Bioware have a history of creating legendary RPG’s such as Knights of the Old Republic and of course, Mass Effect.
Now their going back to there roots with a purely traditional RPG set in fantasy lands, cue the dancing elves.
Origins takes player on an epic adventure where you will become a Grey Warden, a legendary warrior.
At the start of the game you get to choose from 6 Origin stories which alter the rest of the game in a major way.
You can choose from Human,Elf or Dwarven stories and can go back and play another story if you don’t like the look of the one you chose.
But the race you pick will alter the way the gameworld see’s you, choose to be an Elf and many people will look down on you, often refusing to talk to you altogether.
If you have played Knights of the Old Republic will be very much at home play Dragon Age as many of the games mechanics are the same, in fact you could even say it’s the same game with a new skin.
Sadly Dragon Age offers nothing new, innovative or original which is surprising for Bioware who normally are on the very front of innovation in RPG’s.
But while Dragon Age offers nothing new to the genre it’s a perfect game for those who want a tradition RPG in every sense of the word.
After spending time in the games vast customisation section you begin your adventures by being conscripted into the Grey Wardens, a group of warriors who combat the Darkspawn who serve as the games enemies.
Combat is played out in a not-quite-real-time fashion, while the combat all plays out in real time their are a set amount of actions that can be performed in a minute, thus the combat has a almost turn based feel to it.
You can attack normally, though you will have no real say it the strike as the game performs it all for you based on your stats giving it a detached feeling.
Thankfully this is solved by the tactical nature of the combat, at any given time you have 4 people in your “party” and you can flick between them all at will.
You can also set up custom tactics for each party member.
This is all bolstered by the fact each member has specific skills such as being mages,2 handed swordsmen etc.
At everything but the lowest difficulty combat can only be won by smart use of your party and there abilities giving the combat a Real Time Strategy feeling as you command your little party.
This works brilliant while your with a party, but on occasion the game force’s you to fight by yourself making the combat a dull affair, thankfully these moments are rare.
Dragon Age does not use an entirely open world, instead you have a a Camp that acts as a hub.
Leave this camp and your show a map where you can pick your next location to travel to and off you go.
Sadly Dragon Age is plagued by an ancient RPG enemy, random battles.
These are mildly annoying skirmishes that randomly happen during travel and serve nothing more than an annoying way of delaying your trip.
Graphics are the only major let down in the game, while it looks pretty enough while you stand still once you start moving you notice the rather primitive and wooden character animations and rough edges on the scenery.
It’s a pretty game in it’s own way but it’s hardly going to impress anyone, however the facial animations during conversations are first rate which makes you wonder why the rest of the game is not as well animated.
There are a few stand out kill animations though which happen during combat as your character brutally finishes an opponent.
The game does have some beautiful cut scenes however, though these don’t use the in-game graphics they are very impressive.
Dragon Age is not a game for first time players of an RPG nor is it for people who hate large amounts of stats as this is very much a tradition,stat driven adventure.
While it offers nothing new or original it is a great tribute to Biowares roots and to the history of the RPG, providing a rich experience and compelling story.
It does have it’s problems such as random battles,below average graphics and combat will grown dull after a while, but it still provides a truly great adventure that will leave you wanting more….
6th playthrough anyone?
Rough textures and some wooden animations don’t impress.
Pretty enough in it’s own way but not up to current standards.
Nothing new or original but is still a deep,compelling game.
Dragon Age is a huge game that will demand several playthroughs.
A fine RPG and brilliant for the more hardcore RPG players out there, but not one for a brand new RPG player.
Compelling story and rich characters make for a great game, let down slightly by dull graphics and lack of anything new.