Posted on November 10th, 2009 in Axel Night, Video Games by Axel Night

I’d probably post more on the front page, if I didn’t typically associate doing so with a need for some kind of magazine-like article professionalism.  So, today’s experiment is something of a detour to rational thought with half-assed front page theatre.  It’s forum-quality content with a front page hype!  I don’t buy games at launch often, so I have to validate my $50 purchase somehow.

What can I say about Dragon Age: Origins that’s going to surprise you?  It’s everything I expected, nothing I didn’t.  It lived up to the hype and the review sites are juiced.  Good for them.

Some people are groaning about the challenge, and find it too difficult even on Easy.  I’m playing on Easy right now, and while the occasional encounter makes me think, I’m not having any massive issues.  It’s a "save anytime as often as you like" game, so redoing an encounter a couple of times until you figure it out isn’t really a debilitating thing, though you will have to make use of the pause button to order about your party from time to time.  The challenge is a bit much for real time on occasions.

The story is just jaw-droppingly well done, not to mention mind-numbingly long (with average times running around 90 hours start-to-end).  In keeping with modern Bioware titles, dialog by NPCs other than you is all voiced out with up close, live cutscenes, and makes up a majority of the story-elements.  It helps the massive amounts of dialog melt hours off your clock when you’re not inundated with just walls of text.  Though, the game does have its walls of lore text, should you find yourself wanting for it.  Characters, as far as I’ve seen so far, are very well made and voiced.  Even the "Paladin" of the group (actually a Templar, one who hunts illegal mages or "witches") is playful, witty and charming, rather than the usual fantasy fare of stick-up-ass bland.  I actually find myself caring about these individuals and their associated side-stories.  Not since a certain hamster-toting barbarian have I been so enamored.

Mechanics are thankfully streamlined from the D&D-based systems, even if over-influenced by certain MMORPGs.  I’m not bothered that my rogue brandishes twin daggers using special attacks fueled by a gradually-refilling yellow meter and limited by short "cooldowns" while carefully making certain not to generate more "threat" than the warrior.  No, I’m pissed that I click on the thing I want dead with my right mouse button.  I stick by the assessment I made when Blizzard first did it that placing the bulk of basic interactions onto the secondary mouse button, while the first mouse button is saddled with menial tasks that could have easily been consolidated together on a single button is, in no uncertain terms, pants-on-head retarded.  Seriously, the precedent was set in Windows 3.1.  Left button = Do things.  Right button = context-based tertiary options, (or firing both shotgun barrels instead of just one).  My pointer-finger isn’t that tired that it needs a break.  Get your dick out of the pudding and stop screwing with my mousing habits you fat fucks!  Sorry.  I just needed to get that off my chest.  (The option menu does offer a "switch mouse buttons" option, but it completely swaps them, forcing me to press OK with the right button.  So, the core problem isn’t really fixed, and it beats the sack of inbred kittens with a bat while it’s at it.)

Character creation is simple but effective.  You can be born a Human, Elf or Dwarf and by trade a Warrior, Rogue or Mage, with Dwarven Mage the only banned combo.  Amidst those combos are six potential backgrounds that decide which starting story you play through as well as a bit of the content and dialog through the game.  My first go was Human Noble Rogue, which given some of the launch-day bugs has me pretty gimped.  Can no game launch without major bugs anymore?  Skills and special abilities are dumbed down from the complicated D&D systems.  Cheer or groan as necessary.  There’s enough variety to call your character your own, and while there’s a lot less skills, attacks and spells to go around, the abilities you do have are mostly quality over quantity.  Mages probably have the most variety, able to fill the niche of nuker buffer or healer in a variety of ways, or even don heavy armor and weapons to join the front line using special unlockable talents.  All things considered, I like the results.

There is DLC, and I recommend you pass.  You paid $50.  That’s plenty.  The extra content right now isn’t really extra content to play through (like it even needs it) so much as stores and items to make things easier.  Players have had issues even getting that little bit they paid for, you have to be online to use it or some such, and it’s just a big mess all around.  Serves it right.  If content isn’t worth bundling and buying as its own sequel or expansion, it’s not worth my download, in my head.  I’m sick of pre-order, DLC and patch-based content.  I’m sick of games that launch with game-altering bugs.  I want a game that I can put in ten years from now and play in all of the glory for which it would be remembered, not this short-sighted money-hungry Twitter-generation crap.  Get off my lawn you kids!

Oh, but um, yeah.  Dragon Age is fun.  Good job.  You can go now.  Shoo.


What are people saying about "Dragon Age: Origins"?

Sasha Kenzan
Re: Dragon Age: Origins

The entire rant about DLC and patches at the end sums up my thoughts about DLC in general perfectly.  I already paid my money, why is my game incomplete and broken?

Read the rest or join the discussion here on the forums. If you're not a member of the forums, register first.