Dragon Age: Origins – A Review
The developers of such games as Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic have produced what is undoubtedly one of the best RPG experiences of 2009 in Dragon Age: Origins, but is it the right game for you? Does it even belong on the Xbox 360?
Despite being primarily designed with the PC in mind the control system works adequately enough on the 360 ported version of Dragon Age. You view the action from a third person perspective (behind your character) and use the A button to attack and B, X and Y are used for special abilities like spells, dual attacks and so on. You can also use the left trigger button to bring up a ‘wheel’ where you can choose various abilities and tactics to use during battle, which is a decent enough idea but ultimately if you’re a tactical type of player you’ll find that the wheel interrupts the flow of battle all too often. However, porting any game designed for the PC to a console is notoriously difficult, and to their credit Bioware do a decent enough job of making the control scheme manageable.
I’ll be honest, the graphics in this game aren’t brilliant. It’s strange considering other Bioware games (Mass Effect in particular) look fantastic, but I can only assume they’ve taken a hit in order to fit more dialogue and story options onto the disk perhaps. I’m no expert on the subject, but in an era of gaming where good graphics are almost a necessity it is a shame to travel a world which generally looks dull and encounter characters that look relatively plain up close.
You’ll often find yourself caked in blood from head to toe which is a cool effect, but then you’ll enter a scene where your armour is completely clean and shiny. More often than not you’ll then return to your bloodied state which is weird, graphical glitches appear quite frequently unfortunately.
Sound and Music
When I first started the game I was less than impressed with the voice acting, as an Englishman myself I found the accents and delivery of various lines to be awful. After a couple of hours the voice acting either improved or I simply got used to it, in fact I’m now at the point where I think most characters are portrayed brilliantly. I’m slightly disappointed by the fact that the main character barely says a spoken word throughout the game, he’s not one of these ‘silent heroes’ like Gordon Freeman as the dialogue options you choose are acknowledged by whoever you’re talking to, but in all honesty I’d have liked to have seen a similar idea to what Mass Effect uses – you choose a dialogue option and the character will say something totally different to what you’ve chosen, but still along the same lines.
Overall though there’s a lot of voice acting to enjoy throughout Dragon Age, and for the most part it is excellent. The music is pretty generic yet adds to the overall atmosphere well, and the sound effects are also pretty good.
I was fortunate when I bought this game, it was on special offer for £23 ($37) and that was worth every penny. Even at full price the game is well worth your money, it’ll last you a very long time. I’m not sure exactly how long the main quest is but there are a lot of varied side quests to keep you occupied. If you’re a fan of western-style RPGs and like a deep, immersive story then Dragon Age: Origins is definitely a game you’ll enjoy.