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Dragon Age Origins back to reviews
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Oblivion was better
7/10

The Good:

-The Graphics are gorgeous. Then again, what would you expect from a game released in 2009?

-Being able to interact with party members and even pursue a romantic relationship with them was pretty neat.

-The characters are interesting and well written.

The Bad:

-The trailers were misleading, making this game look far more epic and awesome than it actually was.

-It was short. Took me a little over a week to finish. The reason I said Oblivion was better was because you could ignore the main quest completely and just go off exploring. Not so in Dragon Age. You have to follow the main quest, or you won't have anything else to do. There are sidequests, but they're so numerous and pointless, that it feels like they were tacked on as an afterthought. To make matters worse, the main quests are long and tedious, which subtracts a shitload of points from the game's replay value.

-"But it's story driven!" fans tell me in response to the above. Honeys, if I played games for their plot, I'd be reading books instead. And no way in hell would I pick up something as cliche as this.

-Speaking of cliches, why does it seem like heroic fantasy writers don't have a creative bone in their bodies? Why must the story take place in some ersatz European setting? Why must the main religion be a ripoff of Christianity? Sure, Oblivion was like this as well, but because of the numerous other things the game provided, it was tolerable.

-Dear God, the loading screens.What is this, The Sims 2? And why hasn't Bio Ware fixed that memory leak?

The Meh:

-This game is pretty much Neverwinter Nights with fancier graphics. I'm not a fan of party-based games, but it's not enough to turn me off of the game completely.

-They could have been a lot more subtle with that Sequel Hook.
Arl Redcliffe: Say, don't you think my son has been acting strange lately?
Warden: Well, I haven't seen the boy since I finished your quest, so I can't really say. Why do you ask?
Arl Redliffe: Oh nothing. I'm certainly not dropping hints of any plotlines that will be explored in the impending sequel. Nope, not at all.

I haven't seen that Sequel Hook bit. Is that word-for-word, or paraphrased? In the part of the game that I'd expect it exists, that's a bit of a Playable Epilogue, and is mostly there for some funny bits anyway. Sten says that "the cake is a lie," for christ's sake. There are also LOTS of situations that could make for sequel hooks, if Bioware is going the route that I think they're going.

The load screens stopped bothering me when I uploaded the game to my 360's hard drive.

Finally, did you really expect your dis of story-based games would hold water? Oblivion and DA:0 are completely different sorts of RP Gs. Oblivion is a Wide Open Sandbox while DA is a classic Western RPG in the vein of Baldurs Gate. If you like to wander off and not do any story-based quests, of course you're going to like Oblivion more. That's not a criticism of Dragon Age, it's a criticism of the subgenre.

Me, I never played Oblivion, but I played Morrowind quite a lot; I got sick of it after my character became the head of one of the noble houses, because the main quest wasn't compelling at all and I didn't feel like it was urgent, or even worth doing. Almost the same thing happened in Daggerfall. The only Elder Scrolls game I actually finished was Arena,way back in the day. This is my personal issue with that style of the game; I'm not going to say that Oblivion is worse than Dragon Age because of it.

And Another Thing: how were trailers misleading? All that stuff they do in the trailer is basically what you do in the game. Killing darkspawn, check, killing dragons, check... Sure, it isn't using in-game animation to show you the P Cs being badass, but that was kinda obvious, wasn't it?
comment #1440 Dracomicron 7th Dec 09 (edited by: Dracomicron)
I agree with most of the above comment. And how is it too short? That game took me 2-3 days of straight all night playing to get through, and even then I missed most of the character quests and side quests. Replaying it with a different Origin Story, while not too different, adds a whole lot of new details in the game world.

To me Dragon Age is the best RPG Bioware has done. The gameplay's great, the story well written,the character somehow both being hilarious and realistic at the same time, and tons of other shit I could just blather on Gushing About Shows You Like about. So I respectfully disagree with most of your points.

One thing though. You didn't complain about the ass-load of bugs and the Wall Banger inducing scenario of them putting characters in-game who require DLC to play the quests.
comment #1471 NoMoreSanity 9th Dec 09 (edited by: NoMoreSanity)
Pretty awful review here.

- The trailer point is essentially irrelevant. Has this ever not been the case with any game that's used a CGI trailer instead of gameplay footage? One should have a bit of common sense about the difference between a trailer and gameplay, instead of claiming they were lied to when the actual game turns out to be slightly less epic.

