I have wanted to play Dragon Age: Origins since it was released in 2009 but I haven't picked it up till recently. I only recently got a good gaming PC so when the game dropped in 2009 I would have picked it up on PS3. I heard the console versions of Dragon Age: Origins were not awesome and the PC port was much better so I waited to pick it up. During the last Steam sale I noticed it was $8.99 so I picked it up and all the DLC it was launched with.

Dragon Age: Origins is a more unique RPG in that each Class and Race has a unique starting Origin. I created an Elf Mage and my starting Origin story brought me to the Mages circle.

Visually the game reminds me of Neverwinter Nights and has a similar feel and tone to it. Having full voice acting for all the characters and dialog trees is nice as Neverwinter only had voice acting for part of the game. The graphics are very good and the UI is pretty easy to navigate as well. One thing I noticed right away about DAO is that there is much more dialog present than is typical in games I play. The game also presents you with many choices as well. Its not entirely clear what all the choices allow you or change in the game, but its nice to be able to control if your character is an asshole or not.

A few times I was presented with choices(I won't get into spoiler territory) I wasn't comfortable with any of the options. I picked the option that seemed best and didn't love the direction I had to go. It was odd as typically in games they present you with the OBVIOUS evil choice and OBVIOUS good choice but in DAO sometimes you just have choices. The choice I ended up making was seemed like a good one, but, again I wasn't entirely comfortable with it.

The game offers some interesting play style in that you can pause the game to scan the battle-scape and setup your characters next moves. I ran into the fight with the first mini boss without using the pause method and was handily defeated. During my second take I paused it right away and was a bit more strategic and was able to take down the boss easily.

So far I have really enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins and if you are looking for a good RPG that isn't too expensive, I recommend you check it out.

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 12/20/2012 at 06:16pm

I'll be interested to hear if it holds up for you because it didn't for me. The combat is too MMO-y in all respects. Both in managing power recharges and agro. There are also some BLAND quests and dungeons later. This game disappointed me more than any game I can think of in the last ten years.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/20/2012 at 06:17pm

Wow. OK so I will be writing as I continue through the whole game. I finally found a game that made sense to do that with and this be IT!

So far, so good, but I am open to having it crush my spirits.

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 12/20/2012 at 06:44pm

It might just work for you. It's a popular game and I'm decidedly pretty old school with my western RPGs. But I was promised a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate and this is not it.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/20/2012 at 07:35pm

Thats what they claimed, they also said the spiritual successor to Neverwinter and so far it seems pretty apt.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 12/21/2012 at 07:18pm

I've been wanting to pick this up on PS3 for awhile now.

Gary: Have you played FFXII or either of the KotOR games, and if so what were your thoughts on the combat systems? Those games had combat systems that felt very MMOish to me. Is this games combat similar?

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/21/2012 at 08:36pm

Seems it was reviewed pretty well on consoles, I heard its save/load cycle sucked, but thats pretty console standard. Oh and its NOT a game for kids. Really dark, really bloody.

Tungsten wrote on 12/22/2012 at 02:18pm

I liked it, but I ran into the same issue I have with most RPS's: I start over like 15 times and never get more than half-way through. I just keep thinking: I should have made the other choice.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/22/2012 at 02:42pm

@Tungsten I hear that. Especially in Dragon Age where sometimes when I am chatting with someone that could mean they die in some way. I came to that point recently and wondered if my better dialog choices could have saved someone.

After the fact, I either check the wiki or I sort of mentally tick that off for a future play through. But, yeah I wish I had it all layed out for me sometimes. But one could ask where the fun is in that I imagine :)

But this does sort of highlight the replay ability of DAO.

Tungsten wrote on 12/22/2012 at 02:46pm

While i'ts not quite the same thing, I kind of like the Rogue Likes where everyone dies. Ya, you made the wrong choice and suffered the consequences, but... eh... that's the point. In games like DAO, it makes me feel like I made some mistake, and I constantly feel like I should re-start and fix it.

Games like that I have to play with a walk-through so that I can make sure I make zero mistakes. After a while, it just starts begin no-fun.

It's not just dying either: situations where there are items that you can't get later in the game give me just as much anxiety. I've sat there with checklists, running through each tiny pickup before moving on to the next area.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/22/2012 at 02:57pm

I agree, but I remember in one case my wife was watching me play and told me at one point "you shouldn't do that" and I ended up doing it and it turned out ok. Afterward I checked the wiki to see how it could have gone and I think I picked well, she said she would have chosen otherwise. I sort of try not to do that a lot and just go with it, but occasionally I just have to look afterward. And it's always and afterward thing, this isn't Monkey Island :)

The last game I think I went through with a guide handy was Ocarina. I think Super Metroid before that...

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 12/23/2012 at 05:01am

@Whiteboy, I'm not really into either of those games, but for different reasons. FF12 has this license board issue that i plan on writing about on here soon where it makes all of your characters the same. KOTOR I just couldn't get into because I'm not really into Star Wars (yup). The combat wasn't particularly what I didn't like about those titles.

With DA:O, I was looking forward to it SO hard and the combat in Baldur's Gate is SO good. I think that was more the issue.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 12/24/2012 at 07:52pm

Yeah the license board in FF12 was kind of a bummer. I started out specializing my characters, but by the time I got to the later parts of the game everyone had basically learned everything else. I look forward to your post about the game. :)

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 12/24/2012 at 10:15pm

License board? Is that like some kind of quest hub?

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 12/25/2012 at 05:55am

It's the level up system. The problem was that abilities were locked by two factors: if you had the license for them (read: you unlocked them in your skill tree) AND if you bought them. Since there's an escalating progression of gear/spells/abilities as you go from city to city, you're encouraged to spend points on what's available. If you insist on specializing your characters, you're going to have tons of XP just sitting around, doing nothing until you get to the town where you can "buy" the ability you want. They should have picked one or the other. It was frustrating as hell.

Tungsten wrote on 12/25/2012 at 03:37pm

I liked the license board. I thought it had a good mix of customization and natural aptitude. Depending on where the character started, there was an obvious progression, but if you were willing to put in the work, you could make anyone do anything you wanted.

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 12/28/2012 at 10:35pm

But you were limited by what was available. So, if I want to make a white mage, I can buy cure in the first town. Between town 1 and town 2, I have tons of unused license points (or whatever they called them) so it incentivizes teaching the white mage fire because I have all these points and it's the only game in town. Same with equipment and other class abilities. Same thing with my black mage. It's not like you need to save those points. They give you plenty to work with.

Now, imagine it worked more like FF10. You didn't buy magic, you just unlocked it. So if you had a bunch of leftover points, you could throw someone down the white mage path and actually advance.

OR it could be like FF1 and you just have new equipment available when you enter a town. You just buy spells and your progression is limited by your progress in the game. I suppose you can just pretend it works like that in FF12 but it's inelegant that way. I played through 2/3 of that game and by the time I quit, each character knew each magic spell and ability available by that point because there was no reason not to.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 01/13/2013 at 07:53pm

Just wondering, @Gary_Butterfield did you beat DAO? @Tungsten?

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 01/13/2013 at 08:42pm

I got through the magic tower, the wood elves thing and one other one, I think. All of them except the Dwarf one, which was where I gave up.

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 01/13/2013 at 08:44pm

Oh, the DLC with the golem, is the other thing I did. I like the golem, for the record. I like all the characters in DA:O.

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 01/13/2013 at 08:45pm

That was weird. That was meant to be another post. I did the mage tower, the wood elves, one other thing and got stuck half way through the dwarves, in addition to the above.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 01/14/2013 at 12:05am

That makes sense, thanks Gary.

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