It's About Time :: Dragon Age: Origins

Stranger of Sorts

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[HEADING=3]It's About Time! reviews by a Stranger of Sorts...[/HEADING]
[HEADING=1]Dragon Age: Origins[/HEADING]

Hey, what a surprise I actually got round to writing another one of these! Well, to be honest I haven't actually written it yet, all that's on my screen is the title, the box art and these words... pretty though isn't it?

For the hard of thinking amongst you, the point of this review series is to review slightly older games for two principle reasons: firstly I have had time to play the game, as in a lot of time so I will have found all the flaws and hidden goodies that would otherwise go unnoticed and secondly, it's just an excuse for me to review older games as I don't own any new ones.

Dragon Age: Origins is a third-person role-playing game developed by Bioware that takes heavy influences from online RPG's such as World of Warcraft. What this game does bring to the table is its heavy emphasis on both the story and the effects of the choices your character makes on the story. The sub-title itself highlights the biggest choice you're going to make in the game and that is what starting origin your character will come from; whether that be a City Elf or a Mage serving out their life in solitude in the Circle Tower. Whatever origin you pick will have a huge effect on how others treat you throughout the game, for example an Elf will be looked down upon by the majority of humans and it will be harder for them to gain information as a result.

Sounds pretty good doesn't it?...

_
_


I went into Dragon Age: Origins on the promise of an epic story, engaging combat and the hope that it would take hours out of my miserable and vacant life. And I am afraid to inform you that I left feeling sickened and just the slightest bit confused, what I had purchased was not epic, nor engaging and it didn't waste the best years of my life nearly as much as I hoped it would.

It is funny (to me) that as a game sold on its story telling, Dragon Age: Origins fails on the one thing that, if anything, should have been the best feature in this game. The only twist in it comes at the beginning of the game, in fact it comes so near to the beginning that I can tell you what happens; your mentor and leader Duncan, the character that saves your skin in all the origin stories gets killed in the battle of Helm's Deep Ostagar by Orcs Darkspawn, along with the rest of your order apart from the shy, boyish Alistair. After this rather joyful and entertaining moment you are told that it is up to you and Alistair to gather the armies of Ferelden and lead them in battle again Sauron the Archdemon. As you can probably tell, Dragon Age: Origins does not exactly redefine, or even attempt to redefine, the RPG genre.

This game also manages to fall flat on its face when it comes to combat, when you see an enemy you want to kill you press a button and your character goes zooming off and proceeds to hit the creature you pressed your button at until the creature has liquefied into a crudely animated pool of blood on the floor. Granted, if you choose you can use an ability and to do this you press another button, your character performs said ability and then carries on hitting the creature. This is by no means engaging at all and it seems to go against the whole point of a game, it gives you the feeling that it is not you attacking the enemy, you are just watching someone attack an enemy. The people at Bioware have obviously said to themselves "Hey, look at World of Warcraft, that seems to be doing pretty well but what makes it good? Is it it's gameplay? Or is it the fact that your character is in a world with lots of other player characters and the interaction and competition forces the player to come back every spare minute just to try and be the best? Must be the first one." No! Bad Bioware!

And the length of the game? I did mention that, well at least I hope so, this game is pathetically short as far as most other RPGs are; while Oblivion had me playing for over 100 hours without even touching the story quests, I had completed Dragon Age: Origins within 20 hours.

But I have to admit that after I finished I started a new game and did it all again, then I completed it, then I started again and so on. This game just has so many possibilities, every time you play you will have a different experience. You will play differently, you will be a different race, a different class, you will have different party members, you may bully your way through every situation or talk your way through it or you will choose different dialogue options. The possibilities are very close to becoming endless.

The whole dialogue system is very interesting, in theory every option you take will change the characters feeling towards you and whether or not they will help you. I say in theory as if you play the same section more than once you realise that some of the options receive the same answer and it feels a bit like they've cheated.

One thing Dragon Age: Origins does very well is creating a world that you can become completely and utterly absorbed in, there is a back story to almost every element of the game even when there doesn't need to be one. For example the Legions of the Dead are a group of dwarves who go deep into the earth to fight the darkspawn, knowing that they will someday die. You meet this group once but there are pages and pages of lore about them that is really unnecessary but it helps give the game depth.

Overall I can tell you that yes, this is a good game that does deserve some credit but it could have been so much better! The inclusion of things like proper gameplay and a lot more side missions would ascend this game into greatness.

