Zero Punctuation: Dragon Age: Origins

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I love dragon age, though it is a bit geeky and so I do have to hide it from all my friends and pretend I'm playing Modern Warfare 2 like real manly men grrrr. Still I thought this was a nice review.

Mirroga:

BlueInkAlchemist:
I'm glad that the cosmos was aligned properly so the space radiation allowed Yahtzee to review Dragon Age. He hit a variety of points about the game for better or worse and I have to say I don't disagree with him on any particular one. It's pretty interchangeable with other BioWare games but that said, BioWare's a highly decent developer and I, too, am still enjoying the story despite being 20+ hours into the game.

Ixal:

Mirroga:

What are the differences between the consoles and the PC version?

In the PC version you can zoom out, move the camera freely while giving orders to your companions.
In the console versions you are locked into a "over the shoulder" perspective and can only switch characters. That makes it hard to keep the overview over the battlefield, place area effect spells/weapons and do flanking moves.

The ability to get the overhead view coupled with the indomitable keyboard/mouse interface makes me very, very glad I shelled out the extra cash for the PC version.

Oh, wait, the PC version is actually $10 cheaper in the US.

Suckers.

Damn. That's a huge disadvantage. These are the times wherein it sucks to have a laptop as the only PC source. I'll have to check youtube again if I can enjoy the game with only over-the-shoulder view.

I have the PC version and the requirements aren't bad. Pretty much the same as NWN2, but with the requirement for 20GB of HD space (!)

Well first just let me say, "well done" to the winners of the game contest, now on with the post.
Now for the Same answer I always give. Great work Yahtzee as usual. Although since RPG games aren't really my style I think I'll be skipping out on this game.

My girlfriend actually PLAYS Dragon Age. And THEN we make sweet, nerdy love. So, take that, Yahtzee.

I can't call Dragon Age: Origins a dark fantasy with a straight face, either. The characters are all just too funny and lovable for me to ever think about anything much other than how gorgeous the voice acting is. "'Eees not mangy!"

I like the moral choices they give you though, in that there actually isn't a good or evil choice; all the choices make sense in context and you don't get graded at the end, aside from the fact that some of your characters will or won't approve.

Perhaps it's because of the humour in the game, but I kind of got the sense that it was ticking off all the fantasy cliches deliberately, and then playing with them dungeons and dragons style, either as an homage, or as self-aware satire. Who knows? Maybe it's just the fact that it earns so many points for having such a well-rounded and unbelievably likable cast of characters that I'm completely oblivious to its flaws. Honestly, a game hasn't made me laugh this hard in this entire console generation. I could listen to Alistair and Morrigan bicker all day.

I don't get why every game HAS to use the Tolkien steroetypes. I would really appreciate a game that didn't!

TheAmazingTGIF:

DeathWyrmNexus:

TheAmazingTGIF:
If Mass Effect hated you for not spending several hours in the Codex, then Dragon Age will kill your family and desecrate their corpses if you don't.

Sadly enough, they actually use the codex more in Dragon Age since you have to learn some of your quest info in there. I rather liked it. *hides before shunned*

THOUGH IN MY DEFENSE I DID NOT READ ALL OF THEM!!! *flees*

Game is awesome, on my second playthrough and have about four more planned out. And I still manage to have sex in real life. XD

It is just really hard to find something specific in that codex. It is used a lot more, but there is just a fuckton of stuff.

Oh god, yes, that. It is why I avoided it most of the time. Though with how intense the Juggernaut armor acquisition was at around level 12, I really wanted to read that codex to see what the big deal was about. However, you are definitely correct. It is a pain in the ass to thumb through that codex but at least you get exp.

As for calling this game a renter... Um no, it has successfully slacked my Fantasy thirst that was created when I stopped wanting to play Oblivion but still wanted to cast some kind of doom on people. I'm on my second playthrough and already have at least three more characters planned out.

Best review in a while.

badgersprite:
I can't call Dragon Age: Origins a dark fantasy with a straight face, either. The characters are all just too funny and lovable for me to ever think about anything much other than how gorgeous the voice acting is. "'Eees not mangy!"

I like the moral choices they give you though, in that there actually isn't a good or evil choice; all the choices make sense in context and you don't get graded at the end, aside from the fact that some of your characters will or won't approve.

