Review: Dragon Age: Origins

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After playing a good set of hours in this game, I have to say that J.R.R. Tolkien's personal KOTOR is filling out nicely.

Fantastic game. The best rpg that I've played in many years. I highly recommend this game to any rpg fan. You will not be disappointed.

This review reads almost exactly like a review for a special edition Baldur's Gate 2 with shiny, new, 3d graphics.

Lord TOG is pleased.

I will be purchasing this game as soon as I get my new gaming rig setup today.

CK76:

TsunamiWombat:

CK76:
There use to be a site that helped know what settings your PC could run a game at, anyone remember it?

Can you RUN it?

http://cyri.systemrequirementslab.com/srtest/

Dragon Age isn't up yet though.

I got thise game for PC yesterday and mine is beefy enough to run it on max. 1. This game is amazing. 2. This game is huge (the install took like 20 minutes or more). 3.THIS GAME IS AMAZING!

That is it, usually how long does it take to get a title up?

Or, do you mind telling me what specs of your PC are to compare my own.

says my cpu isn't good enough...I'll show them

The sting at lifeless Bioware games made my heart bleed a bit.

Then I remembered NWN1 and went off to find some bandages.

It seems my computer can run it.... But then it was apparently a certainty that it could run NWN2 and that was a mess of gigantic loading times and dipping framerates in outdoor environments AND IT WAS STILL UGLY.

Why no demo? Demo where?

vivaldiscool:

CUnk:
If I hated Mass Effect will I hate this? Excessive inventory management and constant equipment reassessment annoys the hell out of me.

I guess with DA:O I won't be riding any elevators or cruising around a late 90's-era landscape in a Big Trax. But do I have to put up with party members dragging me into unwanted conversations to tell me uninteresting facts about their past lives?

Sounds like you just don't like RPGs bro. Half those are things players look for in a game.

Haven't played it yet, I'd assume there a very high amount of conversation and quartermastery. I sincerely doubt there will be vehicle sections, don't know about loading times.

RPGs are what I play primarily. But I'm mainly interested in the ones that let me explore. If there's going to be a lot of dialog I prefer something that's well written, somewhat interesting, and doesn't feel forced. Good example: The Witcher. Bad example: Mass Effect. Maybe Mass Effect got better later in the game but I gave up after 20 hours or so of playing.

failed the canyourunit test but I'm playing it on high with no problems

yet again I am denied a dwarf mage, but the game is amazing nonetheless

Thanks for the review I'm planning on getting this.
Definitely my kind of game.

A brilliant review, Mr Pitts. A very detailed approach; "critical" but not "happy-new-game-vibe killing". You even considered the length of the game, which I think should be a standard consideration for any game review. The only thing I think you might have missed was the system requirements for the game, but they are a quick Google search away for most of us anyway.

Anyone who hasn't yet bought this should invest in it asap. It's an awesome game.

I'm actually a major fan of the sort of long distance travel system Dragon Age seems to have over "open world" games. This is because I feel like I'm traveling without having to do the boring parts of traveling, or the "teleportation" feeling of quick travel. Let me explain:

In games with travel systems like Kotor and Mass Effect, you get the sense of travel through your spaceship. You select a destination planet and whoosh off you go, without any tedious exploration of empty game environments, but doesn't seem artificial or cheaty like instant travel.

Obviously the spaceship doesn't work in fantasy, for which I think the best system is something like Fallout 1 and 2's. Seeing your marker move on the map, and the hour/date/month/year steadily changing you get the sense that you are travelling a long distance over a treacherous wasteland. The varied and region based (i.e. you only meet Hubologists near SF, Super Mutants in the south, Enclave patrols near Navarro) random encounters make this seem like a living, breathing location, and allow each area to have its own character. This system also allows you to set your game over a far larger scale than an open world game. Fallout 3 (which I also enjoy) is set in one city, whereas Fallout 2 allow you to visit multiple cities.

I'm glad Dragon Age lived up to the promise of a BGII-successor, and not its god-awful "new shit" marketing.

ya know most PC RPGs have been point and click and frankly since the days of dungeon siege and Arcanum...I can no longer stand point and click... the Witcher is the most unintuitive game I have ever played even if you bring in turn based action its still grinding point and click.....

I like Mass effect but it could be better, I liked jade empire but Fable blend things better I wish they would go with a intuitive action setup that lets you get in on the action or opt for point and click snorage.

yes I know rant mode is over 9000.....

