Dragon Age: Origins Review

Dragon Age: Origins has been one of the most anticipated releases in the RPG world for a very long time. Development started way back in 2004 and quickly garnered interest in the RPG community after being slated as the “spiritual successor” to what is widely considered the best RPG of all time, Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. Well now Dragon Age: Origins has arrived, and you’ll be thankful to hear that the developers at Bioware were not lying. DA is essentially a modern version of Baldur’s Gate 2; it can best be described as a mix of Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic, for the overall design is very similar. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, all you need to know is that Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 were deep, complex, hugely engrossing, and provided powerful role playing experiences that set the standard for almost every RPG to come afterwards, including KOTOR.

Is the plot as good as Baldur’s Gate 2? Not quite, but DA is still the best RPG we’ve had in a long time. It’s a classic combination of quality characters and writing, a well fleshed out story and setting, and engaging combat. This combination makes Dragon Age a phenomenal game.


Art Style: The art direction carries it through very well and provides a great sense of grandeur as you explore the large amount of well varied and beautiful locations. Overall it still looks great, at times it may feel rather generic and blatantly similar to the Lord of the Rings in terms of its art direction, but that’s part of the point, and it does the setting justice.

Cut Scenes: The cut-scenes are also what we have come to expect of Bioware after the superb effort in Mass Effect, and it aids the story progression greatly. Likewise, the music composed by Inon Zur (who also worked on Fallout 3 and Crysis) helps push the settings quality even more, and it’s perfectly suited to Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy.

Voice Acting: The voice acting in Dragon Age Origins is great. It feels like a Diseny production at times. There are the occasional bad voices, but the main cast is increadible. From Claudia Black’s Morrigan to Captian Janeway (Kate Mulengrew’s) Flemeth. The voice actors for these important characters all sound like they put a lot of care and thought into who they were voicing. The script for these characters only helps to strengthen the voice actors work. The lead writer David Gadier mentioned once that he took some inspiration from Joss Whedon, and specifically Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for writing the character interactions. This shows. The banter flows naturally and is generally amusing and worth listening to. The more you talk to the characters and hear them talk to each other the more real they feel. Bioware’s usually party member stereotypes are gone. Shale isn’t HK-47, even though he could easily have been made into one. Alistair isn’t Carth (thankfully). There are hints of these stereotypes within the characters, but that is inevitable. There are only so many archetypes that can be created.


Quest Variation: The quest design does leave much to be desired though, most of the time does it devolve into going through a rather linear dungeon of sorts battling enemies. Until you get to an end point where you’ll talk to some leader. While it’s nothing bad by any means, some more variation would have been welcome.

Camera: The camera has issues. It can get stuck on walls and sometimes will get stuck on a ceiling, not letting you zoom out unless you angle it correctly first. This can get frustrating if you like to switch between camera modes depending on the situation. Also the AI isn’t always great.


In closing, this is an excellent game. It goes to show how easy RPGs have become in recent years. I’m not engaging in any kind of hyperbole when I say Dragon Age Origins is the best RPG I have played in over a decade. This game stands up there only a set or two below the classics and on a completely different playing field compared to modern RPGs. I’ve played a lot of good games this year and I’ve reviewed a collection of games I liked (especially Burnout Paradise), but Dragon Age Origins is firmly my favorite game of this year and I doubt anything will come out in a long time that will top it.

Dragon Age: Origins Review by SYSTEMSH0CK and Derangel