GameGuide » Blog Archive » Dragon Age: Origins

Some gamers have a special place in their hearts for Duke Nukem 3D. Some think that The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time represents the pinnacle of gaming. And some pine for the good ol’ days of Lucas Arts adventure games. For me though, Baldur’s Gate 2 is the game that will never be bettered. I will always remember the glory days of isometric, story-driven RPG’s with fondness.

So, why all this waxing lyrical?

It’s because, with Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware (the makers of the Baldur’s Gate series) has produced a game the stands proudly in the lineage of those old RPG’s. This game is old-school, and I couldn’t be happier. 

One of the first things that will amaze you about Dragon Age is the sheer size of the thing. I’ve played for twenty hours, and I’m just over a third of the way through the main storyline. I’ve hardly touched the side quests (of which there are hundreds) and I’ve kept the exploration to a minimum. I’m already planning ahead to my next play through.

Another thing which is pretty special is the story and dialogue. The characters are memorable, and the dialogue is superb (and often hilarious). The last time I actually thought about game characters when I wasn’t playing the game was Grand Theft Auto IV, and Dragon Age is easily that good. You could spend hours simply reading all the material Bioware has put together (accessible in your in-game codex) that expands on the history and culture of the Dragon Age world.

The story is also unflinchingly dark. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to make a gut wrenching decision. The decisions you will make aren’t black and white either. Just last night I had to decide whether to kill a young boy who was possessed and terrorising his village, or allow his mother to sacrifice herself in a bloody ritual that might spare the boy.

Perhaps I should stop my raving for a second and mention that yes, Dragon Age has flaws. The most glaring of these is the graphics. There are a few occasions where Dragon Age could pass as a game from the last generation of consoles. The texture work is not great, and the game isn’t going to win any awards for technical achievement. But, the art direction is so well done overall that this didn’t even bother me.

Dragon Age’s biggest flaw though, is a subjective one. This game is simply not for everyone. If your gaming experience only extends as far as Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 4, chances are you will not “get” this game. It won’t wow you with its graphical prowess, or with mind-blowing set-pieces.

If, however, you are a fan of RPG’s in general, then put away your Fallout 3 and your Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, because Dragon Age blows them away, in my humble opinion. Here is a sprawling and satisfying game to sink your teeth into.

Lastly, if you are like me, and no only a fan of RPG’s, but a fan of fantasy fiction (from The Lord of the Rings to the Wheel of Time, and everything in between), then Dragon Age: Origins is gaming perfection.

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Available on: XBox 360, PS3, PC

Reviewed by:

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