Dragon Age Origins: PC Version Review

are a few things in life that are safe bets: the sun rising in the
east, the
Yankees winning one out of four World Series' and BioWare making the
damned RPGs in the business. That’s probably why anticipation
levels for the
newest offering from the storied developer were near record highs as
3rd, or DA-Day as it is now know, drew near. Now that launch day has
come and
gone, it’s time for gamers to decide whether BioWare still
reigns supreme, and
whether Dragon Age Origins
lived up to the hype and delivered just the
type of story rich immersion that is the hallmark of a BioWare

game features a combat and character advancement systems that are
in both feel and execution, although adding a party of characters to
the mix
means you will spend more time queuing up the action in a turn-based
environment. The truly remarkable aspect of the combat system is that
even the
turn-based scenarios still retain a real time feel that
doesn’t diminish the
action and makes for some epic encounters.

the opening cut scene to the final epic battle, I was living in the
game world,
it has been years since a game followed me into my dreams. Read on for
complete review of the latest smash hit from BioWare, from the minor
of party micromanagement to the glorious highs of demon slaying,
it’s all in
our review of Dragon Age Origins.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">Dragon
Age carries a Mature(17+) rating:

Intense Violence
Partial Nudity
Sexual Content

Not since Age of Conan
has a game
had a warning box this big, Dragon
managed to pick up just
about every caveat available, Jack Thompson is
foaming at the mouth over this one I’m sure. While often
times the warnings can
be overly cautious, this game delivers the guts and the glory and will
your armor soaking in blood for most of the game’s duration.
There is currently
no setting in the game to tone down the elements that garnered this
rating, and
for good reason; Ferelden is a bloody land and no amount of candy
coating can
change that.  Parents
will want to pay
attention to these warnings and save game time for when the little ones
safe and snug in bed. style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">

Gameplay - 95 / 100

is, and always has been, the hallmark of a BioWare RPG, and Dragon

is no exception to that rule. From immersive storytelling to a world
really feels alive with well developed characters, all the necessary
are in place to make this an instant classic. That said, however, there
are some
detractors present, that while not game breaking, could have been done

to me, is an important aspect of a game and can push a game all the way
from magnum opus status to unplayable or anywhere in between. style=""> For
Dragon Age,
the pacing of the game
leaves it just a hair below the former. Several aspects of the game
hinder its
pace and two of them are directly gameplay related, while the other is
more of
an audio issue that I will discuss later on.

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/76520"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76520"
style="border: 0px solid ; float: right; width: 200px; height: 125px;"
alt="" />

In an earlier href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/76148" target="_blank">review
of Borderlands,
Dalmarus lamented the inability to
freely save his game. That element is present in Dragon Age as well,
and due to
the game’s difficulty it basically has to be, but the onus of
saving is still put
almost 100% on the player. The game does offer an autosave option, and
suggest enabling it, but the save points are far too infrequent. While
this not
being in charge of your own “save destiny” may
sound blasphemous to a hardcore
RPG player, the change in the way these games are made and played has
the paradigm and PC games need to adopt a more console-like approach to
game save mechanism. If this game were not so riveting and immersive
the need
to constantly remember to save would be less of an issue, and if
combat, even
on the lower settings wasn't so intense, then it would be a complete
The ability to save your game
quickly and at any time other than the
middle of combat is both a blessing and a curse, but after one slip up
you get set back a couple of hours of grueling combat it will be a
burden you
remember to bear.

second issue that slows the pacing and detracts
from the fluid feel of the game is party management. The tactics system
amazingly detailed and offers players the ability to set up beforehand
instructions for their party to follow in almost any combat situation.
Once you
have mastered this system it becomes a set it and forget it element
enhances overall gameplay with only the occasional glitch. They say the
is in the details and here is where the system has some minor flaws,
even when
set to do one specific task no matter what the situation there are many
when your party members simply won’t follow the preset
command and you will be forced
to pause and set them back onto course. I suspect that this will
eventually be
addressed through a game patch as the AI gets minor tweaks and

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: left;"> target="_blank" href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/76527"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76527"
style="border: 0px solid ; float: right; width: 200px; height: 125px;"
alt="" />

Short of those two issues, which really are minor, this is a fantastic
game to
play. The combat is epic feeling and adds to the storyline, and the
storytelling immerses you in the world in ways that prior games could
dream of.  The world is non-linear and scales your
group’s level so you
are free to explore it at your discretion without worry of being over-
or under-powered.

development is a bit clunky at first as it
is almost too wide open. As you level, however, you will find your
becoming narrowed as your needs become more defined. Another
great aspect
of the game is that with three unique starting points, each with their
story, you won’t feel any tedium when starting a new campaign
with a more refined
eye with which to develop your characters.

