Some early impressions for Dragon Age: Origins

Just crossed the ten-hour mark for Dragon Age: Origins. In ten hours, as an elf mage, I’ve done very little. Conversely, I’ve experienced a lot. I’m currently mucking about in Redcliffe, on a quest to storm the town’s castle and find out what is happening with Arl Eamon. It’s definitely turning into a great game, and I know in my heart of hearts that I will love it immensely, but I can’t help and nitpick because some of the issues I’ve noticed should most definitely not be there in a game of this caliber.

Right. Onwards to lists of things…

THINGS I LOVE

  • The world. Amazingly detailed even if it is more or less a mesh of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. And I’ve only unlocked…14%. Love the treatment of elves, as well as the Circle of Magi and their emotionless servants. The Codex can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s worth scouring for sure.
  • The writing. It’s sort of BioWare’s thing.
  • So much to do, so many options. And most of the time you don’t get to pick them all or go back and try another, which makes perfect sense. Some games are just more forgiving than others; not this one; your actions are yours. And even if it didn’t have the different origin stories, Dragon Age: Origins has plenty of replay value. The dialogue options are great and varied, the structure of quests have multiple outcomes, and once you get to Lothering it becomes a sort of choose-your-own adventure; I most likely won’t go straight to Redcliffe with my next character.

THINGS I’M UNSURE OF

  • The inventory menus. They are deep and fairly organized, but still a bit of work to get through. Especially when assigning spells to the controller’s face buttons. It can be clunky, but it might just take me some more time to get used to.
  • Combat tactics. Have not set any of these up, but I want to. The problem? The interface is not very clear.
  • Why can’t a mage unlock treasure chests? I should at least be able to cast a magic missile on it.

THINGS I HATE

  • At least three times during a cutscene, a character has completely walked through another character. Not even in a fantasy world like Ferelden should that be possible.
  • Also a cutscene complaint: with friendly fire, I accidentally set Alistair on fire with a flame spell, and then we hopped into a cutscene where, limbs ablaze, Alistair stood calmly and spoke without any realization that that horrible burning smell was actually him.
  • My character, Carys, likes to wear an enchanter’s cowl. It helps with his magic and/or willpower (I can’t actually remember at this point). Anyways, he’s definitely wearing it when running around town or doing battle, but the moment we hop into a cutscene…he is not. Yet if I changed his staff or robes, that’s been updated. I don’t understand this.
  • Nineteen things happening all at once, all of them going by in a blur of swooshes. So, say you just talked to a dude. When the cutscene ends, you get a bunch of pop-up messages that say “New codex entry!” “New quest!” “Quest updated!” “Items received!” “Alistair approves (+3)!” “Morrigan disapproves (-7)!” And then it’s all gone before you even realized what happened.
  • And the graphics. Sometimes they are pretty, most of the time they are not. Thankfully, gameplay makes up for them each and every time. I’m just surprised it’s not as polished-looking as, say, Mass Effect 2, made by the very same company.

Either way, I’m itchin’ to play more.

2 responses to “Some early impressions for Dragon Age: Origins

  1. I pretty much agree with all your assessments, especially the graphics part. It really is an unpolished game. Seeing people in a conversation while on fire is hilarious though, I’m also playing a mage so it’s familiar.

    I think the hood thing is done really well. I don’t want to see the hood on during the cutscene, I want to see the specifically chosen hair and roundness of the eyes.

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