One thing is certain: there is absolutely no shortage of content in Dragon Age: Origins. The six different beginnings are only the start; each backstory is a good couple of hours of gameplay alone. Along the way, the player will encounter various people who will join the quest, and each party member will have an approval rating. Approval ratings can go up or down within conversations. Sometimes other party members will mention items they are looking for which can be found and given as gifts. Finding the right gift will grant higher approval ratings which can lead to more intimate relationships. While traveling the great land, party members will talk amongst themselves and sometimes have some humorous exchanges.
Other characters will have different plights, problems, and issues that require the skill of a seasoned adventurer. Side missions can open up new aspects of the story and provide rare items, armor and weaponry. Books, notes, and scrolls will litter the path, and each serves to fill in more of the mythology of Ferelden. Often they contain clues to special or lost items that reap rewards when given back to their owners. Some of the side missions are so interwoven into the game that it is often easy to complete a side mission wihout realizing it.
Exploration and plot lines aside, Ferelden can be a dangerous place with many opportunities for combat. Combat can move quickly or slowly depending on individual tastes. It’s possible to pause the action and set up strategies for each party member, but real-time combat is possible because of the useful friendly AI. Party members will act aggressively, defensively, or a few notches in between depending on how their tactics are set up. Dragon Age: Origins tactics are very much like the Final Fantasy gambits, which amounts to a rudimentary scripting language to automate party management. For example: If Self Health = 25% or Less, then Drink Potion.
Dragon Age: Origins features good graphics overall, although some of the areas in the game look spectacular while others lack polish. There is also a noticeable graphic stutter that happens less than often but more than occasionally. This never interrupts the gameplay, so at worst it is a minor annoyance. Most of the character models are rendered well and interact in a lifelike matter within dialog sequences. Dungeons span far and wide and offer forks in the road that will keep the veteran RPG player busy exploring.
The game is not without flaws, but it provides an experience that far outweighs them. There is no way to share the full depth of experience in Dragon Age: Origins within the scope of this review. When the quest comes to a close, players will wonder how things could have turned out differently, as there are plenty of other decisions that will provide entertainment value far past the first playthrough.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Easy to use combat that can be more involved for veteran RPG players
Truly epic quest that provides a deep and unique gameplay experience