It's About Time! Little Big Planet [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.184065-Its-About-Time-Little-Big-Planet]
Games The Fall(en) [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.183414-A-Stranger-reviews-The-Fall-en-updated], Plants Vs Zombies [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.183040-Plants-Vs-Zombies-In-a-Nutshell], Borderlands DLC: Secret Armoury [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.179437-A-Stranger-Reviews-Borderlands-Secret-Armoury-Get-you-one],Cod: Modern Warfare 2 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.181561-A-Stranger-reviews-CoD-Modern-Warfare-2-a-review-to-end-all-others-well-hopefully], B:BC2 demo [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.176510-Review-Battlefield-Bad-Company-2-multiplayer-demo]
Movies 2001: A Space Odyssey [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.179870-2001-A-Space-Odyssey-A-Strangers-verdict]
Music [url-http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.183857-Music-for-Dummies-A-collection-of-music-reviews-7-Technicolour-Health-by-Harlem-Shakes]The Music Thread[/url] My Dinosaur Life [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.182845-A-Stranger-reviews-music-My-Dinosaur-Life-by-MCS], Cajun Dance Party [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.181141-Cajun-Dance-Party-A-Strangers-Music-Review], Bloc Party [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.178462-A-Music-Review-Bloc-Party]
Random The Escapist forums [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.182355-A-Stranger-reviews-The-Escapist-Forums] Progress Wars [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.185328-Poll-A-Stranger-reviews-Progress-Wars]

- Thanks for your time, when I ask for feedback this time I want it to be as harsh and nit picky as possible, cheers!
 

Knight Templar

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Dec 29, 2007
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I had a very long reply with quite a few points you could improve on and parts where I thought you were wrong. Then I closed the tab by mistake.
Fuck.

Ok, let me try again, maybe not as long as the original.

Your writing seemed very good to me.
You didn't tell me what the story was about to a good enough degree.
You didn't explain why the story was bad.
You didn't describe the combat enough.
You said it was a good game but for most of the review you were pointing out bad things, odd conclusion.

You've got over a thousand words, The Escapist's Review of Dragon Age ran to over 1,500 words and didn't have a forward like yours, it was also more to the point. Just to give some context, you can review a game in a few words it just isn't likely to be a good review.

Nit Picks: "Legion of the Dead" not "Legions".

You're outright wrong: The battle of Ostagar is nothing like the siege of Helm's Deep. In one victory is a certainty and in the other defeat is inevitable (or so it seems). Both have the opposite occur but for different reasons, HD was a matter of support from a zombie wizard and Ostagar was a betrayal.
They are very different, as are Orc's and Darkspawn, I should not have to explain why. But if you want me to go on I will. (Through PM so as not to distract from your review)

A very nice review but I think it needs a lot of work.
 

Stranger of Sorts

Individual #472
Aug 23, 2009
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Knight Templar said:
snipped for conservation of space
Thanks for that, story wise I didn't go in too much detail as I try to keep these things (sort of) spoiler free. Looking back, I do see what you mean about the combat section and I completely forgot to mention about the tactics while playing; I also forgot to talk about class customisation, oh well.

Again thanks for the feedback, you can be sure it will be used on my next review.
 

Brandon Lum

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I'm new here, so I don't want to create the impression that I'm the new guy ripping on everyone or that I'm the new guy in the office trying to suck off the boss while simultaneously doing his/her paperwork to avoid getting fired. But I'll be honest-

Writing isn't an issue here, and by that I mean grammar and spelling, though after pouring over the R&R I don't think I should mention this. ;)

The images were a nice touch and made it easier to continue reading, as opposed to seeing a giant text brick wall. Good on you for that.

I enjoyed the humor, but that's a easy win for me. I quite like humor in anything and so you've pretty much got me there, however:

I see why you didn't go into the story too much, and I agree, but there were still things you could've written, that would've been revealing, but not so much that spoil-phobes try and draw and quarter you. I'll admit, at the moment, I'm struck dumb for an example to give you, but I'm sure you see what I mean.

All in all a good job. I liked it. ^_^
 

Stranger of Sorts

Individual #472
Aug 23, 2009
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Brandon Lum said:
Thanks, you shouldn't worry so much about how people view you. Though when I first started I managed to give everyone the impression that I was a complete twat; but it's nice to see new people visiting the User Reviews section, most of you stay in Off Topic.
 

veloper

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You should have stated where you came from first thing.

I knew I wasted my time reading this when I read this line:

"This is by no means engaging at all and it seems to go against the whole point of a game, it gives you the feeling that it is not you attacking the enemy, you are just watching someone attack an enemy."

That's no different from the BG series, fallout, ultima7 and the majority of great RPGs. It is you who doesn't get the point of the game, which is most definitely NOT twitch based action.
 

Stranger of Sorts

Individual #472
Aug 23, 2009
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veloper said:
You should have stated where you came from first thing.

I knew I wasted my time reading this when I read this line:

"This is by no means engaging at all and it seems to go against the whole point of a game, it gives you the feeling that it is not you attacking the enemy, you are just watching someone attack an enemy."

