|Dragon Age: Origins|
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Dragon Age: Origins (formerly Dragon Age) is an award-winning computer role-playing game developed by BioWare's Edmonton studio and described by them as an "epic tale of violence, lust, and betrayal." The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2009, and for Mac OS X on December 21, 2009.
Dragon Age: Origins uses a new game engine named Eclipse, for which a toolset for creation of fan-made content is available to owners of the PC version. The game is single-player only. BioWare co-CEO Ray Muzyka described Dragon Age: Origins as a "spiritual successor" to the Baldur's Gate series, though it is not based on Dungeons & Dragons.
The game incorporates "origins" for each race and some classes. For example, a Dwarf Noble begins the game as part of the royal family in one of the dwarven cities, whereas the Dwarf Commoner origin story begins on the streets of the city. Origin stories determine the background of the player's character prior to the main events of the game's story, forming an introduction to the world while also comprising hours of play. Characters that the player meets during the origin story may reappear throughout the game, some of whom may be adversaries.
There is no tracking of moral alignment as in previous BioWare games, but the moral choices of the player will still affect the story throughout the game. The player will save the world regardless of choosing to be good or evil, but the decisions that the player makes in the process will change the game world accordingly – deciding who will become king, for example, and affecting nations and races and their places in the world. These decisions will also influence the companion NPCs, possibly causing an NPC to leave the party or even attack the player if they disagree strongly with his or her actions.
As with the Baldur's Gate series, players are able to issue orders to NPCs in real time, but pause the game to queue up actions such as spells and special attacks.
There are three base classes to choose from: warrior, mage, and rogue. These classes can be upgraded later into a specialized class, such as the Berserker or Templar for the warrior class, Shapeshifter or Spirit Healer for the mage class, or Assassin or Ranger for the rogue. The game uses a party system similar to that of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, in that it features the main character with up to three active party members, chosen from a large pool of NPCs in the game.
Players are allowed to change game views throughout the game, by zooming in or out. Zooming in affords players a detailed overhead view, allowing them to spot important features in a scenario that may be positioned up above, such as a dangerously lurking creature. The overhead details are not visible in the zoomed out view.
The camera is in an over-the-shoulder third person view when zoomed in, and an isometric-style view when zoomed out, though the console versions cannot zoom out to the extent of the PC version.
The spells in the game interact with the effects of others, such as a fire spell igniting a grease slick before being put out by a blizzard.
The game is intended for mature players. Rankings include ages over 14 and 17, depending upon which rating system is used. The game includes morbid and violent scenes, mature language, and sexual content. A number of the gameplay characters are romance options.
|This section contains spoilers! Content within this section may reveal significant parts of a game(s) story.|
BioWare has described Dragon Age: Origins as being a "dark heroic fantasy" story told on an epic scale with mature themes.
The player begins the game in one of the six origin stories which serve as an introductory point for the players and present the world from their personal point of view. The origin story chosen (the choices being Human Noble, Human/Elf Mage (dwarves having an immunity to magic), Dalish Elf, City Elf, Dwarf Commoner and Dwarf Noble) determines who the character is and how NPCs react to the player. For example, Elves are often viewed as second class citizens.
After completing their character's respective origin story, the player encounters Duncan, leader of an elite group known as the Grey Wardens. Duncan guides the player to their destiny of becoming a Grey Warden, a group who dedicate their lives to the destruction of the Darkspawn, a force of demonic creatures that live underground and have at various points in history swarmed the surface of Thedas in movements known as Blights.
The player and Duncan journey to a fortress called Ostagar in southern Ferelden, to join the King of Ferelden. There they plan to make a stand against the encroaching Darkspawn, who Duncan believes have gathered for the first true Blight in 400 years. Duncan has sensed the influence of an Archdemon, a great being hosted in the body of a powerful dragon, in the Darkspawn's actions, making a Blight possible.
Duncan ordains the player into the Grey Wardens in a dangerous ritual called the Joining. The player is then given the task of lighting a beacon at the top of the fortress in order to signal Loghain to charge. After fighting through many Darkspawn that have infiltrated the fortress, the player does this, but Loghain, upon seeing the signal, quits the field with all of his men. King Cailan and Duncan die along with most of the army at the hands of the Darkspawn, who take control of the fortress and southern Ferelden. Loghain goes to Ferelden's capital city, Denerim, and proclaims himself regent for his daughter, Queen Anora.
The player and his party are nearly killed by the Darkspawn as well, but they are saved by Flemeth, a powerful witch who lives in a secluded hermitage. Flemeth presents the player with the involuntary assistance of her daughter and apprentice, Morrigan. The player, along with Alistair and Morrigan, decide that in order to slay the Archdemon believed responsible for the Darkspawn uprising and put an end to the Blight, a new army must be gathered from a myriad of factions located in the Ferelden area, which the Grey Wardens have treaties with.After the player successfully encounters and obtains the assistance of the Dalish elves of the Brecilian Forest, the Dwarves of the Kingdom of Orzammar, the Circle of Magi, and most importantly the uncle of King Cailan, Arl Eamon of Redcliffe, a meeting known as the Landsmeet is called between all the nobles of Ferelden at Denerim, during which Ferelden's political unrest is settled and the kingdom is ready to face the Darkspawn at Denerim.
