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 Home -> Reviews -> Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins By: John "Award" Del Percio
December 1, 2009
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Developer :Bioware
Publisher :EA Games
Release Date :November 2009
Platform : PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

Hamsters Everywhere, Rejoice!

So now we get to it. Remember the question you asked on page 2? No? Either you have the attention span of a giant space hamster, or you're trying to skip to the end. That sort of impatience will likely not serve well in a massive game like Dragon Age: Origins! For the speed-readers among us though, the question was: "...is this truly Baldur's Gate III?" The answer is a resounding yes! It has its caveats and unfulfilled wishes, but no game is perfect, and some (editor included) have found that BGII lost some of the open charm of the original BG, so the value of each title must stand on its own. But were this to bear the the actual title of BGIII (and feature Elminster somewhere within) no one would find it to be out of place. Despite a slow-going mandatory set-piece at Ostragar immediately following the origin story, the game rapidly opens up to a much larger and entangled world, and every element one would look for in a new Bioware fantasy RPG is accounted for. It's rare that a game gets an absolute perfect score, at best, a 99% is warranted for a few minor flaws, but in this very rare case I'm issuing a perfect 100%. There was so much that could have gone wrong that didn't. So many places for fans to feel let down where they weren't. There's no such thing as complete perfection in a game, so 100% must stand, not for true perfection, but for attaining as close to perfection as any human can make it. Much like the Star Trek franchise reboot in theaters, this pulls in a new audience, pleases, even enamors old fans, and makes no serious missteps in the process. It even creates a fair console port of an old PC-centric franchise from the days when PC-centric games existed, while providing a true PC game experience in an era where such things are rare indeed. It's only fair to point out again my bias toward the Baldur's Gate franchise as one of my all-time favorite game series, however, in the shadow of former glory, and the warped rose-colored view of nostalgia this serves mostly to be overly critical of a game, finding only where it doesn't compare to the original instead of its strengths. In light of that it is with no reservation that I assign Dragon Age: Origins a flawless score. Additionally if nothing else arrives that utterly surprises in the next month, this is almost a sure-win for the 2009 Top Pupil GOTY award!

Rating

Personal Note

Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Depth - Multiplayer  Reviewed by John Del Percio
GRAPHICS
98 %

The art style is a continuation of the legendary late-90's pre-rendered art from Bioware, and many, many calibers above the early 3D renderings of Neverwinter Nights. The engine on console is highly respectable, and on PC can be gorgeous. The only two point reduction is for some graphic bugs that, without turning the texture detail down on my system led to the famous bridge crash at the Ostragar fortress, as well as some places where the camera spinning fails to find a good angle through the high walls and portcullis entrances of an area.

SOUND
100 %

The music of yore returns with the grace and bluster one would expect. The voices are, as always, exceptional, though the introduction of a universally French adjacent kingdom of Orlais is a bit misplaced. Sound effects are quite good, though booming a bit too much on effects such as the fireball. Merely nitpicks, and nothing to truly complain about.

GAMEPLAY
100 %

The classic is back, and reaffirms that just because the calendar changes, it doesn't meant that what used to be fun no longer is! The wonderful complex tactics, albeit a bit difficult at times, great exploration, dialogue based adventuring, and good old dungeon crawls are a delightful return. My only minor complaints are the lack of a six-person party, no huge assortment of spells, and seemingly large amounts of inventory items, yet never any armor, weapon, or robe upgrades seem worthwhile. All are minor details for an otherwise excellent game.

DEPTH
99 %

The story is complex with wonderful twists. The tactics are deep and challenging. The story is well written, and inventing a new Tolkienian back story that feels fresh is a nearly impossible task to have succeeded in. I do wish there were more alternative options and dialogs that lead to alternate quests more often than happens, but, again, it's simply a minor complaint, and certainly doesn't affect the overall score.

MULTIPLAYER
0 %

N/A



If nothing else stands as testament to how well this game revives the magic of the truly deep games of the past, this review should stand as that proof. I'm well accustomed to jumping from game to game, analyzing them critically, and moving on to the next. It's fairly routine. I enjoy such games, surely, many are even great, but it's been a long, long time since a game as entirely captivated me. If you're looking at the timeline of reviews here, you'll find a distinct lack of reviews in the past few weeks. The reason? This title has been absolutely enthralling. It has sucked me in and begged me against my better judgment to just keep playing a little more, much to the detriment of getting this review published, as well as creating a backup of others sitting on my desk. I quite literally must pry myself away from this game and move on to others, despite my desire to just keep pressing forth! When one game is so engrossing that it not only seriously delays other reviews, but also delays its own review...that's as high praise as can be had!

Overall Rating

 


 


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