That's no different from the BG series, fallout, ultima7 and the majority of great RPGs. It is you who doesn't get the point of the game, which is most definitely NOT twitch based action.
I will again compare it to Oblivion, in that game there was an element of skill to combat. In the actual review I compared the combat to World of Warcraft, the most popular RPG out there (well most heard of if that isn't the case) and I say how arbitrary the combat is in that as well. But yes, maybe I "don't get it", but this is a review and therefore I am stating my opinions about the game, not everyone else's.

Woah and wait a minute you said that the combat is the same as in Fallout? The third one was the definition of twitch based action.

Glad to have wasted your time...
 

veloper

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Stranger of Sorts said:
veloper said:
You should have stated where you came from first thing.

I knew I wasted my time reading this when I read this line:

"This is by no means engaging at all and it seems to go against the whole point of a game, it gives you the feeling that it is not you attacking the enemy, you are just watching someone attack an enemy."

That's no different from the BG series, fallout, ultima7 and the majority of great RPGs. It is you who doesn't get the point of the game, which is most definitely NOT twitch based action.
I will again compare it to Oblivion, in that game there was an element of skill to combat. In the actual review I compared the combat to World of Warcraft, the most popular RPG out there (well most heard of if that isn't the case) and I say how arbitrary the combat is in that as well. But yes, maybe I "don't get it", but this is a review and therefore I am stating my opinions about the game, not everyone else's.

Woah and wait a minute you said that the combat is the same as in Fallout? The third one was the definition of twitch based action.

Glad to have wasted your time...
The original 2 fallouts obviously. Figures you opnly know #3.

So yeah, you should've said right at the top that Oblivion is what you look for in a RPG.
 

Stranger of Sorts

Individual #472
Aug 23, 2009
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veloper said:
The original 2 fallouts obviously. Figures you opnly know #3.

So yeah, you should've said right at the top that Oblivion is what you look for in a RPG.
Okay lets summarise this with the sentence, "I don't like this type of combat!" and "I want a game that I will play for hundreds of hours without getting bored (that's Oblivion by the way)!"

...Or is that not allowed?
 

veloper

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Stranger of Sorts said:
veloper said:
The original 2 fallouts obviously. Figures you opnly know #3.

So yeah, you should've said right at the top that Oblivion is what you look for in a RPG.
Okay lets summarise this with the sentence, "I don't like this type of combat!" and "I want a game that I will play for hundreds of hours without getting bored (that's Oblivion by the way)!"

...Or is that not allowed?
That would be just perfect, if only you fly your colors before you begin, so the reader doesn't have to find out halfway through.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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veloper said:
That would be just perfect, if only you fly your colors before you begin, so the reader doesn't have to find out halfway through.
That would be a bad idea, why would I start with a conclusion? It would completely negate the rest of the review for everyone.
 

veloper

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Stranger of Sorts said:
veloper said:
That would be just perfect, if only you fly your colors before you begin, so the reader doesn't have to find out halfway through.
That would be a bad idea, why would I start with a conclusion? It would completely negate the rest of the review for everyone.
Starting with the conclusion is not bad by all means, but in this case you'd be doing something more important than that: you tell the reader where you come from.

It's like you don't want to read a review on MW2 either, only to discover the reviewer hates FPS gameplay halfway through.
In this case: real-time infinity-esque tactics isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it is also the core of the gameplay, so the reader deserves to know where you stand before.
 

Aloran

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An otherwise good review even thought it ripped off one of my favourite games. And I disagree with many many many of your points.

The writing is solid though.

Simple question though: what difficulty did you play it on?
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Aloran said:
Simple question though: what difficulty did you play it on?
That would be medium

veloper said:
Starting with the conclusion is not bad by all means, but in this case you'd be doing something more important than that: you tell the reader where you come from.

It's like you don't want to read a review on MW2 either, only to discover the reviewer hates FPS gameplay halfway through.
In this case: real-time infinity-esque tactics isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it is also the core of the gameplay, so the reader deserves to know where you stand before.
I guess that makes sense, I'll take it into account if I do something similar again.
 

Aloran

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Stranger of Sorts said:
That would be medium
Ah. May I suggest that you try and play it on hard/nightmare. If you found the combat far too lack luster then those will certainly test you.

I do appreciate that you obviously prefer the oblivion/fallout 3 style of RPG, however you can't appreciate the combat in Dragon Age unless you forget about them.

There's far more micromanagement necessary than in other RPG's.
 

sms_117b

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Oct 4, 2007
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It was a good read, but felt a little empty, you did only brush up on the points of the game, a lot of the beginning of the review felt like humorous waffle, the last few paragraphs decribing the dialogue system, replay value and back story were shor sweet and spot on.

I must contest the length of the main story, it really varies on the user and playstyle. I done it in 30 hours first time, under 20 my second, my current "best scenario" file is on 40 or so and my girlfriend who just got to the Landsmeet is on about 50 hours.

