Dragon Age: Origins. Done.

I completed Dragon Age: Origins last Saturday evening, almost exactly two weeks after I purchased it (or rather traded in the PS3 version for the PC one) with a total of just under 50 hours clocked. Yep, I had a pretty intense Christmas holiday with it, exactly what I needed. I wanted a great single player game to get stuck into and I got one.

Without a doubt, Dragon Age is a fantastic single player game, right up there with Mass Effect, BioShock, Sins of a Solar Empire and golden oldies like C&C, Civilisation II and Final Fantasty VII (I’m just listing the games that I got truly hooked on and consumed my life for weeks). One of the highlights of it for me was having so much freedom of choice and ability to truly roleplay the character I wanted. I decided right from the start to be the “bad” guy or, well, the “misunderstood” guy who would do anything to end the Blight, to any extent. It made sense to me that a character who lost his family would be driven to the depths of darkness and lose his moral compass. He was also bisexual but that’s another blog post.

After playing MMORPGs for almost 18 months solid since playing another single player RPG, it was very refreshing and welcoming to be given so much choice in my character’s direction and influence. Dragon Age doesn’t hold your hand and prevent you from making bad choices. In fact, some of the decisions I made probably made the game harder for myself in the long run (such as killing a certain magical companion instead of accepting their offer to join my party) but they were my choices to make. I’m glad to say that I really tried to roleplay my character and not just min/max my stats and take the easy, most competitive routes.

Of course, DA:O isn’t without it’s flaws and there are a few biggies that will certainly niggle at you along your journey. For starters, the AI is shockingly bad and sometimes your companions operate just fine on their own and sometimes they act like they’ve had a frontal lobotomy. The selection of companions available is also very poor and you end up with something like 6 Warriors but only 2 Rogues and 2 Mages to choose from and it’s a little frustrating. The game is also incredibly long which, yes, most people will see as a good thing but to me to started to drag, especially around the Dwarven areas. It was a slog to finish (but worth it in the end).

My hat goes off to BioWare for turning out yet another excellent game. I have to give them kudos for making such an excellent RPG that hit the mark on so many levels and truly defined and highlighted the power and point of roleplaying games again. They’re all about character and story and Dragon Age has that in spades.

Suffice to say that I’m now hyped up for Mass Effect 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic more than ever.

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17 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    Hehe! I like DA:O, too. The dog, the son of Fergus, the scenario (reminded me of G.R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire mixed with Jordan’s Wheel of Time), I liked it a lot.
    The graphics style needs some time to get used to – too much blur in the background, great faces and armors, but weak environments.
    The story is the strength of the game, no doubt. It is also it’s drawback, as it slows you down considerably, sometimes it felt a bit like an interactive movie.

    This actually made me think and concerned about SWTOR – I wonder why I should go online to listen to longish dialogue. Why do I need other players then? And I bet, if one can skip the story cutscenes, people will urge you to do it, just like in Guild Wars and all other games before.

    • Gordon says:

      I don’t think SW:TOR will have the huge amount of dialogue that Dragon Age does. I think it will be more like EQ2 (and it worked great in that). I’m just hoping that SW:TOR has the great sense of roleplay and characterisation that DA:O has.

  2. Longasc says:

    If you get Fallout 3, try to get the “complete” edition. Especially “Broken Steel” also enhances the main game/storyline considerably, especially combat is more enjoyable.

  3. Guaka says:

    Dragon Age: Origins; installing…

  4. Andrew says:

    Only 50 hours? Wow – you must have either used an efficient walkthrough or else skipped most of the side quests! I’m at 44hrs in, and working on the 4th of the warden treaties!

  5. VGM.uk says:

    Have you looked at the DAO website lately? If not – you may want to go check the expansion: Awakening, coming out around March 16th 2010.

  6. Rose says:

    I also enjoyed the game although obviously it isn’t perfect.. my main grumble was that I couldn’t chose a formation style for my team they either stood where I put them, or ran away to kill something in the far distance. I am not a fan of pause move pause move so I prefer to try to bot as efficiently as possible. I played a rogue as my main but now I have rolled a mage to see how different a story we can make with her.

  7. Elleseven says:

    I have been enjoying single player games lately too. For Christmas I received a PSP. (The purple Hanna Montana edition LMAO)…(the Hannah game I wouldn’t recommend btw). I have been having so much fun playing Assasins Creed 2 and a corny old fave Ape Escape. DAO I will be getting next (ya talked me into it) and Final fantasy for my DS. I would love other recommendations for PS3 or other gaming systems too.

    • Gordon says:

      For PSP I could recommend God of War and Final Fantasy Tactics. For the DS, GTA: Chinatown Wars and Advance Wars. For the PS3, well, I love fighting games like Tekken 6 and Street Fighter IV but you can’t go wrong with BioShock, Little Big Planet, Dead Space, inFamous, GTA IV, Fallout 3, Dragon Age: Origins (although the PC version is far better and easier to control) or Batman: Arkham Asylum. I also heard Uncharted 2 was great

      • Oh, I love Advance Wars. I have since the first one on the GBA. I need to get some of the DS ones.

        *heart* Turn-based strategy.

        • Gordon says:

          I didn’t care much for the latest Advance Wars. They changed the style to make it more “mature” and “dark” but it didn’t really do it for me. I kinda liked the manga, tweeny-bopper style of the originals.

          Can’t remember if the DS has a Final Fantasy Tactics game but you should defo pick one up if it does.

  8. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I love Dragon Age, but I felt the same way about the AI for your party. Even with fine tuning the tactics they still sometimes ran around with their pants on their heads instead of doing what I needed them to do.

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