One play-through does not suffice to get the full experience. There are alternate endings, and then there are alternate stories. Dragon Age is the latter. It will seem like there are an endless amount of opportunities to make important decisions when playing the game.

So Dragon Age definitely has the story down. It’s interactive, engaging, all you could want to parallel a good gaming experience. How about combat? Combat is equally important for this game and, as I soon found out, potentially destructive. Now, to be clear, this is strictly because my experience was on the PlayStation 3. In my preview to the game, I spent quality time with my Elf Mage on the PC. The PC proved to be superior on not just the usual suspects – visuals and graphics, general performance – but also on the much lauded combat system.

Obviously you won’t have access to the classic Baldur’s Gate view, but at the same time I expected the same combat performances. Targeting was pretty abysmal, controls and commands were sometimes unresponsive, and there were many a lagging moments to disrupt my killing sprees. I even had a similar problem as Kotaku did where the game practically froze on one major battle related quest at Redcliffe. No more enemies were being produced, and I ran everywhere the map would let me run to, but to no avail. I was stuck in limbo, and had to revert to my last save.
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