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Caution — Dragon Age: Origins May Make Your Head Explode

Bobby Travis

Dragon Age: Origins logo Like Baldur’s Gate? Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic? How about Mass Effect? Well then, prepare yourself… BioWare’s newest masterpiece has hit stores and is preparing to rock your world! Dragon Age: Origins has been officially released for PC, xBox 360 and Playstation 3. Dragon Age, touted as the “spiritual successor of Baldur’s Gate”, is a single player role-playing game that is a based in a completely original world and setting created by BioWare. There has been much buzz on the game, which has rarely scored below 90% in reviews to date and has been touted by some as the best RPG of the decade. Many gamers and fantasy fans, myself included, have been anticipating this game for years. I am so excited that I find myself especially glad that my 34th birthday is less than a month away…

Interested? Hit the jump for the highlights.

Dragon Age: Origins is described as an epic “dark heroic fantasy” story that contains mature themes. It is set in the kingdom of Ferelden, in a “realistic” fantasy world that has been compared (by the developers) to the fantasy fiction of George R.R. Martin (A Song of Fire and Ice) and fantasy paintings by artists like Frank Frazetta. The player begins the character’s journey with one of six Origin stories that introduce the world and determine the character’s place within it. The story is very gritty and more than often bloody. According to BioWare, the world is brutal, dangerous and you should prepare yourself for the occasional shock.

Dragon Age: Origins | Brutal Combat

 

Gameplay:

  • Realistic elements such as friendly fire, using cover, line of sight required for direct attacks.
  • Warrior class characters don’t have to be giant steroid monkeys — they can be dexterity based.
  • All followers have distinct histories and personalities. They also come with unique or specific talents that scale to the player’s level when they are met.
  • The game revolves around managing personal relationships with allies as you build your character throughout the story. The better you fare with your immediate circle, the more loyal and powerful your allies become, and may even lead to (tasteful) romance.
  • Different death blows depending on the weapon used and the opponent faced.
  • No reputation or alignment system. However, the choices you make in game do affect how NPCs react to you and may have consequences within the story.
  • Weapons, shield and armor are displayed on the the character and NPCs (non-player characters).
  • Players can expect about 15-20 levels, depending on how much of the story and side-quests they choose to experience.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNWppHev3ZA

 

 

Characters:

  • Players can customize the appearance of their character with “the most detailed facial customization tool BioWare has created to date”.
  • Choose race, gender, and class. Races are Elves, Humans and Dwarves. Classes are Warrior, Rogue and Mage.
  • Choose your point of origin and backstory.
  • Continued customization as the character gains levels.
  • If you want to get started early, there is a Character Creator available for download.

 

Combat:

  • Real time, with pause and play feature for strategy (like Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic).
  • Diceroll-esque but is not the D&D system.
  • Dual wielding of weapons is available.
  • Spell combos for unique effects.
  • Mana-based magic (regenerates slowly over time and grows per level).
  • No traditional rest system and no need to memorize spells, but there is a Party Camp feature for healing long term injuries and such.

Dragon Age: Origins | Mage Combat

 

Specs for PC:

Minimum for XP (Service Pack 3)

CPU: Intel Core 2(or equivalent) running at 1.4Ghz or greater
AMD X2(or equivalent) running at 1.8Ghz or greater
RAM: 1GB or more
VIDEO: ATI Radeon X850 128MB or greater
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MB or greater
DVD ROM (Physical copy)
20 GB HD space

Minimum for Vista (Service Pack 1) – likely the same for Windows 7

CPU: Intel Core 2 (or equivalent) running at 1.6Ghz or greater
RAM: 1.5 GB or more
VIDEO: ATI Radeon X1550 256MB or greater
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB or greater
DVD ROM (Physical copy)
20 GB HD space

Recommended Specs

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz Processor or equivalent
RAM: 4 GB (Vista) or 2 GB (XP)
VIDEO: ATI 3850 512 MB or greater
            NVIDIA 8800GTS 512 MB or greater
            AMD Phenom II X3 Triple-Core 2.8 GHz or greater
DVD ROM (Physical copy)
20 GB HD space

 

Dragon Age: Origins will also provide a toolset for fan-made content. There will, however, be no LAN, online, or multi-player component of any kind. Sorry Neverwinter Nights fans (which include both Evan and myself).

 We’ll be revisiting the game soon, after we have had some time to play it — it has already proven to be a danger to productivity! Keep your eyes open for our first impressions!

 

Are you a fan of BioWare’s past games? If so, which ones? Are you planning on picking up Dragon Age: Origins? Let us know in the comments!