Regardless, still a good review, I wouldn't have got the the end otherwise, let alone post, going to go read some of ytour others now...
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Aloran said:
Ah. May I suggest that you try and play it on hard/nightmare. If you found the combat far too lack luster then those will certainly test you.
Actually, I may just do that.

sms_117b said:
It was a good read, but felt a little empty, you did only brush up on the points of the game, a lot of the beginning of the review felt like humorous waffle, the last few paragraphs decribing the dialogue system, replay value and back story were shor sweet and spot on.
You know I'm glad you said that, the It's About Time series has been me trying to change my writing style a bit but toward the end of this review I slipped into my usual.
 

atol

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I'm very confused. You say you don't like the story, but then say you became completely absorbed in it. Then you bring up Oblivion, which has the most awful story in an RPG I can think of. You say the game is not engaging, and then you say there's a plethora of choices and possibilities throughout the game. You also say you completed it in 20 hours, which basically means that you barreled through it and couldn't have completed even half of all the sidequests, and then you criticize the game for having too few sidequests. Very confused.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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atol said:
I'm very confused. You say you don't like the story, but then say you became completely absorbed in it. Then you bring up Oblivion, which has the most awful story in an RPG I can think of. You say the game is not engaging, and then you say there's so many choices and possibilities throughout the game. You also say you completed it in 20 hours, which basically means that you barreled through it and couldn't have completed even half of all the sidequests, and then you criticize the game for having too few sidequests. Very confused.
Wow I think I was confused by that. I bought up Oblivion with reference to gameplay and it was the gameplay that bore the adjective 'engaging'. The main story for Dragon Age: Origins was very weak but the 'lore' was very strong (i.e the background story for all the different elements of the game)

I have completed all the side quests and they are all very short, or at least would be if it weren't for the loading times (why didn't I bring up loading times in the review? Damn I forgot) The only one I remember distinctly is the one where you are paid to have a fight in a brothel.

Does that help?
 

atol

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Well, you said "...not epic, nor engaging," at the top, which I then assumed was a general statement about the game and not specifically the combat. I gathered that you simply enjoyed Oblivion, and not specifically its visceral combat. It wasn't a logic flaw in the review, but just in your personality that I felt. You could have probably mentioned that the storyline is disjointed throughout most of the game, since setting/lore is indeed part of a story.
I still believe it's impossible to go through the game in 20 hours and finish all the side quests, you most likely finsihed them in your subsequent playthroughs. Doing everything in the game can take well over 50 hours, and it's all far more detailed than anything in Oblivion.
Anyway, it just seems you went into the game expecting something else, and you are linking your disappointment with your actual opinion of the game, causing that flipfloping from "I don't like it because it's not what I thought it was," to "It's a good game."
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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atol said:
Well, you said "...not epic, nor engaging," at the top, which I then assumed was a general statement about the game and not specifically the combat. I gathered that you simply enjoyed Oblivion, and not specifically its visceral combat. It wasn't a logic flaw in the review, but just in your personality that I felt. You could have probably mentioned that the storyline is disjointed throughout most of the game, since setting/lore is indeed part of a story.
I still believe it's impossible to go through the game in 20 hours and finish all the side quests, you most likely finsihed them in your subsequent playthroughs. Doing everything in the game can take well over 50 hours, and it's all far more detailed than anything in Oblivion.
Anyway, it just seems you went into the game expecting something else, and you are linking your disappointment with your actual opinion of the game, causing that flipfloping from "I don't like it because it's not what I wanted," to "It's a good game."
I have the book thing that tells me what to do, so that's probably why. There is some truth in me linking my disappointment with this review, I did nothing to try and hide it as otherwise you may as well be reading a review from a machine.
 

Camembert

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Stranger of Sorts said:
Wow I think I was confused by that. I bought up Oblivion with reference to gameplay and it was the gameplay that bore the adjective 'engaging'. The main story for Dragon Age: Origins was very weak but the 'lore' was very strong (i.e the background story for all the different elements of the game)

I have completed all the side quests and they are all very short, or at least would be if it weren't for the loading times (why didn't I bring up loading times in the review? Damn I forgot) The only one I remember distinctly is the one where you are paid to have a fight in a brothel.

Does that help?
If you completed the whole game including all side quests in 20 hours, then no wonder you thought it was 'pathetically short'... you must have skipped at least half the dialogue. Seriously. Fifty hours is considered a short playthrough for Dragon Age. I cannot imagine why you would run through an RPG like Dragon Age fast enough to finish it in 20 hours. Did you do the Slim Couldry quests? This game does not skimp on side-quests, not by a long way.