Perhaps it's because of the humour in the game, but I kind of got the sense that it was ticking off all the fantasy cliches deliberately, and then playing with them dungeons and dragons style, either as an homage, or as self-aware satire. Who knows? Maybe it's just the fact that it earns so many points for having such a well-rounded and unbelievably likable cast of characters that I'm completely oblivious to its flaws. Honestly, a game hasn't made me laugh this hard in this entire console generation. I could listen to Alistair and Morrigan bicker all day.

You should listen to Zevran talk to Wynne about her bosom.

Great review! His best one since Duke Nukem Forever. It made me really want to play the game, although I don't think I'll get around to it for at least 3 years.

Wow, 2 for 1 day at Yahtzee's! Got two game reviews, and I may just check out Yahtzee's Last Stand. Cool review.

See, the problem with 'We need new fantasy races RAWR!' is that when a game does a totally different fantasy... let's say Paladin's Quest for SNES as an example...

You have one of two reactions. Either 'Them's elves but different!' or 'JESUS THIS AIN'T FANTASY THIS IS SCIENCE FICTION WITH ALL THE ALIENS!'

Why do we have elves and dwarves? Cause people -like- elves and dwarves.

Instead of asking 'Why can't people come up with different things?' instead ask 'Why did they choose to go with the same races?'

The answer, straight out of BioWare, is that they wanted to give the setting a familiar feel, while adding in differences to make these races and ideas and concepts fresh and interesting. This was part of their design goal.

YOU CANNOT MAKE THINGS TOTALLY DIFFERENT AND HAVE THINGS BE FAMILIAR.

Instead, look at what they -did that was different- about dwarves and elves, and if you scratch the surface then you'll clue in that they -are- different. The Dalish elves aren't tree huggers, they're civilization-avoiding human hating gypsies. Why? Humans have a tendancy to either enslave them or ghettoise them.

Yes. Elves who hate the race that enslaved them and often kill on sight. Which Tolkein book was that from?

Given the number of people who actually took one of the two strict-elven origins, you'd -think- they'd clue in on that. How could one play the city-elf intro and claim 'Same old Same old'?

I'm thinking that a lot of these complaints are from people who played the Magi intro and haven't bothered to step into Orzammar yet.

DeathWyrmNexus:

badgersprite:
I can't call Dragon Age: Origins a dark fantasy with a straight face, either. The characters are all just too funny and lovable for me to ever think about anything much other than how gorgeous the voice acting is. "'Eees not mangy!"

I like the moral choices they give you though, in that there actually isn't a good or evil choice; all the choices make sense in context and you don't get graded at the end, aside from the fact that some of your characters will or won't approve.

Perhaps it's because of the humour in the game, but I kind of got the sense that it was ticking off all the fantasy cliches deliberately, and then playing with them dungeons and dragons style, either as an homage, or as self-aware satire. Who knows? Maybe it's just the fact that it earns so many points for having such a well-rounded and unbelievably likable cast of characters that I'm completely oblivious to its flaws. Honestly, a game hasn't made me laugh this hard in this entire console generation. I could listen to Alistair and Morrigan bicker all day.

You should listen to Zevran talk to Wynne about her bosom.

All the conversations are hilarious and endlessly quotable. One of my favourites is when Leliana talks to Morrigan about how she should start dressing up and showing off her assets, at which point Morrigan has to tell her, "Stop staring at my breasts!"

She may be a priestess, but she's got a little devil in her.

Random Quote: "Well you know what they say about dwarves, right?"
#2: "Kobold!"

Good review overall. I do agree that the "Standard Fantasy Setting" has become rather cliche and whatnot. However, I really don't mind, any more than I mind FPSs with weapons that include a pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, or sniper rifle (ie all of them), or an adventure game where you have to click on bits of the environment, or racing games that have you driving a car. Sure, it's bog-standard, but it is what is expected and what people are comfortable with, a sort of cultural bookmark that people can instantly identify with, so that when you are playing a sci-fi FPS and get a bizzare-looking weapon that zooms in, you can go "Aha! Sniper Rifle!"

In the same sense, most people who play RPGs expect certain things, so when they go to the mountains they expect to see dwarves, in the forest elves, and dragons at some climactic point or another. Cliche? Absolutely. Still works though.

Speaking of DA:O- it is one of the least original games I've seen in a long time. The setting is Tolkein, the story is similar to A Song of Fire and Ice, the (PC) interface is similar to most MMORPGs, the tactics system is lifted out of FFXII, even the names of spells and such are lifted straight from DnD. And you know what?

