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Dragon Age: Origins impressions

Brad Gallaway's picture

Dragon Age: Origins impressions

So, now that it's here I've been able to log some hours with it and at this point all I'll say is that despite some of the big talk BioWare was putting out, Dragon Age = KOTOR/Jade Empire/Mass Effect in a Medieval-ish/Lord of the Rings skin.

Frankly, it's the same game they've put out a couple times now, so everyone's mileage may vary. In my case, this is one of my favorite game types and BioWare does them best, so I'm digging it. However, I'm under no illusions that the game pushes any boundaries or explores new territory. This is firmly-established boilerplate.

Although the voice acting is superb and there are tons of dialogue trees available (always pluses) Dragon Age is much rougher and more unpolished than I would expect from BioWare, and it doesn't have their usual zing! quality. I mean, even a mediocre BioWare game beats the pants off of a lot of other games, but it's far from their best… I've hit a handful of small bugs, certain design decisions annoy me, and the game lags far behind its contemporaries in a technical sense. Hate to sound like a graphics whore or the equivalent, but the visuals are part of the immersion, so if they're not there then it's kind of an issue at times.

So far it's still good and still very enjoyable—it just feels a little like they've got the formula down and they're phoning it in here.

P.S. – The DLC featuring the extra character Shale is so worth it. They did a great job not just with the quest, but in how seamlessly they integrated him into the main game. Maybe a little too well, if you get my drift. That said, he really adds a lot to the mix and I would recommend it to anybody contemplating playing Dragon Age.

IMO, get it and install as close as possible to the beginning of the game so you'll have access to the character early on. You won't be sorry.

Read more on the Drinking Coffeecola blog.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3  
Developer(s): BioWare  
Series: Dragon Age  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  

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"Dragon Age is much rougher

"Dragon Age is much rougher and more unpolished than I would expect from BioWare"

To be honest, I've never associated anything with the Bio-Ware label as being polished; the mere concept seems lost on them. Even their most spectacular games are littered with errors, glitches and dodgy design choices (yes, even KotOR) so the fact that you find Dragon Age unpolished is no surprise to me, but as an admitted fan of the developer I would have hoped you'd have also noticed their lack of focus in their games.

Anyway, that aside, I do tend to agree with what you've said. Even though I'm sick to death of Lord of the Rings-type worlds and creatures, I do love the RPG genre and have mostly enjoyed Bio-Ware's works, so Dragon Age is destined to tick the right boxes for me. However, after playing it I am somewhat underwhelmed and - like you - find that even though the game is certainly doing what it needs to, it isn't doing anything spectacular or particularly interesting.

Anyway, I look forward to your review.

I'd like to hear more about

I'd like to hear more about your take on their lack of focus. I don't disagree, but if you have specifics i'm always happy to debate or dissect. = )

I'm in the 20-ish hour ballpark now and i've definitely enjoyed some of the moral dilemmas. lots of interesting story/choice-based bits, for sure. some of the character work is well-done, too... takes a while to get to it, though.

still very dissatisfied with the combat engine/design. worst part of the game so far, IMO. put it to Casual and save yourself the headaches.

..and yeah, it's more unpolished than anything BioWare's turned out so far, so that's been very disappointing.

all that said, i'm still playing it like a goddamned addict, so that's something. ; D

First, regarding the lack of

First, regarding the lack of polish, I have to agree with the first poster. Bioware's console efforts definitely lack polish. KOTOR is a glitchy mess and Mass Effect's teammate AI is a laughable joke. Still, I loved the former and tolerated the latter and generally adore all things Bioware.

I have to disagree with you about the combat. I'm playing on hard about 20 hours in and I have to say the combat rivals that of KOTOR. At first I was dismayed at the loss of the action queue a la Knights, but after many hours of combat I'm finding I like the current system even more. The trick for me is using the Left Trigger to issue my party's commands. I can set up awesome spell combos, tell my warrior to tank, keep heals and buffs on everyone all with relative ease.

The reason I think it's better than KOTOR is because the queue is unnecessary given the rapidly changing and interesting combat.

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