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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Dragon Age » Dragon Age: Origins » First DA:O Review

Default First DA:O Review

September 30th, 2009, 03:05
I'm happy to say that both of the listed cons sound like pros to me!

Summary from http://daforums.bioware.com/forums/v…Bioware Forums:

Pros: multi-threaded plot
climate
combat
great possibilities for development
length

Cons:
looks old school
some fights are difficult like hell even at lower difficulty levels

There are additional rates for:
- graphics: 7/10
- music: 9/10
- playability 9/10
And here are some more comments from Desslock based on the review copy he has been playing for a few weeks (he is reviewing the game for PC Gamer Mag):

Because of the delay for the console ports, the PC game has been ready for a long time - even if they've still been tweaking and cleaning up a few things.

FWIW, the reviewable build I've had for a few weeks is rock solid - in over 80 hours of play, it hasn't crashed once and is very polished. No issues whatsoever aside from a single journal entry that improperly recorded the resolution of a quest (the Conor quest, Bioware guys).

If you've been looking for a party-based RPG with tough tactical combat, Dragon Age is definitely for you.

Which is not to say it's combat intensive - it's actually very dialogue heavy, and most fights feel like heavily designed, challenging, setpieces. The awarded "achievements" for keeping your character alive in combat are well-earned.
From here.
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September 30th, 2009, 04:14
Very good news indeed. Damn console caused delays…

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September 30th, 2009, 04:42
Well, the console-caused delays are part of the reason why the game is so (reportedly) polished. They were actually tweaking and bug-hunting during the delay. The rumour that the game was 100% finished sitting on a shelf somewhere for the last 6 months while they made the console ports is actually false.

Bioware games are generally pretty solid in my experience (apart from one show-stopper in JEPC) but it sounds like DA:O will be released with Blizzard-like levels of polish.
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September 30th, 2009, 05:10
There is a second opinion with the review. The second reviewer gives the game 9 out of 10, and says something like the following:

(There are two translations in the thread. I have used the two of them to produce a cleaned up translation of my own)

Dragon Age is not a next-gen RPG, the gameplay is of a classical style. Gathering your party, long preparations for the bigger battles, lots of time spent studying skill trees to determine how you will develop your characters - these things are the core of the game. There are very few games these days that require so much involvement from the player. None of them offer such a complex, multi-threaded, and interesting plot, which is the most important thing. The story makes you want to spend dozens (or even hundreds) of hours with Dragon Age: Origins. I highly recommend it to hardcore RPG fans. Other gamers, sadly, have nothing to look for here.
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September 30th, 2009, 05:31
Cons:
looks old school
some fights are difficult like hell even at lower difficulty levels
Come on. Are those really cons? Ok maybe a little but I want the game to be challenging. Admittedly nice if the level slider made a difference for those that prefer story to combat. Also sad to hear that reviewers think its only for hardcore RPG fans as that may detract from sales (and therefore its sequel)
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September 30th, 2009, 13:01
@Badesumofu: that translation of the review put actually a smile on my face, esp. the "DA is not a next-gen RPG, Other gamers, have nothing to look for here" parts… I need to get my head checked.

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September 30th, 2009, 14:16
Excellent news - makes me glad to have stuck by in spite of the 'marketing by and for teenage boys' campaign.

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September 30th, 2009, 14:25
Too complicated, too hard, looks and feels old-fashioned… what's not to like?
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September 30th, 2009, 14:27
ONOES! Kombat is teh hard!!11
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September 30th, 2009, 14:56
Pros are good, Cons are even better. Sounds great to me.
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September 30th, 2009, 15:28
After reading this review…. I am suddenly very interessed in this game! Inspite of how hard the EA marketing guys tried to make me hate it.
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September 30th, 2009, 17:31
Been waiting for this for a looong time. Can't wait.
Only question is, do I get risen now, and have a good month to play it before Dragon age, or do i work on finishing drankensang. And why i picked up sacred 2 a week ago because of the sale it went on I don't know..
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September 30th, 2009, 18:17
I'm almost considering to stop boycotting EA's games. Well, almost. Will have to read more to find out if the game's dialogue strays away from Bio's traditional cartoony style.
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September 30th, 2009, 18:30
Just as I guessed. The advertisements were made just to fool young players to play old-school game. "The new shit is the old shit".