- A playthrough will take you about 40 hours. That's less than Oblivion, sure, but the game also gives you incentive to play through multiple times. I'm limiting myself to two, but even that means I'm never going to experience four origin stories, never going to get to romance two of the possible party members, never going to have certain possible endings occur. There is absolutely no incentive to play Oblivion more than once. Oblivion gives you a wide-open world with a bunch of stuff to explore, but once you've done that the first time there's nothing at all left. You can... play the game again with different specializations? But combat tends to be mostly samey, there's no party to build, and there are pitifully few opportunities for actual roleplaying.

Draco made an excellent point about how these are just simply two different kinds of game. You may as well criticize Dragon Age because it's not a first-person shooter. Or a real-time strategy. Or a football management sim.

- The story, like pretty much anything Bio Ware does, is an outer layer of cliches under which is buried a very immersive and well-written setting. Yes, the general premise is that a horde of orc-type monsters threaten to take over the world, which is populated by humans, dwarves, and elves. Yet the actual natue of the darkspawn, the maneuverings of Fereldan politics, the specific situations of the elves and dwarves, the actual workings of Andraste and the Chantry (which is influenced just as much by Islam as it is by Christianity, don'tcha know!) all end up making the setting a truly interesting one. Oblivion let you explore a lot in a world that you never ended up caring about because it was so damn generic. Dragon Age railroads you more than Oblivion, but if you pay any attention to the setting at all, it becomes a very very interesting one.

- Loading screens were never an issue for me. I was playing it on a 360, maybe it's different for other platforms?

- Again, more baseless criticism of a genre rather than actual criticism of the game. Yeah, I also didn't like how the characters aren't football players and you don't manage their contracts and stuff. Really detracts from the game.

- That's not nearly the most important sequel hook they dropped. I don't even remember this conversation happening, and I really don't see why a sequel hook to something Bio Ware has outright said is the first part of a series (the subtitle is "Origins", don'tcha know) is such a bad thing.

Overall, this review really just seems like you played Oblivion, were expecting this game to be Oblivion again, and were disappointed when it wasn't Oblivion. Too bad, I say. For a much better setting, real roleplaying (and the best I've ever seen in a CRPG, to boot), and more interesting combat, I say Dragon Age is in fact much better than Oblivion.
comment #1479 JonnyAngel 10th Dec 09
If you think that the Arl's son was the sequel hook, you weren't paying attention and a certain God Baby would like a word with you.

You're also not restricted to the main quest.

I agree with the memory leak problem, however.
comment #1612 74.233.62.179 6th Jan 10
I think the OP means that the side quests are COMPLETELY BORING. There's no fun in doing them, and you probably won't do them your second playthrough.

And about the God Baby...well, you don't have to make him. You can sacrifice someone else.
comment #1619 helterskelter 7th Jan 10
Right. But then it's obviously the canon ending to make it, seeing as how Alistair is still around and you're alive. They wouldn't resist giving an extra plot thread to basically their flagship character so she could return for the sequel.

The reviewer could've not had that ending and been oblivious to it, but then that means the reviewer probably didn't bother to look at all the options the game offered.

The side quests are rather...weak, yes. But Oblivion lacked the dialogue flexibility and (most of) the characters were about as engaging as a dry eraser board.

It's an unfair comparison.
comment #1627 74.233.62.179 8th Jan 10
DA and Oblivion are not the type of games that even should be compared to each other. If you only like Oblivion-types in terms of RP Gs, you will not like Dragon Age. And vice versa.

And, with the advent of ME 2 allowing for players to keep previous plot choices, we may very well not see God Baby. Leading me to believe that it will be a optional party member, but that's speculation.

-Helter Skelter
comment #1631 71.164.126.152 8th Jan 10
I felt that Dragon Age's setting wasn't as well-realized as in other games they've done. (Particularly Mass Effect, as their other big original IP title.) Part of the problem is just that reconstruction-style fantasy has been around longer than reconstruction-style sci-fi. In terms of religion, DA had the Christianity/Islam-based Chantry, but Oblivion had the traditional 'non-interventionist' gods, along with the Daedra, who you expect would be the evil demons...but other than Mehrunes Dagon, they don't seem terribly evil; most of them are just concerned with their own little sphere, and some actually take up causes that seem like things gods would be interested in, like protecting nature or destroying undead. This isn't to say that DA isn't well-written, because Bioware games tend to have very good writing, but the world concepts aren't as creative (as in The Elder Scrolls) or as interestingly worked (as in Mass Effect).
comment #2299 Kotep 18th Apr 10
Kotep, i'm not sure I understand how DA's monotheistic religion based on an apathetic, negligent god is somehow less creative than Elder Scrolls' "traditional" (to use your word) fantasy-standard polytheistic pantheon of Odd Job Gods. You can do monotheism creatively, and polytheism derrivatively; you can't just lump them as one or the other.
comment #2309 Dracomicron 20th Apr 10
um... you criticise Dragon age because:

1. There's nothing to do outside the main quest.

2. There's too many numerous and pointless side-quests.

You can attack DA for one of these at a time, but you can't have your cake and eat it too, dude.
comment #2592 JackShandy 22nd May 10
I agree with the whole DA article for the most part. I did think that the idea and plot were good, they were just mispresented.

the gameplay lacked freedom of inventing your own character. Although with gameplay remenissant of KOTOR it still brought a lot to be desired by avid gameplayers like myself.

was it a good game?

