Evil tries to overwhelm good and then some brave men unite to successfully manage to weed out the evil. Such a theme is prevalent in many of today’s game but Bioware’s latest installment, Dragon Age: Origins offers more than such a cliché theme. For more than half-a-decade in making, Dragon Age: Origins has an impressive storytelling with a gameplay based on the user’s in-game decisions, betrayal and lots of violence, in this “epic tale” with more than 100+ hours of gameplay.
Every few hundred years, the kingdom of Ferelden faces Blight where Darkspawns come in hordes to devastate human beings and other forms of life lead by Archdemon. The end of such Blight is only possible by ending Archdemon’s life and could only be done by the heroes of the game, known as Grey Wardens. Understandably, you as a player become a part of Grey Wardens in order to bring peace and end the Blight.
The game allows you to select your “origins”, which are nothing but different classes belonging to different races. Between Humans, Dwarfs and Elfs there are six origins that give a background to your selected character originating with a different story. For instance, you can choose human as a race with rogue, warrior or mage as the class. Each selected race and class will have different strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on what character you selected, the game will start according to its specific storyline eventually leading up to Duncan (leader of the Grey Wardens), who persuades you to join the Grey Wardens. But as simple it may sound, believe us, it is not. The initial story reveals interesting things; show up tutorials that take a good couple of hours to adjust yourself before you venture out in the Wilds to kill the Darkspawns.
Dragon Age: Origins can be played in an uninterrupted over-the-shoulder and tactical top-down view (only for PC) or users can opt for pause-and-play tactical combat system. Another plus we can say about Dragon Age: Origins is that the gameplay allows a user to make his own decisions and thus, affecting the overall story as well as its party members.
Party members are those who accompany the main character in quests and other challenges. As the story progresses, user will meet few people who can join the party. However, for the quest and battles, user can only select four active party members, including the main character. Members can vary ranging from a human mage, elf, dwarf or even a canine.
Bioware has taken special care as to how party members are handled. Since members come from various backgrounds, their traits and reactions effect on how we interact with them or how we take particular decisions. For instance, user’s interactions and actions gain or lessen his approval rating with that party member, helping to create a special bond like romance or when opposed, may leave your party or may even attack you. In short, Bioware has tried to give a touch of how we deal with people with different nature in real life.
Party members’ attributes get an upgradation as they spend more time warding off the ugly species. Users have the liberty to manually upgrade the members’ attributes or set it to auto-upgrade.
Speaking of combat, Dragon Age: Origins is a game where you’ll engage into often. Small battles with your 4-member party can be tackled easily but when the enemies come well equipped, you have to engage sensibly. If one of the member’s health reaches zero during a skirmish, he remains injured for the rest of it until the battle is over. He is re-spawned in an injured state but a battle within a short span of time is not recommendable as he’ll recover slowly and gradually.
To successfully win against difficult enemies, the pause-and-play tactic can really prove useful. Or if you want, you can auto-set the tactics for each team member that reacts the way you want in a particular situation. For example, a warrior can use his special ability to attack or defend if he’s surrounded by 3 or more enemies. Users also get to customize a lot of tactics.
Dragon Age: Origins has some minor glitches in the graphics department but as a whole, it is one of the best looking RPGs with highly detailed characters, intrinsic exteriors and sharp looking visuals. Music is great too with nice lip-syncing of the characters.
To sum this up, BioWare has definitely got a winner in their hands. Although the game features single player campaign only, its impressive gameplay and story, topnotch animation, downloadable content and a very high replay value makes Dragon Age: Origins a must for every RPG fan. The PC version sells for Rs. 999 in India.
Pros: Deep Storyline, Good Replay value
Cons: Few video glitches