Don’t be discouraged by my two warnings, they truly are minor
and due to the
game’s depth they diminish over time. Dragon Age is able to
overcome them with
ease where a lesser game could be overshadowed by them.

Graphics - 95 / 100

graphics of Dragon
have gotten a fair
amount of criticism for not being bleeding edge or as ultra-realistic
as some
of the game’s counterparts, and while I don't disagree with
those assessments,
I will tell you this - they don't need to be. Dragon Age graphics fit
the game
to a tee, they make you feel a part of this fantasy world in a way that
"realistic" graphic model could.

The game is filled with cut-scenes that help tell the story and move
the plot
along. The scene graphics have the exact same look and feel as
the in game
graphics which wraps the whole thing into a cohesive package. The
creatures are
unique, the demons are frightening and the dragon is
awe-inspiring. If you’re
picking up Dragon Age purely for graphics punch, then you’re
probably not its
story-driven target audience. Even so, you won’t likely be

Sound - 95 / 100

Age has excellent overall audio quality, with voice
acting, background sounds and music all at the level one would expect
BioWare. The music seems classic without feeling like a rehash of
scores from
other fantasy games or movies, a feat harder to accomplish than
you’d think
these days. With the staggering numbers of fantasy RPGs both single and
multi-player (or massively multiplayer for that matter) it is not at
uncommon to hear a fantasy game score and get a sense of Lord of the
Rings or
Braveheart déjà vu.

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;"> target="_blank" href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/76521"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/76521"
style="border: 0px solid ; float: right; width: 200px; height: 125px;"
alt="" />

sheer amount of voice acting here is staggering. Not
only is every single cut scene fully voice acted, but you’ll
even hear background
interactions amongst your party mates as you traverse the lands. All of
vocal talent ultimately leads to a rich and immersive experience, but
once in a while the dialogues and monologues break into a near
Shakespearean tempo
that drags down the moment. Fortunately these scenes are few and far
past the first main gameplay area and if you do encounter them you can
turn on
subtitles or hit the escape key to move past them.

Value - 100 / 100

value score is the easiest portion of this review:
regardless of platform the content of Dragon Age is deep and lasting.
With two
DLC add-ons available the day the game ships even the speediest of
players will
have plenty to keep them busy, and the downloadable toolkit
allows creative
gamers a means to pump out additional content for themselves and their
 The only downside to the game is lack of a multi-player
facet, but with
such a compelling single-player story to tell you will hardly miss

Lasting Appeal - 100 / 100

replayability factor of Dragon Age is very high. The
game offers three starting points, each with their own vantage
point of
the world, and populated with unique people to meet during your
travels. Now
add in the different classes to each starting area and you have that up
to nine
perspectives to play from , making this a game that will almost compel
you to
play it again. Not to mention, the nice thing about all role playing
games is
the ability to choose how to play your character, and Dragon Age is no
different; sinner or saint, the choice is yours and will definitely
affect the

Pros and Cons

style="margin-bottom: 12pt; line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Pros: style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">

  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Lush,
    living world that begs to be explored.
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Tons
    of quests, both plot driven and optional, to keep you as busy as you
    want to be.
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Deep
    characters that you will quickly become attached to.
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Excellent
    immersion factor.
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Tactics
    system allows complete control over party members

style="margin-bottom: 12pt; line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";"> Cons: style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">

  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">No
    multiplayer game
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Constant
    game saving and slow voice acting can lessen immersion factor.
  • style="line-height: normal;"> style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Tactics
    system has learning curve and can sometimes not function correctly.


has delivered the goods once again--a top notch role
playing game that is both challenging and compelling. No matter what
your level
of RPG prowess you’ll find the perfect amount of gaming here,
whether you
prefer a cut to the chase hack and slash or a slow journey from one end
of the
world to the other; it’s all available. One of the finest
examples of the genre
to come out in the last ten years, Dragon
Age Origins
is an instant
classic that should be in every gamer’s library.

Overall 95/100 - Outstanding


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dragon Age: Origins Game Page.

Share on Facebook Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Twitter
Last Updated:

About The Author

Around the Web