Dragon Age: Origins Review

Site Score
10.0
Good: Story, Want to be friends?, Believable World, Choose your path, Lasting Appeal
Bad: Graphics
User Score
9.7
(15 votes)
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The company that brought many great RPGs such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect have returned, and with a vengeance.  Biowares newest game Dragon Age: Origins is now on the shelves, but how does it hold up?

With Dragon Age Origins, we return to a simpler time of fire and steel, rather than futuristic setting as previous games.  Though those other RPGs may have been great hits, will Biowares newest titles hold a candle to the others?  Let’s take a look at the Hots and Nots!

HOT

Story
Just like with many of Biowares other titles, the story if Dragon Age: Origins is incredible.  With strong details to cover the main story, and even details to back up all the side quests, you will never feel like you are doing a quest for nothing.  Every time you take on a new quest, you will want to see it through to the end to see how everything turns out.  Not only are you driven to finish the quests, you can finish them however you want.  For instance, you need to talk a mercenary into helping you defend a town, however he is very reluctant.  You can bribe him, persuade him, or if you have no chance, simply kill him and take his items to help yourself.  Moments like this happen all throughout the game, even in the very beginning.  Did I mention the beginning?  Almost all races and classes have their own unique start, meaning the start of the game will never be the same twice (except in one or two cases).  The race and class you pick from the start will also affect many of the quests you take, and even how people react to you.

Want to be friends?
Every action has a reaction in this game, and this holds true even in your group.  With all characters that can join your party, you will have certain dialogues with them that will determine how they feel about you.  The effected meter in this part of the game is called the Approval Rating.  So when these dialogues pop up, be sure to make your choices wisely to get that character to like you more.  The more they like you, the better they are in combat.  Even If you make all the wrong choices, you can always bombard the party member with gifts until they like you.  Watch out though, there are a few gifts that some party members will not enjoy.  This is all helps boost the character development in the game, and can even spark a relationship or two.

Believable World
As stated before, every action you make has a reaction with the game.  Being how your party relates to you, or even how other NPCs in the game react to you.  After playing for awhile, you will begin to find yourself being very careful with every choice you make.  You begin to care about the world and its inhabitants and not want anything to go wrong.  This is another trademark of Biowares great RPG making, and the ability to make an amazing world.

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Choose your path
Whatever class you pick in the game has multiple ways they can be played.  You will always find yourself wanting to go back and play the game again, even if you pick the same class.  For instance, when you play a mage, you can choose to become a healer, master of elements, or even have the ability to draw power from your enemies.  The same can be said for the other two class’s warriors and rouges.  Through leveling up, you can choose to increase your stats in any way you see fit and can make your character play however you choose.

Lasting Appeal
You will find yourself coming back to play the game again and again with all the variety to choose from.  Choosing different races and classes will make you want to play the game at least twice, but so will all the quests.  There are multiple ways to complete and end quests, and you will wonder what would happen if you went a different route with a certain quest, making you want to go back and play again.  There are also multiple endings to the game, and you will defiantly want to treat yourself to all of them!

NOT

Graphics
Though the graphics in Dragon Age: Origins are not horrible, they do fail in comparison to games such as Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Mass Effect.  You will find yourself staring at awkward features of characters such as fingers, and even some facial expressions.  The games environments look great; it is just some simple things that you see throughout the game that you will have a hard time trying to ignore.  There are also some frame rate issues that occur here and there, but nothing major.

VERDICT

Editor's Choice AwardDragon Age: Origins is one of the best RPGs to come out this year.  With it’s amazing story telling, believable characters and world, and the almost endless ways you can play the game, there is no doubt this is a must own.  Even after completing the game over three times, you will find yourself going back for more and more.  You can also expect to see a lot of DLC coming out for the game over the next year, which will make you want to play the game even more!

Dragon Age: Origins Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 15 ratings
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10 Comments

  1. Chance
    November 14, 2009, 9:09 PM

    I had a real hard time with the combat interface on PS3, when it comes to giving split-second orders to individual party members.

    Switch off to Wynn for some heals, give Alastair an order, tell Morrigan to do an AOE, and by the time I switch back to my MC she’s either burned all her major cooldowns, been beaten half to death or both.

    Maybe I’m missin’ something, but there seems to be no way to truly pause the action and give orders to each party members.

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  2. Mark
    November 15, 2009, 5:24 AM

    You’re missing the PC version :P

    More seriously, there *should* be a button to pause the game and issue orders, it’s like that on the PC and Xbox360 so I suspect the PS3 as well. Check your manual :)

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  3. Half-Breed
    November 16, 2009, 11:10 AM

    no this game definitely does not deserve a perfect 5. It’s nowhere near perfect. I don’t personally care for reviews on this site because most of the writers are illiterates that need better editing and writing skills. And you give out editors choice like candy. This is a joke of a videogame site.

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  4. James Rickle
    November 16, 2009, 12:30 PM

    Half-Breed: I know what you are getting at, but this is defiantly one of those games that are not for everyone. My reasoning for the 5/5 I feel is justified because, even with its graphical hic-ups, the sheer fact that you get much more than your money’s worth in the package. Most games now will last you eight or so hours, where as this title you can play almost endlessly with all the choices you can make. Truly I would give the game a 9.5, but since the review scale on JPS is on a five scale bases, I would have to round up for a 5/5. Another thing you must remember is that all editors here at JPS are strictly nonprofit. We have many other things to do in our day to day lives, so our reviews may not be exactly perfect. What we aim to do here is give out personal opinions on games, so that other players can have an idea of how another player who plays games for fun, not for profit, views a title.

