Today, we’re going to be discussing a game that many have held in high regard. To bring a bit of myself into the light, I was mesmerized by Dragon Age: Origins. I remember when I first loaded this unknown Bioware title up not knowing what to expect. It came out to barely any fanfare, yet it was one of the most well crafted games I had played in years. It reminded me of the days of Knights of the Old Republic (the good one) and Jade Empire, and all of the games I loved so much. Ever since that time, I had been highly awaiting every release of the Dragon Age series. I enjoyed 2, although many didn’t. When Inquisition came out…well, I was so happy to see that we were getting an excellent continuation of the franchise.
I’ll start off with some of the negatives for the simple purpose of getting them out of the way. To start, the side quests are REPETITIVE. I don’t know what happened in the last few years, but with EA’s oversight of Bioware, it seems like they’ve forgotten how to breathe life into side quests. Fetch ten of this, grab ten of that, bring me the head of…it gets all too boring after a while. Repeating this concept from area to area is one of those things that is enough to drive a player crazy. The unfortunate thing about DAO is that there is just WAY too much padding throughout the game, there was so much more opportunity to breathe life into the world. Speaking of the world, we’ll have to talk about the ending.
Don’t worry! No spoilers ahead. The only thing I’ll say is that they’ve essentially sold a vital piece of information, and an extremely satisfying true ending for $15. However, it’s EA we’re dealing with. They’re just about the most megalomaniacal corporation we could ever dream of. Still, the DLC packs are tasteful and provide a good bit of content. With three DLC packs to keep the story going past its finale, the game definitely feels long enough to warrant a revisit. Oh, and the final boss battle in the main game is an absolute fart, unfortunately…but the DLC remedies that.
Now, to the good. First, the game is beautiful. It’s a stunning representation of what happens when you give a company enough time to craft a world. Despite all of the various delays, rewrites, and re conceptualization that went on during the development, the final project is definitely polished. The cast of characters is very endearing and bright. They’re thoroughly colorful, and bring back the more fun aspects of earlier Dragon Age games. Unlike 2, no one can accuse this game of being linear. The world is massive, and there is plenty to enjoy and explore as you cross through the various landscapes battling enemies.
The protagonist is not silent, but rather than a smarmy Hawke, they’re mostly tastefully done. The Quinari protagonist is a bit flat, but, knowing the history of their race would remind you that this is something you’d expect. Some characters from previous games make an appearance, and I think the inclusion of Hawke from DA2 is tastefully done, and very fun. I do wish there was a bit more fan service as to what happened to companions from earlier games…but I don’t think we’ll be getting that. To this day, I’m still wondering what happened to Shale.
On top of all that, the combat is phenomenal. I loved DA2’s WoW-esque combat system that felt so much more dynamic. It definitely feels satisfying to flip between characters on the fly and beat down on the enemies that rampage through the land. On top of this, the story is compelling, and I do wish that it was longer. It feels like a lot of the game is truly feathered by so many of these boring side quests, but when you weigh it out with the story missions, there’s not a ton there.
To sum up, this is a wonderful game. Yes, it has its problems. Unfortunately, it’s an EA game. However, what it struggles with in some areas it compensates for in others. Its extremely fun not only to play, but to watch play out. The story is grand and the DLCs definitely compliment the overall design. If you haven’t played the other two, I’d suggest starting there…but this is a must own for fantasy fans.
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