Apart from that, good review, not that I'm much of a critic myself. I do wish you had mentioned the game's best feature, though: the companions and the interaction between them. That is what made the game for me, although I imagine you didn't enjoy that element to its fullest having completed the game is such a short time.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Camembert said:
If you completed the whole game including all side quests in 20 hours, then no wonder you thought it was 'pathetically short'... you must have skipped at least half the dialogue. Seriously. Fifty hours is considered a short playthrough for Dragon Age. I cannot imagine why you would run through an RPG like Dragon Age fast enough to finish it in 20 hours. Did you do the Slim Couldry quests? This game does not skimp on side-quests, not by a long way.

Apart from that, good review, not that I'm much of a critic myself. I do wish you had mentioned the game's best feature, though: the companions and the interaction between them. That is what made the game for me, although I imagine you didn't enjoy that element to its fullest having completed the game is such a short time.
I'm afraid that's another thing I forgot to put, it's nice and adds some depth to the game but when you hear Alistair say 'let's talk about your mother' for the umpteenth time does cause it to wear a bit. I also didn't go into the 'approval system' either for fear of slipping into a fully fledged rant, it means to make your party great with the bonus' that come from your companions liking you, you can only have a select choice of parties.

The problem with reviewing RPG's is there will always be things that you miss, I'm very happy you liked the review as it is though.

How did I do it so quickly? *waves walkthrough book* - actually that was the main reason I compared this game to Oblivion, they're the only games I have books for so it's very easy for me to compare the content of the games as all I need to do is set them down beside each other.
 

darth jacen

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Jul 15, 2009
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I have this game but haven't gotten to it as I say in about half my posts now...Back logged gaming is a terrible place to be, but my pain aside well written review. It did feel shallow in the sense that though I appreciate no spoilers, you could have gone a little deeper into it. Also for a game that obviously has a great deal of time invested on your companions you did seem to leave that part a bit scarce as well. I read all your reviews and found this one a little in the lack luster category, but hey we all have an off day or two. I would just suggest a little deeper on some parts especially something as big, well, supposedly big as a BioWare RPG. Nevertheless good review, keep it up.
 

Camembert

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Stranger of Sorts said:
I'm afraid that's another thing I forgot to put, it's nice and adds some depth to the game but when you hear Alistair say 'let's talk about your mother' for the umpteenth time does cause it to wear a bit. I also didn't go into the 'approval system' either for fear of slipping into a fully fledged rant, it means to make your party great with the bonus' that come from your companions liking you, you can only have a select choice of parties.

The problem with reviewing RPG's is there will always be things that you miss, I'm very happy you liked the review as it is though.

How did I do it so quickly? *waves walkthrough book* - actually that was the main reason I compared this game to Oblivion, they're the only games I have books for so it's very easy for me to compare the content of the games as all I need to do is set them down beside each other.
Yeah, I like buying game guides when I've already played much of the game. I have the Dragon Age one and the Oblivion one also, and I've got to say, the Dragon Age one is the worst game guide I have ever read. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend using a walkthrough from the moment you begin an RPG. Kind of ruins the game a bit, surely...?

And I didn't mind hearing Alistair talking about his mother too much because I kind of love Alistair ;)

Anyway, keep up the good work. I'd like to try my hand at reviewing myself (not reviewing myself, but myself reviewing games... you know what I mean) one of these days, if I ever get round to it... do you use a template for your reviews, or do you just write what you fancy?
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Camembert said:
Anyway, keep up the good work. I'd like to try my hand at reviewing myself (not reviewing myself, but myself reviewing games... you know what I mean) one of these days, if I ever get round to it... do you use a template for your reviews, or do you just write what you fancy?
Nope I just sit in front of my laptop and start writing, I always have a picture on the right to start off with and a purple heading but that's just me. Have a look at some other reviews, everyone does it differently.
 

scnj

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Hold on. You found DA:O's combat boring, despite the fact that you have control over all four party members and access to all of their different skills through the skill wheel? And you found Oblivion's combat engaging, despite the fact that it literally consisted of pressing a button to swing a sword?
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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scnj said:
Hold on. You found DA:O's combat boring, despite the fact that you have control over all four party members and access to all of their different skills through the skill wheel? And you found Oblivion's combat engaging, despite the fact that it literally consisted of pressing a button to swing a sword?
In Oblivion you couldn't put the controller down, go and make a sandwich and come back 5 minutes later to see you fully healed and victorious. And your judgement is vary one sided, you do not have full control, you control one at a time the other 3 are controlled by the computer, where as in Oblivion you also have a variety of skills. Don't all games boil down to pressing a button to do something?
 

scnj

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Stranger of Sorts said:
scnj said:
Hold on. You found DA:O's combat boring, despite the fact that you have control over all four party members and access to all of their different skills through the skill wheel? And you found Oblivion's combat engaging, despite the fact that it literally consisted of pressing a button to swing a sword?
In Oblivion you couldn't put the controller down, go and make a sandwich and come back 5 minutes later to see you fully healed and victorious. And your judgement is vary one sided, you do not have full control, you control one at a time the other 3 are controlled by the computer, where as in Oblivion you also have a variety of skills. Don't all games boil down to pressing a button to do something?
While what you say is true about the computer controlling the other 3 characters at any given time, you can set their tactics so they do what you want them to while you're not in command. And I'll grant you that Oblivion did have spells etc, but nowhere near the amount and variety that Dragon Age had. Also, I challenge you to put the controller down on the harder battles like the High Dragon, or even normal battles on nightmare difficulty setting.
 

