This game is actually better the second time around. Fantastic, even!
With the imminent release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which I’m in two minds about preordering, as sad as it is, from EA’s lovingly terrible Origin service, I figured I should go back into the series and get more acquainted with the goings on, the characters and the setting of the Dragon Age universe.
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never actually finished Dragon Age: Origins, but ironically I did finish its sequel. Probably because I was very confused about how Origins worked, in terms of character attributes and combat. Never fear though, it’s taken my awesome brain five years to figure it out, and the game is far less confusing now. I’m even enjoying it immensely. Apart from the graphics, which make all the characters look like blurry mannequins. That’s a side issue though.
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never actually finished Dragon Age: Origins.
But at the heart of the game, is an action-RPG with the best of Bioware’s writing and imagination. We’re thrown into a major war between good and evil, the races of Ferelden marching against the darkspawn, evil monster-like creatures summoned by a superduper powerful dragon called the Archdemon. Fun times. After picking your class and prologue (hence the title Origins), you’re thrown into the thick of things at Ostagar, where the battle is supposed to have been won. Instead, nothing is simple, and the King is betrayed, the army slaughtered and your organisation is blamed for the massacre. Here begins the actual game, where you and your companions work to assemble a new army to take on the threat the darkspawn poses to the world.
If I’m honest, the gameplay, the fighting and the character building isn’t really all that revolutionary.
If I’m honest, the gameplay, the fighting and the character building isn’t really all that revolutionary. There are three main classes with four subclasses within each to choose from and some skills to augment your choice of character class. However, Origins being a Bioware game, it’s the world building that makes it great. Thedas has already got a rich history and each character you encounter has a personal story to tell over the time you travel together. It also has that unique Bioware sense of humour, character interaction and a living breathing world built from stubbornly still stick figures who speak great lines.
One of the other things I’m grateful for is just the total epic scale of questing in Ferelden. Though it’s only a small part of the world, the sheer number of quests and problems you can solve in the game is enormous. If you really concentrated on completing all the quests (and this doesn’t even count the DLCs and expansion pack!), you could be at the end game after about seventy hours per character play through. That kind of game is rare and, sadly, doesn’t get made very often in the modern era of gaming, where the quick headshot is prized above good gameplay and universe immersion.
Ultimately, Dragon Age: Origins harks back to a bygone era, where RPGs were long, epic, varied and consequential.
Ultimately, Dragon Age: Origins harks back to a bygone era, where RPGs were long, epic, varied and consequential. Origins set up the world of Thedas, characters that spread across time and space, and provided a massive adventure to learn about it. Just fantastic. I really wish more games were like this. Sadly, it seems the market prefers crap like Battlecall of Honour. Or those stupid MOBAs like League of Legends. Oh well, maybe I’ll just have to acquire Divinity: Original Sin and see how it compares with RPGs of old!