-I didn't say great, but good

did it have everything you wanted in a game?

- Not to those who are used to Bethesda Softworks games that raise the bar higher and higher

sidequests

-not the greatest, but a good way to make money.

storyline?

-I thought it was better thought out that some games, but it could have been done a little different to be better.

sequal?

-more like expansion that costs the same as the first samn game..... yay....

I did this to be fair for both parties, i'm not meaning to torll here, but it was good, but it could have been better.
comment #3944 138.163.240.41 13th Aug 10
Dragon Age can suck my virtual dick. The lack of an open world, the lack of story and gameplay flexibility, and the crappy arse story were all rubbishy.
comment #4381 Heart 10th Sep 10
Open world freedom is over-rated. Dragon Age is also over-rated, but at least it had a decent if cliched story. Although the only truly interesting part of the story were the characters. And it had about 25+ hours of really repetitive game play, but so do most games that last 25+ hours. Probably the reason I usually prefer shorter games these days.

Oblivion just has the open world freedom going for it, which is usually used to make players think they have limitless playtime value. But most players don't mind 50+ hours of repetitive crap (See Korean MMORP Gs), so it works.
comment #4426 150.212.51.238 14th Sep 10
...the lack of story and gameplay flexibility, and the crappy arse story were all rubbishy

...What.
comment #4433 dragonfire5000 14th Sep 10
Hey guys, I liked this game
comment #4625 114.73.56.150 1st Oct 10
Dragonfire: it's the lack of story flexibility Heart was complaining about.
comment #5068 97.101.4.143 6th Nov 10
I don't really get the complaint about lack of story flexibility; how is it lacking?
comment #5070 dragonfire5000 7th Nov 10 (edited by: dragonfire5000)
I would carefully refute every single negative review here by applying my skill at rhetoric to construct several flawless counterarguments that would prove conclusively that Dragon Age is an excellent game from an utterly objective viewpoint, but I'm too busy actually having fun playing it.
comment #5075 110.175.10.182 8th Nov 10
Considering that excellence is a subjective term, that would be impossible unless you're trying to define objective characteristics of what makes a game excellent.

It is a pretty fun game though.
comment #5076 150.212.50.160 8th Nov 10
That was a joke mocking everyone who thinks their opinions are objective fact. Quality might be objective, but (extremely subjective) personal taste is far more important in determining whether or not someone enjoys something. I disliked Fallout 3 myself, but I wouldn't go and complain about its (subjective) mediocrity, because, hey, why detract from someone else's entertainment? If someone is enjoying something, then let him/her enjoy it.

Criticism of works like Eragon or Twilight, though, may be warranted.

tl;dr: your opinion is subjective, get over yourself
comment #5083 110.175.10.182 8th Nov 10
Why the FUCK are you comparing the Bioware style of RPG with the Bethesda style of RPG? If you want something like Oblivion, then replay Oblivion, play the Gothic series, or just wait for Elder Scrolls V. Don't play a Bioware RPG and bitch about it not being what you expected. Complain about a game's flaws, not about what it isn't.
comment #5328 SomeDeadGuy 3rd Dec 10
Because people are idiots when it comes to buying things that they want.
comment #5331 150.212.50.104 4th Dec 10

comment #5508 98.207.192.56 21st Dec 10
Dragon Age, subjectively, has a brilliantly told story and some challenging and-for lack of a better term-"hardcore" feeling combat mechanics. This is a very deep game. Oblivion is a dry, pasty narrative that only rewards through the open world itself, but because you never end up caring about cyrodil (I think this is mostly because bethesda failed to make it seem like the serenity and perfection of the world was ever in danger), it had to rely solely on its gameplay, which, without mods, failed in both combat and non combat mechanics. But get mods for it, and eveything changes...
comment #5509 98.207.192.56 21st Dec 10
Western games these days have some kind of addiction for games with large amounts of free-roaming.
comment #5510 76.120.177.0 21st Dec 10
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