Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Origins of the Age of Dragons

Dragon Age: Origins is one of those RPG's that smacks you in the face with the big picture at the very beginning. A group of mages got greedy and tried to steal the power of God. In return they were cursed into creature called Darkspawn, and thus began an event known as the Blight. As a Gray Warden, it's your duty to fight off the Darkspawn, and unite the factions of Ferelden when the next Blight (large Darkspawn invasion) occurs.

Of course it's never that cut and clear. Soon, you'll be so up to your nose in political intrigue, backstories, side quests, personal errands and overall questing, that you might have forgotten about the Darkspawn if you didn't run into them on occasion out on the world map.

Gameplay wise, Dragon Age borrows a lot from the KOTOR games, as well as a few things from World of Warcraft- which is not altogether a bad thing- most notably the ability cooldowns and the money system (gold, silver, copper). Target the enemy and you'll automatically wail on them with your chosen weapon until you give a command for an ability to be used. This works, however I've found myself on a few occasions tapping the A button.

The big thing in Dragon Age is the titular Origins. At games start you select an origin based on your chosen race and class, which is your own personally tailored origin tale for about two hours until events force you out and into the service of the Grey Wardens. I went with the Dwarven Warrior Noble, in which I was the second son of the King of the Dwarves, and wind up being tricked into killing my elder brother by my cousin- all in a ploy to remove me from power and out of the capital. My brother did the Human Warrior Noble path (mainly because he wasn't aware he could change his origins as well as class), but had little to say on the matter.

The characters in Dragon Age are interesting. The one's you like, you like. The one's you don't, you hate. I try not to use Morrigan, the titular boobs of the group, because she complains and sasses about EVERYTHING, and as far as I've determined, you lose standing with her if you make any moral decisions outside of the Neutral spectrum.

About midway through the game you'll unlock the ability to take side jobs for a variety of groups, which will serve as a means of aiding them in your campaign against the oncoming Darkspawn.
[Minor Spoiler] Due to the regent to the kingdom being an absolute dick, these are often taken in secret from drop points, and serve as a decent break from the heavy story.

Item crafting exists, but as of this writing I've found very little use in it. I often buy the bulk of my healing goods, however it's possibly cheaper to make your own. Traps and poisons...since I am playing a Warrior and am fond of the "Rush in and stab" means of combat, I find little use for Traps. On my next playthrough I will opt for a Rogue.

Sad to say, the intricate strategy Dragon Age wants me to utilize is often lost on me. I often don't switch to other characters to utilize because I like my little Dwarf dude, and I have a responsibility to keep my main character alive. When games do force me into the role of another party member, it's often disorienting. I might go in and tweak the party AI settings thing to see if I can garner further success and upgrading their gear (I haven't had to change my armor since I finished my origin story. I somehow lucked out and wound up with top tier Superior Dwarven Guard Armor), other than that, I trust in their ability to not die. It's not that I don't care about them, they are incredibly useful. As the player in control of the Leader, I prefer to command the leader, and have faith that my followers will not make boneheaded decisions in the midst of a boss battle. It worked pretty well for me in KOTOR and Jade Empire, and so far it's served me good here.

Dragon Age: Origins is definately still worth a look, despite a few bugs and flaws.

No comments:

Post a Comment