At this point, the player learns that a Grey Warden must personally slay the Archdemon, giving his or her life in the process; the player chooses between self-sacrifice, sacrificing either Alistair or Loghain depending on which is available as a result from the choices made in Landsmeet, impregnating Morrigan with a child that would capture the Archdemon's essence or convincing Alistair or Loghain to impregnate Morrigan with the same result. Regardless of the choice, the player's party reaches Denerim and force a final confrontation with the Archdemon atop the largest tower in the city. The Archdemon is slain, causing all of the other Darkspawn to flee.
Dragon Age: Origins was first announced during as Dragon Age. On July 10, 2008, the title was changed to Dragon Age: Origins.
The version of the game was originally delayed. However, BioWare later retracted that statement and announced that, in North America, it would be released on the same day as the other versions. The Dragon Age Character Creator was released on October 13, 2009, allowing players to create a character in advance, and allowing players to import it into the full game upon release.
BioWare has released a "developer-grade" toolset (the same one that they used to make Dragon Age: Origins) to allow extensive modification and customization of the game. This is only available for the PC version of the game.
The retail PC version of Dragon Age: Origins does not use the software used by other EA games, opting instead for a standard disc check. BioWare and TransGaming released the Mac OS X version of Dragon Age: Origins on December 21, 2009 as a digital download.
BioWare announced on October 8, 2009 that two pieces of downloadable content will be available on the game's launch: The Stone Prisoner and Warden's Keep. By November 12, 2009, BioWare announced that sales of had generated over one million dollars of sales revenue.
The Stone Prisoner
The Stone Prisoner adds Shale to the game, a stone golem and a party member. Shale is a powerful character and has a backstory, voice acting, and a unique quest. The Stone Prisoner also adds new locations and items. New copies contain a promotional code to receive The Stone Prisoner for free.
Warden's Keep adds the fortress of Soldier's Peak to Dragon Age: Origins, granting the player the opportunity to understand why the Grey Wardens were exiled from Ferelden. The player can set up a base of operations with an area to store party members' surplus equipment. The download also adds new talents, spells, trophies/achievements, and items.
Blood Dragon Armor
Blood Dragon Armor adds a set of armor that will be accessible in both Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. New copies contain a code to receive Blood Dragon Armor for free.
Return to Ostagar
Return to Ostagar, was announced on November 19, 2009 and was originally scheduled to be released during the 2009 holiday season. Release was then delayed until January 5, 2010, and has since been further delayed to an unknown date and time. The player is tasked with returning to the ruins of Ostagar after the battle and retrieving the dead King's enchanted armor while discovering his "top-secret" political agenda, and can additionally pick up a large side quest in order to find out more about Duncan as well as uncover a new area.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening was announced on January 5, 2010, with a target release date of March 16, 2010. The expansion is supposed to take place following the events of the main game, and set in Amaranthine. The player has the option to use their current PC or start over as a new PC from Orlais, with a whole new origin. The expansion will include new content, more storyline, 5 new recruitable party members, new spells and abilities, a raise in level cap, new items and much more. The storyline is set to be based on discovering the darkspawn's true purpose and dealing with the mysterious "Architect."
|Official Xbox Magazine (UK)||8/10|
|PC Gamer UK||94%|
The PC version of Dragon Age: Origins has received significant praise from critics. UK, which awarded Dragon Age: Origins a 94%, called it the "RPG of the decade". The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game received an 8.4 from AU and the PC version received a 9.2 from IGN UK.
Michael Lafferty of rated Dragon Age: Origins at 9.9/10 for the PC stating, "The development team has done a sterling job of creating emotional content within the game’s atmosphere." The 360 version on the other hand received a 9.0/10.
GameSpot included Dragon Age: Origins in its list of the top games for the Christmas season of 2009.
In the opinion of GameSpot, the PlayStation 3 version features higher-quality textures than those on the Xbox 360, better color saturation, smoother facial animations, and shorter load times. On the Xbox 360, textures are highly compressed and colors are washed out, though the upside is that this version maintains a smoother frame rate than on the PlayStation 3. Minor visual glitches, such as corpses that disappear and reappear, are more common on the PlayStation 3.
At the, Dragon Age: Origins received the Best PC Game and Best RPG awards. Also, Dragon Age Origins was chosen as the PC Game of the Year, Best Xbox 360 RPG of the Year, Best Story of the Year, and Best PC Role-Playing Game of the Year by IGN.
There are currently two novels set in the Dragon Age universe. The first, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, was released March 3, 2009. The second Dragon Age novel is titled Dragon Age: The Calling and was released on October 13, 2009.
A three-episode game spin-off by EA 2D is under development, entitled Dragon Age Journeys. The first chapter of the game, The Deep Roads was released for free. Players can unlock achievements in the game, which will unlock unique items in Dragon Age: Origins. The second and third chapters will be purchase-only.