Skoldpadda

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I don't have anything to add, I just want to say that the lack of a stash ruined the game for me. It's an RPG, and you can't stash loot. Unforgivable.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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scnj said:
While what you say is true about the computer controlling the other 3 characters at any given time, you can set their tactics so they do what you want them to while you're not in command. And I'll grant you that Oblivion did have spells etc, but nowhere near the amount and variety that Dragon Age had. Also, I challenge you to put the controller down on the harder battles like the High Dragon, or even normal battles on nightmare difficulty setting.
My point still stands about your input into the battle. On Oblivion you could dodge attacks, block attacks, whatever but you can't do that on Dragon Age as it's all down to chance. Oh and Oblivion does have more spells, in fact it has a lot more; you can make your own you see.

Of course you can say 'try it on nightmare difficulty' but it should really be like that on all difficulties.
 

Knight Templar

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veloper said:
Starting with the conclusion is not bad by all means...
I think it is. A conclusion concludes things, not starts them.

veloper said:
...but in this case you'd be doing something more important than that: you tell the reader where you come from.
So you want to know what he thinks of the game? Isn't that the point of the review?
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Overall a good review but your missing some stuff.

Music, graphics, and DLC (at least mention that it exists) go unmentioned in this review. Also, you never mentioned the difficulty levels which I feel were fucked up, just saying.

Your language could be much better as I didn't many if any advanced words used in this review. Or at least, I wasn't engaged enough. This could be due to the tone of the review as it goes from informative to a tad rant-like, only slightly though.

Basically your missing details but have a solid review pretty much regardless.
 

Jaded Scribe

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A few problems I have with this review:

Your discussion on combat says nothing to the availability of combat tactics, or friendly fire (hard and nightmare modes), or the variety of spell combos that produce tactically interesting effects.

Also, your claim of 20 hours of gameplay for a first time through seems to be overstated as GameInformer offered this tidbit: "Record QA speed playthough was over 12 hours using cheats on skipping all dialogue.". Clearly, the QA not only had cheats, but also an intense knowledge of the game and it's quests and had the added speed of having played the game dozens, if not hundreds, of times over.

I myself spent a good 40+ hours on my first playthrough (Easy mode, PS3) and skipped virtually all side quests, and only had any real troubles with the Lost in Dreams quest.

I also wouldn't compare this to LotR all that much. Yes, there are similarities, but these similarities are found throughout the fantasy genre.
 

imaloony

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Personally, I'm tempted to give Dragon Age: Origins my pick for Game of the Year 2009.

While the main plot wasn't really super original, it was the side plots and incredible characterization based around your companions that really drew me in.
The writing is fantastic, bringing each character's personality to life beautifully.
The voice acting is great, and I never feel taken out of the experience due to a particularly bad part, unlike another certain RPG. (COUGHoblivionCOUGH)
While the combat isn't quite as tuned as I'd like it to be, it eventually gets very engaging and has you using your abilities as effectively as possible.

I've stayed away from the higher difficulties so far for several reasons:
1. The game is already pretty damn hard.
2. On higher difficulties, I assume your whole party needs to be under your puppet strings, and I much prefer using my own character.
3. I feel it'll bring more of the flaws of combat to light.

As it is, play though the game on Normal or Casual, and you'll have a blast.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Stranger of Sorts said:
I'm gonna have to agree with almost everything in your article (don't let the rabid fanboys tell you otherwise).

My personal quick and dirty on DA:O is: Not terrible, but terribly generic.

The story was extremely LOTR.
The combat was an awful clusterf*ck. Also didn't add much (press button to use ability - cooldown - snore)
The characters were mostly unlikeable (Psychopathic witch, emo knight, surly prisoner, etc...)
Graphics were nothing to write home about.
Soundtrack - there was music? Never noticed...
Short overall length (I beat it in about 40 - 50 hrs having done ALL of the side quests).
I played the PS3 version and was also underwhelmed by the "ring menu". To quote myself:
I'd rather poke my eyes out than use that clunky interface.

And now the positives:
Some good voice work... *cough*.

