Ah, I didn't know that about ME. Thanks for letting me know, I'll incorporate that into my opinions in the future. I'm afraid its "turning fantasy stereotypes on their heads": I'm not so sure. I'm not sure what fantasies you've been reading/playing/watching but everything about Dragon Age is pretty standard. All the realistic "grit" as you call it is nothing new and has not been revolutionary in any sense for some time. A lot of the fantasy "grit" has been around since about AD 1000 as far as fairy tales go. It might be new for certain media but other than that it's nothing special. I'm not speaking out against the game or anything, I enjoyed playing it, it's just not accomplishing what so many seem to find in it is all. I intend absolutely no offense, I just wish to state my case.
I'll explain what I mean. I felt that Dragon Age excelled in turning some stereotypes on their head in a few ways.
Instead of Elves generally being tall, elegant and so forth, we've got this race who are living in squallor and living under oppression.
Instead of Dwarves being noble and honorable, they're politicians and obsessed with backstabbing and getting one up on each other. Bumping each other off doesn't even cause them to bat an eyelid!
And the origins, generally, weren't Farmboy-Becomes-Hero. The Dwarf Noble one, in my opinion, is the best to show this. You come from one of the most powerful houses in Orzammar, you get unwittingly wrapped up in the politics and find yourself with nothing even though, depending how you went through it, you didn't do anything "wrong". You're then left with the small glimmer of hope that the Wardens might still be in the Deep Roads, and if you find them that they might recruit you and take you to relative safety.
The endings, too, weren't very stereotypical. Despite all the good you do, and the defeat of the threat, it's not truly gone. You're still left with a shorter life span, the corruption in your blood, possibly the blood of innocents on your hands and there's no real light. Ferelden gets a little brighter, but the ending isn't a "Happily-Ever-After".
And that's why I think it's "unique".