|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BioWare||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Like any good RPG, leveling in Dragon Age is quite satisfying. In fact, rather than feeling like a power-grind, it's much more like developing a character. Rather than getting railroaded onto a set track, players will have lots of power selections and even four class-specific specialties from which to choose.
That means I could play a mage, warrior, or rogue in vastly different ways due to the secondary fighting styles (sword and shield vs. two-weapon vs. two-handed, etc.) and the back-story that accompanies each specialty. For example, you could create an Arcane Warrior mage with shapeshifting capabilities concentrated on entropic and primal powers. The next time you could play as a Templar and Champion that destroys enemies through vicious two-handed weapons and an indomitable will. As such, making your way through Dragon Age: Origins multiple times seems less of a chore and more of a challenge.
Production value in Dragon Age is extremely high. The impressive amount of voice work is all outstanding, effectively bringing the player deep into the story. Also, the booming sound effects and epic musical themes really help the action hit home. Additionally, the sweeping, detailed environments really set the tone and nicely flesh out the world, and the excellent character and creature design makes conversations and killing a whole lot more fun.
While graphical quality is generally excellent, it's not quite as sharp as the very best games out there - Gears of War 2, Killzone 2, Uncharted 2, et al. Nevertheless, it's still a great-looking game. If you're a console gamer, you're not going to have to worry about having a high-end rig to really enjoy the game, but you're also going to miss out on some of the polish and spit-shine that has gone into it on the PC side of things.
There is so much more to Dragon Age: Origins I just don't have room to explain here. Simply know that there are tons of weapons and loot to find, craft, and coat with poison, thousands of quests to take on, storekeepers to intimidate, and NPCs to persuade. If you're a Western-style, fantasy RPG nut, you simply can't go wrong with Dragon Age: Origins. BioWare has outdone itself once again - they've created an RPG masterpiece that more than rivals its competitors, even if it loses its tactical luster in translation to consoles.
CCC Editor / News Director