I don't care. I love this game. It may be unoriginal, but it is done so well that you enjoy every twist and turn, even the ones you see coming a while away. The story is grand, the writing and voice acting are superb, the combat system works perfectly for this sort of game, the characters are fleshed out, the classes are interesting, the origin stories kick ass, etc.

So I guess what I'm saying is I love this game. I've logged close to 50 hours right now, and I probably could log another 50 (I haven't come close to finishing all the side quests), and while the game is terribly unoriginal, it's so well crafted that it more than makes up for it.

Oh, and congratulations to the winners of the contest.

hehe...shadowhumper =P

He's right. playing 25 hours for a western RPG is averaged. they usually end around that time so i dunno how long this game is, I've just started. The battle system isn't anything different from that of Kotor or FF12 for that mater. the graphics are pretty (that's a given) the voice acting is great. so far the story seems to be more involved which is something that has been missing from WRPGs.
back to the battle system. yes, they let you pause it to issue commands. kind of like in Kotor...actually exactly like in Kotor. but you can still tell there's some kind of turn base there. plus they have "tactic slots". if you've played the game and played FF12 they will seem oddly familiar. so basically this is the FF12 ATB system with the option to pause the game just in case your brain can't move that fast. but for what it is. it's a good game. Can't complain to much. wasn't expecting anything new and innovative. wasn't expecting it to change the way a view the world. it has though progressed bioware's story telling progression. this game has actually drawn me in with the story so far. i don't feel like i'm watching a movie like i did in mass effect or Kotor or....any of the other WRPGs. so that was a nice surprise. it's a good game though.
for those of you who wish to flame, you can flame now.

badgersprite:

DeathWyrmNexus:

badgersprite:
I can't call Dragon Age: Origins a dark fantasy with a straight face, either. The characters are all just too funny and lovable for me to ever think about anything much other than how gorgeous the voice acting is. "'Eees not mangy!"

I like the moral choices they give you though, in that there actually isn't a good or evil choice; all the choices make sense in context and you don't get graded at the end, aside from the fact that some of your characters will or won't approve.

Perhaps it's because of the humour in the game, but I kind of got the sense that it was ticking off all the fantasy cliches deliberately, and then playing with them dungeons and dragons style, either as an homage, or as self-aware satire. Who knows? Maybe it's just the fact that it earns so many points for having such a well-rounded and unbelievably likable cast of characters that I'm completely oblivious to its flaws. Honestly, a game hasn't made me laugh this hard in this entire console generation. I could listen to Alistair and Morrigan bicker all day.

You should listen to Zevran talk to Wynne about her bosom.

All the conversations are hilarious and endlessly quotable. One of my favourites is when Leliana talks to Morrigan about how she should start dressing up and showing off her assets, at which point Morrigan has to tell her, "Stop staring at my breasts!"

She may be a priestess, but she's got a little devil in her.

What burns me is that I missed getting Leliana twice now. I have to make sure to get her in my next playthrough...

Catkid906:
Okay... So I like get Dragon Age then, but I also like sex with Girls.
But which is better?

There's only one way to find out...

FIGHT!

Aahh, A Harry Hill fan I see..
Also, I proved Yahtzee wrong by playing Dragon Age AND having sex in the same day. :D

Bioware games always have too much dialogue, which is why I never play them.

great video from Yahtzee as always.
Always love being in stitches on a Wednesday afternoon

Yahtzee completely missed the Tactics system, which I think is actually a pretty important mechanic. Even if it was blatantly copied from FFXII, it's nonetheless a relatively rare RPG innovation that I, for one, rather enjoy. Perhaps the gigantic tome of knowledge deserved a mention too -- but not quite as much as the Tactics system.

Aside from that, relatively comprehensive review the reflects the deserved commentary of, "fantasy roleplay, what's up with that, am I right" well.

Kalllisto:

Catkid906:
Okay... So I like get Dragon Age then, but I also like sex with Girls.
But which is better?

There's only one way to find out...

FIGHT!

Aahh, A Harry Hill fan I see..
Also, I proved Yahtzee wrong by playing Dragon Age AND having sex in the same day. :D

It's a legitimate question that will have to be decided through extensive experimentation. I shall need to procure some 'test subjects' of varying levels of hotness and unwavering levels of horniness immediately.

