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06/05/2013 15:23:56 •••

Flawed but oh-so-engrossing.

Before I get into it, I have to add a disclaimer: I got my first new computer in seven years less than a year ago and had not upgraded my computer in that time. Since then I've gotten precisely four games. Dragon Age: Origins is one of them. The graphics shock has impressed me with these new games, but I'd like to think that New Toy Syndrome wore of relatively quickly.

This game is so very, very flawed. There are a thousand little niggling things that irritate me about the game. It is far from a masterpiece, and like all armchair [insert profession here]s, I find myself wondering, "Well why didn't they do this?"

And yet I keep coming back to it. I've played four of the six origins from beginning to end, including multiple iterations of two of those origins. I have played the same character through Awakening. Having purchased the base game in September 2010, I seriously considered purchasing the Ultimate Edition just a couple of months later, at full price. The game has probably consumed weeks of my life. The only games that have caused me to lose track of time more than Origins have been Four X games like the Civilization series and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.

Even as I muttered how annoying certain elements of gameplay were as they weren't implemented well (inventory), and how the few noticable bugs in a fully-patched version were really basic shit that should have been caught (the chest in the first room in the Dwarf Commoner origin), and how certain story elements were rendered nonsensical due to gameplay limitations (cavalry and defenses), and the "mature" content that was pretty clearly an adolescent's attempt at being Darker And Edgier than other games in the same genre, and that goddamn memory leak...

Maybe it was me imagining what previous Bioware games with less-flexible engines could have done with the gameplay developments, or the endless little things you could do differently in subsequent playthroughs, or the mods that unofficially fixed the bugs Bioware didn't get to. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed this game. (Weirdly, I have a friend who really doesn't like the game, even as he admits it's not as flawed as even I make it out to be.)

A solid 7.5 out of 10 (Ultimate Edition is 8 out of 10 with the extra content and features).

06/05/2013 00:00:00

Apart from the blood and the sex scenes, I actually think Dragon Age does Darker And Edgier better than the other RP Gs that have gone down a similar route. A lot of the racism and conflict is surprisingly well thought out and subtly realised. It's never a simple Humans hate Elves but has different levels of disgusting intolerance to people not thinking that this situation isn't right to some genuinely good people. And a lot of the dilemmas felt very real, and the whole idea of blood mages fitted well with the setting.

And the sex was just normal Bioware sex. It really was only the blood effects and kill animations and of those I still only feel like the blood effects were out of place. The kill animations emphasised some of the visceralness of being the people who have to go out and fight Darkspawn.

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