A Heck of a Ride, a Dark, Mature, Gruesome Ride
With games like Baldur’s Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect under their belt, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that BioWare has managed to release another engrossing RPG title. However the incredible depth in Dragon Age Origins is unbelievable. While playing I realized this “game” evolved into something more. An experience.
When you first jump into this experience, you are given the classic BioWare character customization screen. You choose your origin, class, facial features, voice, etc. However your origin is the really important part, your origin determines which of the six unique openings you will play through, this gives the game a high replay value. Plus there are tons of awesome skill customization too. Rushing, I was able to complete the game in around 40 hours. However, if I did the side quests it could have easily amounted to +60 hours.
The game is played from a third person perspective, which is crucial during battle. Before playing, I was constantly told that the battle system is the console version of Dragon Age was “complete garbage.” I however did not have much of a problem with it. Holding the Left trigger allows you to pause the action and issue commands to your party members, select attacks, heal, or set traps. You can hot-key your skills to two sets of the X, Y and B buttons. At their best, the battles are a mix of a strategy, and puzzle solving. Finding elements in the war zone to give you the upper hand, and commanding your squad mates to strategic positions.
Graphics are not Dragon Age’s strong point. Character models look below average, and most environments are bland. The small villages look quite nice though. Shadows and lighting are good too. I did however notice some slow down during some random encounters.
The voice acting in this game is above average. Each character has a very likeable, or not-likeable voice. Bad guys sound bad, good guys sound good. And once again, Nolan North does a fantastic job of not sounding like Nolan North. However, you will get tired of your character saying “Could I get you a ladder so you can get off my back?”. The score is brilliant and goes perfectly with the sharp sound of swords hitting shields.
Overall the console version of Dragon Age Origins is well worth playing. However if you have the choice, I have heard it is best on PC. As long as you remember to save frequently, there isn’t anything overtly bad about the Xbox 360 version. The good far outweighs the bad.
The Good: The story, the crazy high replay value, voice acting.
The Bad: Long loading times, some lag, bad autosaves.
The Ugly: Graphics, faces, stupid looking pets.