Games Review: Dragons Age: Origins
If, like everyone else, you’re looking to get value for money, then you can’t go wrong with Dragon Age: Origins. This epic RPG from the makers of Mass Effect will easily see you through the new term, if you let it.
The set up isn’t anything particularly new; the land of Ferelden, a fairytale place with the usual assortment of elves and dwarves, is under threat from a swarm of “Darkspawn”, a big mean army of ugly creatures. You choose to play as either a human, elf, or dwarf, then pick an origin story, which basically gives you 6 choices of how you spend the first hour of the game.
A short while into the game you join the Grey Wardens, a group of people sworn to stopping the Darkspawn from engulfing the land. From there on you’re let off the leash to do as you please in order to stop the threat, with tonnes of main quests and side missions. The story might seem simple, but it has a few twists and turns that make it an enjoyable tale.
You create your character at the start of the game, picking from 3 classes; Rogue, Mage, and Warrior. Each class plays out pretty much as you’d expect, a warrior dominates when it comes to melee combat, a mage has a mastery of spells, and a rogue is a quick, stealthy character. You’ll eventually get others to join your quest, with 3 characters accompanying you at a time, and they’ll have their own class, meaning you won’t miss out on the 2 classes you didn’t pick for your character. Again, pretty simple stuff.
Obviously, you’ll have to jump into some fighting sooner or later, which is where the mind begins to boggle if you don’t have a real understanding of how it works. When an enemy appears it’s a good idea to pause the action, go through each of your characters and assign them an attack, spell, or item to use for the fight. Combat doesn’t work like other action games, hit points fly out from characters as they fight on, spells freezing/stunning/shocking characters all to varying degrees of success depending on how you level up your characters, and how strong your enemy is.
It takes a while to get used to, but when you finally do get a grip, the system works well, making it easy to plan attacks and watch them play out.
Origins isn’t without its fair share of problems though. The game was intended for PC clearly, and controls for the PS3 and 360 suffer for it, missing a few options and often tying your fingers in a knot. It also looks like a dog’s dinner on anything but a high grade PC. Plus, the main character lacks a voice; a step back from Mass Effect.
This shouldn’t stop you from giving Dragon Age a chance however. This is a lengthy epic that’s well worth the price of entry.
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