Listening to the fanboys around these parts, Bioware is supposed to be the "King" of RPGs... Really? Cause they make some pretty generic games. Give me Square or NIS any day of the week.

I played though it twice if anyone is asking. It just isn't THAT good. It's average at best.

EDIT: Also you're right. Oblivion and Fallout were both much better than DA:O
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Cleril said:
Overall a good review but your missing some stuff.

Music, graphics, and DLC (at least mention that it exists) go unmentioned in this review. Also, you never mentioned the difficulty levels which I feel were fucked up, just saying.

Your language could be much better as I didn't many if any advanced words used in this review. Or at least, I wasn't engaged enough. This could be due to the tone of the review as it goes from informative to a tad rant-like, only slightly though.

Basically your missing details but have a solid review pretty much regardless.
It's funny how my shittier reviews get more attention.

Jaded Scribe said:
Your discussion on combat says nothing to the availability of combat tactics, or friendly fire (hard and nightmare modes), or the variety of spell combos that produce tactically interesting effects.
The tactics system and tactics available are really nothing special, I would point you toward Final Fantasy XII which has an almost identical system but the spell combos are a lot more interesting thanks to the huge variety of spells.
 

veloper

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Knight Templar said:
veloper said:
Starting with the conclusion is not bad by all means...
I think it is. A conclusion concludes things, not starts them.
A review is not a detective novel.

In many fields starting with the conclusion and then follow up with how you came to that conclusion is actually the preferred method.

In a game review you can do both and starting wih the conclusion is simply more convenient for the reader.
If you don't, many readers will scroll to the last paragraph anyway, before deciding if the piece is worth reading.

veloper said:
...but in this case you'd be doing something more important than that: you tell the reader where you come from.
So you want to know what he thinks of the game? Isn't that the point of the review?
No, a considerate reviewer let's the reader know WHERE he comes from. This is not the same thing as the conclusion.
Example: when Yahtzee reviews a JRPG, he tells his audience fair and direct that he hates JRPGs in general.
All reviewers should to be honest about their general preferences.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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veloper said:
Example: when Yahtzee reviews a JRPG, he tells his audience fair and direct that he hates JRPGs in general.
All reviewers should to be honest about their general preferences.
The problem with that is that Yahtzee doesn't write reviews, he writes rants. Do you watch him for the quality of his reviews?
 

veloper

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Stranger of Sorts said:
veloper said:
Example: when Yahtzee reviews a JRPG, he tells his audience fair and direct that he hates JRPGs in general.
All reviewers should to be honest about their general preferences.
The problem with that is that Yahtzee doesn't write reviews, he writes rants. Do you watch him for the quality of his reviews?
That's totally beside the point.
Being fair to your audience is a good thing regardless of who you are or what you do.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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veloper said:
That's totally beside the point.
Being fair to your audience is a good thing regardless of who you are or what you do.
I don't quite follow your logic of how it's unfair, at the beginning of a review you have to draw the reader in and telling him exactly what the tone is for the review usually doesn't help much. You have to drop in hints here and there to keep the reading.
 

veloper

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How did you happen to decline from:
I guess that makes sense, I'll take it into account if I do something similar again.
to

[quote="Stranger of Sorts" post="326.185708.5667447
I don't quite follow your logic of how it's unfair, at the beginning of a review you have to draw the reader in and telling him exactly what the tone is for the review usually doesn't help much. You have to drop in hints here and there to keep the reading.[/quote]

anyway,

you don't keep the reader by wasting his or her time, dropping hints. Clear and direct works best.

If the reader likes your angle and your points are clear and valid, he'll want to continue reading.
If not, the reader will only stay for the big laughs, if any.

A review can only be effective, when readers can compare their own preferences to that of the reviewer and relate to some degree.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Stranger of Sorts said:
The tactics system and tactics available are really nothing special, I would point you toward Final Fantasy XII which has an almost identical system but the spell combos are a lot more interesting thanks to the huge variety of spells.
*Cough* and Priority *Cough*.

Priority might have saved DA:O's system... Wasted potential.
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Stranger of Sorts said:
Cleril said:
Overall a good review but your missing some stuff.

Music, graphics, and DLC (at least mention that it exists) go unmentioned in this review. Also, you never mentioned the difficulty levels which I feel were fucked up, just saying.

Your language could be much better as I didn't many if any advanced words used in this review. Or at least, I wasn't engaged enough. This could be due to the tone of the review as it goes from informative to a tad rant-like, only slightly though.

Basically your missing details but have a solid review pretty much regardless.
It's funny how my shittier reviews get more attention.

Jaded Scribe said:
Your discussion on combat says nothing to the availability of combat tactics, or friendly fire (hard and nightmare modes), or the variety of spell combos that produce tactically interesting effects.
The tactics system and tactics available are really nothing special, I would point you toward Final Fantasy XII which has an almost identical system but the spell combos are a lot more interesting thanks to the huge variety of spells.
Makes sense, after all everybody wants to show that they're better than everyone else. ;)
 

Jaded Scribe

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Stranger of Sorts said:
Cleril said:
Overall a good review but your missing some stuff.