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
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October 2nd, 2009, 00:58
the cons sound positive to me as well. The reviews really put confident in me to buy DA.
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October 6th, 2009, 21:20
More thoughts from Desslock ( I cannot wait for my issue of PCG to arrive this month…)


Originally Posted by comment on combat difficulty
Yes, probably — try it on the default setting and go down if you find it too difficult (which has friendly fire, although that makes less of a difference than it would in NWN2 for instance). I think you can adjust it while playing, in case you get stuck or are just annoyed at replaying a battle, but I'll confirm that. I've stuck on "normal" and have spent a long time on some battles to develop better strategies (and, occasionally, relying on BG1-type kiting).
This is great for me, since I always play a Mage char first.
Originally Posted by On classes and Mages
Classes are distinct - you can't turn a Mage into a fighter-mage, for instance. You'll have to opt for a fighter, rogue or mage - they all play very differently despite some overlap in powers. Skills can be chosen by any character, even though in other games you'd typically associate them with specific classes (like herbalism, for making potions; stealing; trapmaking — those aren't confined to mages, rogues, etc. as you might intuitively expect).

Mages are also extremely powerful, but vulnerable, almost to the extent of the older editions of D&D. They're also very customizable - one mage will play very differently from another based upon the wide range of available spells (you can try to be a jack of all trades, but at high cost, since you could instead progress in the 4 ranks of spells to choose from in each specialization.

But mages are uber-dangerous, which also fits well with the background lore of the setting. While in most D&D games typically one of the easiest ways to blast through the storyline is to have a band of fighter types, that wouldn't work as well in Dragon Age, where combat is really tough without a mage's AOE damage and crowd control spells and healing (no clerics, so mages fill that role too).

In my primary playthrough, for most of the game I ended up using 2 mages, a warrior and a rogue (my main), which is a mix that I don't think I ever used in a D&D game.

Originally Posted by On choice making in DA:O
Hey, as I mentioned in my review, BioWare games usually have 3 choices - good/bad/petulant teenager-nobody-ever-chooses-option.

While I definitely think that's a legitimate criticism (which I share) of past games, it's not true of Dragon Age generally, which does a better job of providing choices that seem varied and reasonably viable than almost any RPG. Dragon Age is a significant improvement in that respect. To be honest, it's the first BioWare game that (at least) matched the style of Troika/Obsidian, old Black Isle games in that respect - BioWare games have always had good stories and generally solid dialogue, but their method of storytelling has been simpler. There's an amazing amount of choice in Dragon Age.

Sure there are some quest instances where you have to elect to help, or not, but even when there's only two end results in those circumstances, there's different ways to arrive at those endings - the bottom line is, the choices just feel more "natural", less like you're gaming, and are more ambiguous and intriguing, so you're more likely to choose a personalized path based upon the character you're roleplaying instead of just "gaming" the result you think you want to have.
This is the best bit of news that I have read, about the mages. I "bolded" the bits that made me very happy:

I think you'll also like the way magic is handled in Dragon Age, then. Mages are fucking dangerous and treated as such. They're lobotomized, hunted down, forced into training, or executed.

People aren't using light spells to walk their dogs - the clergy have no magic (and are opposed to it, for possibly legitimate reasons) it's a relatively low magic setting. It's a testament to the quality of the writing that reactions seem alternately sensible and atrocious, but always plausible.

It's the way stuff like that is handled that makes Dragon Age the "mature" RPG that I really enjoy - not the animated puppet sex.
Not that I needed more motivation to play a mage char first…

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October 7th, 2009, 14:42
In my primary playthrough, for most of the game I ended up using 2 mages, a warrior and a rogue (my main), which is a mix that I don't think I ever used in a D&D game.
Well, if like you say, mages also heal, then you could say that your party was 1 mage (specialized in firepower), 1 "priest" (mage specialized in healing/buffing), 1 warrior and 1 rogue, which is pretty much the quintessential fantasy party.
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October 7th, 2009, 18:58
This does sound really great… DA might not disapoint as much as some people expect, afterall!

Hopefully, I will have the time to finish Risen before DA is released
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October 12th, 2009, 13:17
I noted in a preview of the mage that the class sounded redicilously powerful. I usually go the "safe route" and play a Fighter type first (played a bandit in Risen), but in DA:O I have decided to stick with a mage. They just sound too badass to turn down.
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October 12th, 2009, 13:21
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I noted in a preview of the mage that the class sounded redicilously powerful. I usually go the "safe route" and play a Fighter type first (played a bandit in Risen), but in DA:O I have decided to stick with a mage. They just sound too badass to turn down.
I dunno, reading about the templars made me cry . They are designed to kill mages…

When the templars are sent to eliminate a possible blood mage, there is no reasoning with them, and if the templars are prepared the mage’s magic is often all but useless. Driven by their faith, the templars are one of the most feared and respected forces in Thedas.

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