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Computer RPGs have a long and storied history, with many old and new entries in the genre, especially those of the fantasy variety. As such, Dragon Age Origins may seem familiar, but while it may not be the best of its kind, it inherits some of the best of the genre's aspects.
The story involves you, a Gray Warden of one of six different backgrounds, fighting in order to stop a horde of Darkspawn from overrunning the kingdom of Ferelden. The story isn't especially original, but it's told well. Your choices are rarely clear-cut, and the player's respective origin story, along with the various choices, have various and often unexpected consequences.
Your companions are an interesting and diverse lot, and none of them are purely noble or ruthless. Their personalities were shaped by their backstories, and understanding them is important to gaining their trust and approval.
Combat is often challenging, pitting you against powerful and intelligent foes that will force you to play strategically to survive. Like with some other RPGs that involve coordinating several characters in real time, you can pause the game to issue orders, which will often prove helpful in keeping things under control.
The character creation system allows for a good amount of customization, even if the choice of specializations could have offered more than a stat boost and a few new talents, but unfortunately, it isn't very well balanced. Mages are significantly more powerful and useful than the other two classes, which not only means you're more likely to put mages into your party, but also are more likely to play the mage origin compared to the other five.
There's a good variety of quests in the game, both story-related and optional, although some of the "job board" quests can be little more than 20 Bear Asses. Said quests often have several solutions, and often involve you talking things out, rather than fighting. That helps keep things interesting, although it does behoove you to invest skill points into the Speech skill.
All in all, DA:O is a nice throwback to older CRPGs, even if it doesn't quite live up to some of the classics in that genre.
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