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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Electronic Arts
Developed By: Bioware
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

December 15, 2009 - Humans, Dwarfs, Elves, walking and talking trees, and an all powerful beings... No I'm not talking about Lord Of The Rings, but Dragon Age: Origins, the latest title within the Dragon Age Universe from developer Bioware. The latest in a strong wave of Western Action-RPGs to be released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms, Dragon Age: Origins let's you transform your character from obscurity into a powerful force which can save the people of Fereldin and the rest of the world. Are you up for the daunting task because the Grey Wardens need your help.

When jumping into Dragon Age: Origins, you are greeted with a “create a character” option, which lets you fully customize the look of your character. You can determine sex, race, facial features and what class -- Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Archer -- your character belongs to. An interesting thing about the customization is the ability to give your character a voice. The only time you will hear your character speak is when you are in the heat of battle. During these moments, your character will shout out phrases and commands towards fellow combatants and enemies alike. Depending on the class and race you choose, you'll be greeted with a distinct introduction storyline that ultimately leads you to working with the Grey Wardens.

Looking at the surface one would argue that there is no real control over your character's growth within Dragon Age: Origins, however as soon as you actually begin you epic quest with the Grey Wardens you soon realize that what you do and say to others has a great impact on your character's growth within the game. This includes whether to side with the Mages in an epic dispute with the Templars over preserving the Circle, or vice versa. The ability to walk the line of good or evil; or play within the neutral zone is key to the longevity and immersive nature of Dragon Age: Origins. Walk he path of darkness and people will fear you throughout the lands. Walk the path of righteousness and people will come to you for help and praise your efforts. Fall in the middle realm, and no one knows what to expect from you, including your fellow companions.

While the main story is very engaging and taxing, the side quest and random encounters you will embark on help fuel the spectacle that is Origins. It's here where you can find some of the most powerful weaponry and armaments, companions that are willing to join your fight against the darkspawn and evening some interesting encounters. However, just like the main story of the game, your interactions with other NPCs plays a role in how many of these situations will play out. Bioware went all out to ensure the gaming experience for each gamer is tailored to that player and their style of play. No two people will experience the same journey, unless they of course do exactly the same thing throughout the game. Now how much fun would that be?

Your actions are essential to how the story plays out, however how you progress your character's development is essential to your very survival. If you choose to be a Rogue, your abilities at disabling traps and casting spells are higher than that of a Warrior or a Dwarf. However in Dragon Age: Origins you have the option to level up your character's stats any way you choose. So could actually increase your Rogue's strength or magic abilities to rival that of a Warrior or Mage; however you won't be able to acquire specific ability upgrades due to the change in combat style. So playing to the abilities of that actual character class is key to develop the best character possible, however the ability to level your character up any way you see fit is a nice bonus to have.

For a game of such grandeur, the visuals with Dragon Age: Origins are of high quality. The environments, whether they be towns, open fields, forests, etc. are all nicely detail and enriched full of color and life (if u don't mind seeing ravaging creatures running a muck). The character models are also nicely detail, though the facial presentation of elderly people looks a bit too ghoulish at times. The special effects are bright and intense at times. You will often see blood splattered all over the place, including you and your companions, though it looks mighty wired when your characters goes around towns wig the blood still all over them while your companions are nice and clean. There are also issues with having a consistent framerate. The framerate may take a dip depending on how many characters are on the screen at once, sometimes for no reason at all.

Next the depth of the single-player campaign, the sound reigns supreme. The shear amount of voiceover work that was put into this game is mind-blowing. There are varying accents, humorous dialog and banter back and forth between your party members, and every once in awhile, your character will shout out a few phrases during combat sequences. The in-game soundtrack is very impressive as well. I’m not sure if Bioware enlisted the help of a Hollywood orchestra or not, but the quality of the score is very good. SO good in fact, you would want to acquire the soundtrack on CD.

With six different branching stories to begin your epic quest with, Dragon Age: Origins replay value is through the roof. Couple that with the ability to decide your fight and the route you take throughout the game, Dragon Age: Origins is one of the most in-depth titles of this generation. With solid visuals and fantastic audio work, it makes you wonder what can Bioware possibly do to top this epic title. For those who haven’t picked up this game, I recommend you do so now. Whether you purchase it or rent it, once you are done investing upwards of 60 hours into the gameplay, you will walk away from this experience wanting more.


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