Can't really say that Yahtzee claimed anything that's not right. Some elaboration however could be useful here.
The standard-fantasy:
Pretty much yes. You have the typical bow-wielding elves from the woods, the bearded dwarves from deep below the earth who are always the first to be horribly raped when something evil comes and the humans who are practically incredibly average but pretty much awesome because of that.
Bioware tried to mix the clichees up however...even if only a little bit. The elves are parted into our well-known forest-elves, although they're rather upset at the humans than arrogant, and the city-elves who live at slaves to the humans (at best). The dwarves are almost extinct, but so far I didn't see them humping everyone's legs for beer so far. Yes, they're still stereotypes to no end, but then again, I remember the last game who tried to f*** with the Tolkien-stereotypes a (tiny) bit and remember the beatdown WoW got for actually turning the bloodelves into power-hungry mage-addicts and turning them to the Horde.
The other thing about this point is something related to storytelling as general. I think it's pretty hard to come up with something that hasn't been done in the last thausands of years and still makes sense. I mean, yeah, we could turn the elves into bloodthirsty, meatbags with the manners and ethics of Orwell's dictator-pigs, but thinking about it all we would've done then was renaming and reskinning the stereotypical orc, wouldn't we? And if we don't go for extremes and make them rather...mediocre...then we would have the stereotypical fantasy-humans.....with pointy ears.

Dark Fantasy: Erm, yeah.....no, not really. Like Yahtzee and at least 5 more people here said it's just fantasy. What I CAN sign would be the term Dark Bioware-RPG, since this is the first of their games where I, as a player, can actually understand the permanently proclaimed horror and threat of the Darkspawn in contrast to other Bioware-games where even death isn't really that scary. So yeah, it is much more brutal and, for once I want to use that term, "adult" than previous Bioware-titles, although admittedly the thing with the blood was a bit off to me. Yeah, I know, if you fight in close range against enemies with sharp weapons, you probably will get messed up with blood and gore, but for heaven's sake, why do my characters look like they just jumped into a blood-sprinkler when they only lashed out at a friggin' wolf for two times?

The dialouge: Well, as stated, if you complain about muuuuch dialouge in a Bioware game, you might as well be complaining about an orange being...orange. As for me, I acutally enjoy the conversations in this game a lot more than in the previous. Bioware finally, finally realized that they suck in making a credible moral choice-system, so they replaced it with an "approval"-meter that only applies to your companions and make them agre with and help you or disagree and eventually leave you. It's rather refreshing for Bioware that the spoken word has a credible consequence. If for instance you start to insult Morrigan you will loose a good portion of her approval guaranteed and if you tell her to leave because you can't stand her, she actually leaves. Yeah, it sounds stupid to be giddy about something that is plain logical, but hey, we're talking about a Bioware-game here, where you usually could violate every single part of your companions' ethics and they would still follow you, saying that they don't like what you do.

So, as far as my unsignificant self can say, I like (yes, present, not past form) Dragon Age so far, although I do hope that there are not only six different beginnings but also at least several possible endings and hopefully even som unique references to the specific starting-scenarios.
Last but not least I want to mention the combat, which I like very, very much, since it does actually needs tactical effort. Yes, you indeed have to think about things like positioning, using weakening spells and strenghtening spells and efficiently decide which ability to use in which situation which is a refreshing contrast to the typical "You are the heroes of the game, here are 5 billions healthpotions, click your enemies dead"-scenario.

These sorts of games with complicated menu system are best played on PC. COMON! Many games are best played on PC so again COMON! KHM First Person Shooters KHM KHM... Lose the consoles and try out the games on PC! But well some are really crappy ports so ofcourse ignore those because well the developers are just douches.

I didn't expect the "when will someone make a unique fantasy" route, but its true. I'm surprised he didn't mention how a ton of the gameplay, story, and look were seemingly stolen from Dungeon Siege 2 (invasion from orc-looking guys with a random name, 4 player party with the exact same roles, yellow and orange names for harder enemies, towers everywhere for some reason, and so on).

PS - Who actually plays this type of game on a console? I didn't think for one second that doing so would be better than playing it on a pc. Hell, they had to completely change the gameplay of baldur's gate games to make them fly on whatever system you had.

Pretty good review, clever to have cut the credits by talking about the Game Contest winners.

Anyone else getting this error at the top of the page?

'Warning: Division by zero in /sixpack/web_ramdisk/sites/global/classes/class.ims_forums.thread.inc on line 391'

lol division by zero.