I am hopeful that this game will live up to the reviews. I have been looking forward to this for a while and figure it will fill the void nicely until Mass Effect 2 comes out.

Nice part is, my computer can TOTALLY run it.

aaaaaargh fuck it i'm going to end up burning hard earned drinking money on a game which might not even work again *siiiiiigh*

Ok, so, I got this game last Thursday, and I think it says something that I've only got around to returning here tonight - this is a fantastic game, with the only 'fault' being that the combat will kick your arse hard alot early on (And infrequently later). But I have to say, its is probably Bioware's finest work to date - and to think, they created this world from scratch (obviously, Dwarves, Elves and pseudo-Orcs feature, but given even J.R.R Tolken got those ideas from earlier tales, including the whole of European folklore, I don't mind).

The choices are real AND no longer a basic 'Good', 'Bad', and 'Inbetween' - some many (if not most) choices are shades of grey or simply unclear. The combat mechanics are much easier to understand than D&D rules, and much better explained. And the world and story are truly impressive. My current highlight has been the Dwarven city (my current quest area), and all the races have strong unique characters that somehow manage to take the old stereotypes of fantasy games and rework them to be new and interesting.

Overall, if you like RPGs, and don't mind abit of difficulty, this game will keep you going for weeks or more (about 40+ hours for me at this point, and thats with only 1 of the origins started proper!)

hansari:
Can you or someone else explain to me why developers would take the risk to use different graphics engines? Wouldn't focusing on one be better?

While I found Mass Effect to be shiny enough on the console, the developers said they couldn't tap into it because the Unreal Engine 3 was new to them...

Now they say they have everything peachy with Mass Effect 2...but then I hear this about Dragon Age??

Why? Because they are once again using a new engine called Eclipse?

The question about the engine is one that's fairly easy to tell. First, since the game is released on three platforms (PC, 360, PS3) you find yourself having to write a program that can serve a similar purpose on all three. While a port from 360 - PC or vice versa is relatively easy (sharing fundamentally similar hardware as they do), the PS3's dramatically different hardware (that can allow for graphics that are better than those on the 360, when properly leveraged) means that at least a degree of tweaking must be done to perform the same function at similar efficiency.

Of course, since these games are inherently presenting the same game, there must be an explanation as to WHY games tend to look different on the different consoles. In some cases, the answer is that the hardware of one platform or another simply will not support certain things. In others, difficulty in implementation compouded by lack of time means all features might not be implement across all the versions. In this case, I strongly suspect that the hardware is at fault.

To put this in perspective, the system I am playing Dragon Age: Origins on has 4 gb memory, a quad core processor and a video card that is not too far removed from the leading edge. With this, I can play the game with settings maxed and find that the game not only consumes the entire gig of video memory, it also chews up another 2.8 gigs of system memory. The game appears to support multiple cores as well, in my case consuming 70 - 90% of the capacity of three of them. To put it simply, DAO pushes up against the limits of a recently built machine purpose built to play games on - the (significantly) less powerful 360, even with excellent optimization, simply does not have the ability to present the game in the same way.

Of course, from my perspective, I would never advocate purchasing this game for a console. The amount of micromanagement that must be done to survive even a standard battle is absolutely insane. Using a lower difficulty setting and fully understanding how to make the tactics system work can certainly resolve this problem in many cirumstances, but even on Easy you'll often find that you'll need to personally control both your mages (damage dealing) and rogues for optimal effectiveness.

All else aside, DAO is rapidly becoming my favorite RPG of all time. If it contines on such a course, it may even displace my previous favorite game of all time (Deus Ex). The characters are well rounded and presented in a way that actually makes you feel attached to them. The story, though simply a retelling of the same story we have heard in every CRPG ever made, is presented well enough that it compells me to carry on long into the night. In the time since I graduated high school, there has only been one other game I have played that has kept me playing for fully half a day, ignoring all needs but the restroom.

Were I to personally level a complaint against the game, it is with animations. The voice acting is, in most cases, superb. Unforunately, the characters do little when speaking but stand there looking around. What I'd like to have seen is a little pysical acting to go along with the vocal performances.

Watched the review, looked over a friend's shoulder while he was playing it, went to the EA store, bought the collector's edition. I love it with all of my shriveled black gamer heart and would have never thought to even take a second look at it without your review. Thank you.

