Tag Archives: Dragon Age: Origins

Comparing Dragon Age: Origins with Summoner, Not Completely Crazy

I’m going to do something here that might have folks scratching at their heads, but it has to be done: Dragon Age: Origins and Summoner are pretty similar games. Yes, they’re both third-person RPGs set in traditional epic fantasy worlds, focusing on party-based battles, twisting plotlines, and a constant sense of so much to do. But they also both eerily pace themselves in the same manner.

In 2000’s Summoner, after the introductory prologue to get things started, main character Joseph ends up in Lenele, the City of the Gods. It’s a huge city made up of at least ten areas, and Joseph will spend a good hour or so wandering around, speaking to locals, and picking up a ton of miscellaneous side quests before you can even begin the main one.

In 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins, after the introductory origins story and battle at Ostagar, main character Grey Warden ends up in Lothering, a small village that, while not made up of at least ten areas, offers just as many (or more) side quests before starting the real deal.

At both of these points, I began to feel overwhelmed. The main quest has barely begun, and already I have a honeydew list as long as a broadsword. Suffering from gamer OCD, this is problematic. Anyways, let’s also take a look at plot synopses…

Summoner: Joseph’s goal, achieved through his newly regained powers of summoning, is to defend Medeva from the Orenian invasion and to defeat the evil emperor, Murod, by using rings to summon the ultimate creature.

Dragon Age: Origins: After completing their character’s respective origin story, the player encounters Duncan, leader of an elite group known as the Grey Wardens. Duncan guides the player to their destiny of becoming a Grey Warden, a group who dedicate their lives to the destruction of the Darkspawn, a force of demonic creatures that live underground and have at various points in history swarmed the surface of Thedas in movements known as Blights.

So, one game is about stopping an invasion of evil creatures, and the other game is about…stopping an invasion of evil creatures.

And look, Morrigan’s in both games:


I’m really not trying to harp too much on Dragon Age: Origins. I do like it so far, and it’s definitely going to keep me busy for awhile. Just feels like I’ve played it before, recurring pitfalls and all.

P.S. Woah, I even managed to last this entire post without making the joke that both game’s graphics are interchangeable. Er, whoops. Zing!

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.

PURCHASE OF THE MONTH: Dragon Age: Origins

I was planning on picking up Dragon Age: Origins in January, but got so many great games to play over Christmas that it never happened. So the next plan was to get it in February, which was all well and good, but things got busy, and I only just sort of realized this weekend that there’s not many more days left in the month.

It’s amazingly deep so far, and I’ve only just started, having now completed the Elf Mage origin. The codex is marvelous, the magic is fun, and the voice acting strong. The only part I was surprised about is the…graphics. If you look out over the walls at Ostagar, the trees look absolutely ridiculous as they are basically flat images standing atop a texture-less “field” of brown. Maybe the darkspawn had something to do with that. Yet another reason to hate ’em, right?!

Anyways, it’s definitely my kind of RPG. All the numbers, dialogue options, and inventory managing warms my heart. I hope the mage was a good choice though; the magic spells does seem pretty potent, but there was a couple instances where I got knocked down and had to heal really fast or buy the farm. We’ll see how it all pans out…

Cautiously Optimistic about Mass Effect 2

Evidently, there’s some crazy popular new game coming out tomorrow that everyone’s super excited for…I think it’s this one, but I’m not 100% sure:

No? Hmm…well, I’m surely stumped then. Oh wait. Wait a sec. It might be Mass Effect 2. Yeah, I think that’s releasing tomorrow, too. Poor epic sci-fi game. It’s gonna get lost in the flood as sales of Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans take over, forcing BioWare to go bankrupt immediately. I kid, I kid. It’ll do just fine.

Anyways, I just checked out IGN’s video review of the game. I also dropped Mass Effect back into my Xbox 360 earlier in the week, and between these two things…I’m cautiously optimistic. To set the scene, I’m still trying to finish a second playthrough of the first game, with a mean Shephard and a strong supporting cast of biotics brutes. It’s not going well. I hate driving the M35 Mako, I hate having to wait between rooms as I ride the Elevator of Boring, and I hate trying to navigate the inventory system, which, ultimately, is completely useless and all I do now is turn everything I get–and I do mean everything; I don’t even care what it is–into medigel or whatever it is that heals you. These things really do work against me and my brain and the idea of having a good time. On the other hand, I love everything else about Mass Effect.

And from what early reviews and impressions hint at, BioWare kept what I loved and dropped all the bad. A new menu interface, no more aimless Mako excursions, elevators are a thing of the past, and even more customization for characters. Plus, you can transfer your character and his/her decisions over. Still, early reports say that not all is great, with glitches and freezing occuring, but I’m gonna keep my mind open. I know I said this was a game sequel I was not interested in, but if BioWare was able to fix the broken and make the shiny even shinier…well, I guess I will just have to eat my words.

Maybe just knowing that things will get better will be enough for me to push through Mass Effect for the second time. Or maybe not. I could always give Dragon Age: Origins a try, too.