Like your girlfriend sits there and tries to micromanage your gaming(geek) time. If she doesn't like games fuck her.

Edit: Just trying to get into the yahtzee spirit and went to sexist for my liking.

Hallow'sEve:
YAAAY! I was really wondering about this game, my friends all liked it.
I have to say, I share the same disenchantment and dislike with Yahtzee over the issue of the same "elf, human, dwarf, Tolkien" concept. That actually is what made me not want to buy the game, because it looked like the definition of traditional fantasy, of which I'm bored out of my mind from. But I'm guessing, from Yahtzee and my friends, that they do it so well that it's still engrossing and enjoyable as if it was something brand new.

@Hallow's Eve: The 7 books (about to be 8) mentioned is George R.R. Martin's book series "A Song of Fire And Ice" (better known as A Game of Thrones), in which there are no elves and only one dwarf of very real-life make. I'm suspecting they turned the warring factions of humans into different races in Dragon Age. There is supposed to be a second video game based off his books so maybe that will have a different feel. But it is said that Cyanide Games picked up the rights and they plan a RTS and a RPG. I'm not sure if they partnered with Bioware or not. But given what I've heard about the PC version perhaps it is the RTS side of it. Not sure on that.

mklnjbh:

This flows like a checklist for why I only play FPSRPG's with a Sci-Fi feel. Tolkein was brilliant, but can we please innovate at least a little bit?

Tolkein based a chunk of his work off of "Des Ring des Nibelungen" by Richard Wagner (pronounced Vagner) which in turn is based of the tale of Siegfried. The dwarves are definitely coming from the Norse legends and the elves (dark and light) come from there but also from the English which might have been after the Germanic wars where they pushed for expansion. I'm not clear on that anymore. But I guess my point is that Tolkein dug around in the deeper mythologies and thus many writers/game makers follow suit. And it wouldn't be so bad if there was more in-depth stories involved instead of just a sprinkling of high fantasy flavor on top of a lot of games.

But given the clips I've seen of Dragon Age, I think there is a good chunk of the battles with the cold liches, huge dragons, and wooly mammoth creatures hiding in the game play. Indeed, it looked like they re-created battles only hinted at in the history of the books. So I am hopeful that the character depth will remain along with the rich storyline. I know it is not the same tale as the books but there is some very good epic-scale source material to draw from so I do expect the game will shine through the elf/dwarf/human veneer. (At least I hope so, because I've milked Oblivion for about all that it is worth!)

@Yahtzee: Thanks for your clear and honest review. Given that you don't tend to like fantasy RPG's having you become curious enough to play on actually says a lot. I look forward to your next review!

NICE! I actually liked the stonking great game contest rant more than dragon age orgins but good review as always.

What's going to be up next week?
Left 4 Dead 2
Assassin's Creed 2
Modern Warfare 2
All games that had prequels and that he has reviewed before. Oh, this is going to be interesting.

Seems he liked it pretty well. Personally I'm loving every minute of it, particulairly the dialogue and the choices you have to make along the way.

He hit it pretty spot on. Although it is a typical "fantasy" rpg game, and does have its issues, it's still fun to play and hard to put down. However, I seem to have spent most of my time in the game just trying to bang the chicks.

badgersprite:
I can't call Dragon Age: Origins a dark fantasy with a straight face, either. The characters are all just too funny and lovable for me to ever think about anything much other than how gorgeous the voice acting is. "'Eees not mangy!"

I like the moral choices they give you though, in that there actually isn't a good or evil choice; all the choices make sense in context and you don't get graded at the end, aside from the fact that some of your characters will or won't approve.

Perhaps it's because of the humour in the game, but I kind of got the sense that it was ticking off all the fantasy cliches deliberately, and then playing with them dungeons and dragons style, either as an homage, or as self-aware satire. Who knows? Maybe it's just the fact that it earns so many points for having such a well-rounded and unbelievably likable cast of characters that I'm completely oblivious to its flaws. Honestly, a game hasn't made me laugh this hard in this entire console generation. I could listen to Alistair and Morrigan bicker all day.

I completely agree. I could take or leave the combat... I keep playing because of the characters. I can't say no game has made me laugh this hard, but certainly no game has made me laugh so consistently and also had a decent plot to boot.

great :p
Loved it when he started talking about the whole story of the thing and I just wandered off with my mind. :p Again great timing.

Fun as most of the time.

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