I kinda wish that the Main Character had proper voice acting ala Mass Effect. But still quality fun. :)

Voiced main character could not work in such a compleicated game. In addition, the voice would dtract from the abiliy to make your own character to roleplay. In Mass Effect you really have only 4 possible characters: "Evil" male and female, or "Good" male or female. In Dragon Age, you need at least one voice for each origin, and for each gender. That is at least 12 different voices. You can't have female dwarf nobles sound the same as female elf commoners. And it would still limit the roleplaying potential.

Keep the main character unvoiced, it is by far the superior approach.

I think my biggest beef with the game is the amount of characters you can take with you at once.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. It means the characters are well done and have interesting stories/personalities. It just sucks when I have to decide between Alistair and Shale because I can only take three people with me.

This game is the bomb! I'm playing on the "substandard" 360 version but it is still beautiful. Only thing they should have improved upon was the environment textures and upped the textures on the characters a bit. It is still a sight to behold though. Installing the game onto your HD is a must. Swift load times and smooth framerates. Not sure how it plays without installing though.

i dotn mean to keep ragging on these "reviews" but i leard more from watchign the behind the sceens video on xbox live..... another poor "summary" of a game........

Just finished the PC version on hard. Now I can share my opinion.
Main story is pretty dark and gritty, I liked especially dwarf quest. Still it's not dark fantasy, more like bloody high fantasy. What's good is that you are given choices that actually reflect how the game will end (not as comon as you might think). There are some morally challenging decisions, meaning whatever will you do, you will harm someone.
Side quests are still dull, but there is an improvement in comparison to mass effect.
On PC, fights are as close to BG as I've seen in years. On hard diff. that means spending half of your playtime in pause manually commanding every character to make every skill and spell count as 3-4 normal mobs can kill your tank in 6 secs if left unatended. And bosses can 3-4 shot a tank. You can die even in minor fights if you drop your guard down. That's always good. Still, I cannot imagine playing like that on a console. This game only proves that RPGs like this are simply made for PCs and shows to me how much was sacrificed to make this genre compatibile with consoles. That saddens my heart but still, Dragon Age is a really good game, maybe a bit short of "Baldurs Gate" succesor, but coming closer to this than any recent RPG.

Milkman Dan:
Graphics over gameplay, and yet I need a dual core to run this? My computer isn't brand new, but it can already run Mass Effect, the Witcher, and Gothic 3.

I don't have dual core,and a weak ATI X800 graphics card and it works nicely

This just further proves that Bioware is infallible. Great game over 100 hours spent on it in 2 weeks, beautiful music as well, almost made me cry during the credits.

Why do people still buy games that are available on pc on a console? Seems like you just want to give microsoft or sony money to play a worse game.

Was an ok supplement apart from the embarrassing spiel at the end.

ItsAPaul:
Why do people still buy games that are available on pc on a console? Seems like you just want to give microsoft or sony money to play a worse game.

Um, if they have a shitty computer that can't run it, like I, and many others, do? The PC version is clearly superior, but for a lot of people it's just not a viable option.

What a thoroughly terrible video review. I got about half way through before giving up, the guy speaking is just infuriating. It's not that hard to speak without sounding like a smug dickhead.

Get the PC version, you will not regret it. Especially if you like RPGs without sacrificing too much graphics in the process.

As for the combat, you just have to bear it for the first little while. It actually makes you *GASP* THINK!?

What is this world comming to.. [/sarcasm meter breaks]

Great review :D, I wondered how your perspective differed from Yahtzee's. Needless to say, I much prefer the description you gave over the bull he managed to spew.

This is a good game in my opinion how ever i thinkk that it may be slightly too long for me to be able to finish

well after a marathon experience with the game i have to say im impressed (pc version) the npcs are good, and the party conversations and interactions do elicit a giggle now and then. the review is very accurate and interestingly the main character seemed to get more cynical the more people she met (let me guess you want me to do something for you too) haha

it hasnt been mentioned by anyone yet anyone thinking of buying this game on the pc should think long and hard about it before hard due to the issues alot of people are having trying to get the dlc for this game working on the pc version.

in all my years of gaming i have never quite experienced a bigger pain in the ass frustration than i have with this game in trying to get an expansion or dlc to work, its been a week now and yet i still cant despite viewing numerous forumns and emails asking for help, which is something ive never had to do with a game. when you consider iver been a gamer since the days of pong being state of the edge you can see how frustrated i am.

you might not have any issues but be aware if you do.

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