Gameplay ImpressionsGameplay Impressions
The attention to detail in Dragon Age Origins is admirable, but it comes mainly in the form of lengthy dialogue and the building of back-story, lore, and characters, rather than the presentation and creation of a visually impressive fantasy masterpiece to lose yourself in. If you're coming to Dragon Age Origins from playing the likes of Oblivion you'll be sorely disappointed at the overall lack of polish in the game. During conversations, characters models look ugly and lifeless, while the bland environments rarely create the dazzling fantasy setting that the game really does deserve.
You see, behind the average-looking exterior lies a deep and involving game that is rich in choice and swimming in story-telling finesse. Though dialogue does ramble on unnecessarily on occasions, the storyline is undoubtedly a highlight. It's easy to lose a hell of a lot of hours wrapped up in dialogue, enjoying the narrative, almost as much as it is playing the game. It's interesting to see how your moral choices really do effect relationships, which highlights the attention to detail and the vast replay value that the game brings in terms of choice. Indeed, a large chunk of the appeal of Dragon Age Origins for us has been in seeing our character grow and forging a unique pathway for him as he increases in skills and powers
It can be tough going at time, which is why we've stated that Dragon Age Origins is probably only going to appeal to hardened RPG players; and it's also true that combat is probably going to divide opinion. We spent a lot of time in the pause menu, stacking attacks and deliberating over which spells to cast, rather than being embroiled in all-out action. But it's this depth and micro-management that is also the appeal as Dragon Age Origins takes a more traditional RPG route and focuses on tactical play. Granted, it sometimes feels a little hit and miss and a case of blind experimentation has seemingly played a part in us winning some of the battles, but largely combining spells and attacks, dabbling in the various skill trees, and using the radial menu to switch intuitively between team members has also provided a lot of mentally-stimulating enjoyment.
Dragon Age Origins has left us with a mixture of emotions. At times we've been bored out of our minds listening to lengthy conversation and tired of having to really think about our reply before answering them back, or partaking in humdrum fetch quests across fairly uninspiring landscapes. But on other occasions, when we've been locked away in silence (away from the hustle and bustle of the office) we've been immersed in the fantasy world and keen to push forward with our mission and see the results of our choices and our character grow. Though Dragon Age Origins ultimately lacks the magical spark that really ignites it into the realms of being an outstanding RPG, we're willing to bet that for every gamer that finds it dull and boring, they'll be just as many that will hail it one of the best role-playing games of recent times. Our final score represents a fairly happy medium.
Final Score - 7.5/10