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  5. Alex
    November 17, 2009, 9:31 AM

    Hi James,

    Firstly, very nice review, a big thank you for that…
    Although i do have something of an opinion id like to leave behind.
    The graphics, atleast as i see it, are very nice and these “awkward features” you mentioned that will be hard to ignore…… Well lets just say i dont even take notice of them due to the involvement and sheer excitedness. I am under normal circumstances an FPS player (cod6, 1.6, css, etc) and i have played 6 years worth of WoW, but I truly believe this game is the best that i have ever played. It really captivated me entirely and in every aspect. My score would need no rounding, 10/10 in my eyes.

    Anyhow, great review already finished the game twice, going on 3!!!

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  6. BashAUHeadin
    November 19, 2009, 1:37 PM

    Hey folks, could not agree more with the reviewer. I played Baldur’s Gate 1+2, Neverwinter Nights 1+2, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, etc… many of the best RPGs in the last 10-15 years. This one tops them all in my opinion on many fronts. It simply has the best gameplay, story, and voice acting.

    I should mention though that I recommend the PC as the platform you play this on, with 5.1 surround. The PC has some nice perks, like an overhead strategic view during tactical battles. The control interface also is easier to navigate with a mouse and keyboard. I have tried this game on both PC and console (although not a complete playthrough on the console I’ll admit) and battles in particular feel gimped.

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  7. william
    November 21, 2009, 11:05 PM

    ok, having been a fan of most bioware games, and knowing how many real time hours have been put into this game, i’d say half-breed is an idiot. this is a genre enhancing game. this took what was started with older, more unsophisticated games, and then built upon them. the sheer amount of things to do in this game is mind boggling. well over a billion man hours were put into this game, why a trolls comment was allowed to remain, and even answered makes no sense to me. the rules are the rules: don’t feed the trolls. this isn’t a game for fps enthusiasts, the problem is since bioware recently made mass effect, a third person shooter rpg, some folks figured this would be similar. you cannot bake a apple pie and expect strawberry shortcake, the two are completely separate.
    this game is a stellar RPG. i’ll say it again.. R P G. if you dont like rpgs, just shut the hell up. stay outta our genre, as we give you a wide berth with your casual “lets point and click a billion times, or hold down the button” stupid fps games, that fanboys like half-breed play.
    this is a good game if you like rpgs; if you liked NWN, NWN2, Baldurs’ Gate, etc, you will love this game. get the pc version, as consoles can suck my nutsack. no true rpg enthusiast would want to miss this title.
    Additionally, if you find you DONT like it, you are just an idiot, who cannot appreciate a good thing when you see it.
    aww, dont cry! it’ll be ok. go complain on the wow forums half-breed. i’m sure you’ll find plenty of trolls who’d just love for you to whine about something to them.
    we personally dont think a joke of a reply such as yours should even be taken seriously.

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  8. Mr. Sexybeast
    November 22, 2009, 11:06 PM

    I’ve already played this game, and though I haven’t played it for any console, I can say it’s a PC game without a doubt. The biggest downfall I see with the game, though, is the load times. I doubt know if I’m just impatient, or my computer is slow, (it does meet the games requirements, by the way. I’ve checked) but they seem to be slow.

    Also, I really do love how every single action can change the games ending entirely. One little sentence can completely change who’s side you’re fighting on. This game is truly great; excellent work, BioWare.

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  9. rippedoutof60bucks
    January 1, 2010, 8:41 AM

    I just don’t understand this. This game is HORRIBLE on all fronts. well the story is deep i’ll give it that much, but other then that everything about the game is boring, stale, tedious.

    1. battles are fixed, levelling up will go on the game’s accords enemies will not respawn.
    2. nothing is explained well, i often found myself running through area’s i’ve already been in and with all the enemies already defeated you’ve got nothing to distract you from the horrible almost last-gen graphics. the envirements do NOT look pretty, it’s all brown yellow-ish cardboardcut rubbish. not even close to decent.
    3. you’ll often hear your character repeat the same phrase over and over in combat.
    4. Loot is a joke, you’ll soon be overburdened by stuff you can almost all discard.

    the list can go on forever. I just don’t understand this at ALL!! maybe all the fanboy’s live in denial about this game refusing to deny the horrendous problems this game has. Not even close to being the best rpg of 2009. worth 20 bucks at most.

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  10. Sigyn
    January 3, 2010, 9:55 PM

    I have a brand new Alienware laptop. Set on high performance with the graphics cranked up and wide screen, this game is beautiful. The 360 graphics are awful, and the average computer probably would have the same result.

    If you find it boring, it’s probably not the game for you. I admit openly, it is not a game that everyone will enjoy or have the patience for. The quests require you to think them out and talk to everyone, explore everywhere, and read a lot. Some people prefer it to be spelled out for them. I also like the fact that things don’t respawn, and you can’t go grind levels. That’s the whole point of the game.

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