Music, graphics, and DLC (at least mention that it exists) go unmentioned in this review. Also, you never mentioned the difficulty levels which I feel were fucked up, just saying.

Your language could be much better as I didn't many if any advanced words used in this review. Or at least, I wasn't engaged enough. This could be due to the tone of the review as it goes from informative to a tad rant-like, only slightly though.

Basically your missing details but have a solid review pretty much regardless.
It's funny how my shittier reviews get more attention.

Jaded Scribe said:
Your discussion on combat says nothing to the availability of combat tactics, or friendly fire (hard and nightmare modes), or the variety of spell combos that produce tactically interesting effects.
The tactics system and tactics available are really nothing special, I would point you toward Final Fantasy XII which has an almost identical system but the spell combos are a lot more interesting thanks to the huge variety of spells.
Even so, good or bad, it's worth noting if you are trying to do a good review.

Overall yours wasn't bad, just lacking details.
 

Knight Templar

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s69-5 said:
Stranger of Sorts said:
The tactics system and tactics available are really nothing special, I would point you toward Final Fantasy XII which has an almost identical system but the spell combos are a lot more interesting thanks to the huge variety of spells.
*Cough* and Priority *Cough*.

Priority might have saved DA:O's system... Wasted potential.
But the tatics in Dragon Age do have priority, if the conditions for both 1 and 3 are met then tatic 1 will occur before tatic 3.
At least thats how I think it works.
*Checks DA wiki*

Yeah tatics higher on the list have priority, so unless I missunderstod you...


veloper said:
A review is not a detective novel.
Good thing this review looks nothing like a novel.

veloper said:
In many fields starting with the conclusion and then follow up with how you came to that conclusion is actually the preferred method.
But not in reviews, at least not in reviews correctly formatted.
This review is not perfect, when Stranger of Sorts can craft a masterwork review then he can start messing with the formula.
veloper said:
In a game review you can do both and starting wih the conclusion is simply more convenient for the reader.
This is allready a short review, its not asking much for people to read it.


veloper said:
If you don't, many readers will scroll to the last paragraph anyway, before deciding if the piece is worth reading.
You mean you want a TL/DR at the top of the review? Pandering to the lazy?
This brings up a good point, why include a forward for the lazy when those people are likely to just jump to the end anyway?
 

Stranger of Sorts

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Aug 23, 2009
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Knight Templar said:
But the tatics in Dragon Age do have priority, if the conditions for both 1 and 3 are met then tatic 1 will occur before tatic 3.
At least thats how I think it works.
*Checks DA wiki*

Yeah tatics higher on the list have priority, so unless I missunderstod you...
Not last time I played (which was two playthroughs).
If the conditions of 1 and 3 are met, they pick at random (near as I can tell).

I know because I tested it extensively (hoping that my party members would react properly due to priority). They don't.

EDIT: Update: I just went on the wide world of the interwebz to investigate. It seems that it's SUPPOSED to work on a priority system but tends to miss cue a lot. It's a very common complaint. Bad programming? From Bioware? Couldn't be!
 

veloper

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Knight Templar said:
veloper said:
In many fields starting with the conclusion and then follow up with how you came to that conclusion is actually the preferred method.
But not in reviews, at least not in reviews correctly formatted.
This review is not perfect, when Stranger of Sorts can craft a masterwork review then he can start messing with the formula.
veloper said:
In a game review you can do both and starting wih the conclusion is simply more convenient for the reader.
This is allready a short review, its not asking much for people to read it.
There's an infinite amount of good stuff to read and the reader only has so much time.

veloper said:
If you don't, many readers will scroll to the last paragraph anyway, before deciding if the piece is worth reading.
You mean you want a TL/DR at the top of the review? Pandering to the lazy?
This brings up a good point, why include a forward for the lazy when those people are likely to just jump to the end anyway?
You can never have too much convenience when it comes so cheap.

The reason why I brought this up is that's a reviewer shouldn't be afraid to give something away at the start. The purpose of a review is to inform the reader. Don't bother with the suspense, it's not a novel.
 

pigeon_of_doom

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Feb 9, 2008
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Gamerallday said:
check out this review on dragon age origins: http://social.bioware.com/brc/1691121
Hey, welcome to the site. Just a friendly warning: promoting stuff outside the site for no good reason is against the rules. If you want people here to check out your review, try posting it in its own thread in this User Reviews section. It'll get more attention that way, and you're not intruding on someone elses' review.

OT: Oh, the OP wants nitpicks? I'll read the review and provide some a bit later.