Dragon Age: Origins — PlayStation 3 Versus PC

On Tuesday we posted our review of Dragon Age: Origins for the PlayStation 3. Now I've moved on to the PC version of the game, and the difference is night and day.

I have a relatively modest gaming computer, all things considered. It's got one of the first AMD Phenom processors in it from a few years back, 2GB of RAM and a ATI Radeon 3850HD card. Not too powerful by today's standards, but still a ways out from obsolescence. While installing Dragon Age: Origins yesterday I envisioned a game that was slightly less stuttery than the PlayStation 3 version I had spent several days playing previously. I figured I would start it up, create a character, wander about a bit and then maybe go to bed. Four hours later I was exhausted, but still reluctant to part from the much sharper, much prettier game I discovered.

Even once I maxed out the graphic settings in the game, the frame rate was still extremely smooth compared to the PlayStation 3 version. Large battles came to life in a whole new way with a clarity the console version definitely lacked.

So the PC definitely has a leg up on the console version aesthetically. How about functionally?

The PC interface is a world apart from the console version, and if you've playing any massively-multiplayer online roleplaying game, it will be instantly familiar. The pair of three swappable shortcuts in the bottom right corner of the console version is replaced with a standard hot bar, where powers, stances and skills can be slotted just as they are in countless MMO titles. The select button menu is nowhere to be seen, with the PC version instead featuring a row of buttons at the top of the screen, allowing quick access to inventory, your journal, character stats and the like.

I wouldn't say the interface differences are better or worse. It all depends on how you are used to playing. As an avid MMO player, I found the PC version easier to navigate, though your results may vary.

As Totilo mentioned previously, the PC version of Dragon Age allows players to scroll backwards into an overhead, Baldur's Gate-like camera, presenting a much more tactical view of the map you are on, as well as adding a bit of extra familiarity for the PC gamer crowd. I haven't used it much, but I do appreciate the option. BioWare has also included the option for mouse-click movement, but I despise clicking to move with a passion that glows hotter than a thousand suns, so it isn't really a plus.

The PC version is also superior in the way it connects to the BioWare Community Website. As detailed by Totilo in his article on the social features of the game, the PC version automatically takes screenshots at key moments in the game, uploading some automatically while letting the player choose from addition shots to share with the community.

Dragon Age: Origins on the PC isn't without its faults though. There is no auto-level option for PC players, so you are going to have to manually update each of your characters as you progress. The inventory has also been streamlined a little, with potions, gifts and miscellaneous items all lumped under one heading. It's slightly more confusing, but since you should be relatively close to your computer screen as opposed to your couch, it's workable.

Update: We have found the PC auto-level. Thanks guys!

After spending time with both versions of the game, I don't necessarily regret playing through the PS3 version first. I still had a damn good time playing. It's just now that I've seen how the game runs on the PC, I long to see the events of my first character unfolding with the clarity of that one.

Given a choice, definitely go for the PC. It looks better, runs smoother, and it's generally $US10 cheaper as well.


Comments

    i would love to play the pc version.. but i don't think my laptop is powerful enough =(
    damn thing cost me $2.3k two years ago and now it's useless... although it always has been useless with vista

    Have you had any time with the 360 version? Does it come off better than the PS3 (Kinda hope so since I just ordered the 360 version)

    Ummm ,Having to manualy level your characters in your party is a integral part to a party based RPG.
    One of my favourte parts honestly.
    If your not interested in your party, I'd suggest that the game isn't really your genre.

    "There is no auto-level option for PC players"

    Yes there is, on the character record screen.

    Check the game again. There IS an auto-level option. Pretty sure I noticed it on Morrigan's character screen.

    "There is no auto-level option for PC players, so you are going to have to manually update each of your characters as you progress."

    There is, it's in the bottom right hand corner of the character screen.

    The PC version does have auto levelling included its under the character profile section or press C and in the bottom right is "LEVEL UP" or a checkbox for auto levelling.

    Well Duh

    I've put in about 10 hours on a 360 so far and I'm finding it great.

    That said, I'm about to start again because I went as a soldier instead of a rouge, and I want to know what's in those locked crates.

    Obvious comparison is obvious.

    PC games:
    -Look Better
    -Scale Better
    -Have a better community (especially for a game like this, expect many community mods!)
    -Play Better (for every genre except fighting and driving)
    -Have more features

    You'd be stupid to buy a multi-platform game on a console if you have a PC that can run it

      Except that sometimes it's just nicer to sit on a couch with a controller...

        And who says you can't do that with a PC game?

      Ahh, console games play better for more than just fighting and racing, add to that platformers, hack and slash, action adventure, 3rd person shooters. PC is better for rts, games with an isometric view and arguably FPS.

      Either way, i have a capable computer and I still buy all multiplats on the consoles because it's a more enjoyable experience. I'm making an exception for Dragon age though.

      Ive got a PC that compares favourably to David's review box, but I still chose to go via the 360 route instead (which is arguably a better version that the PS3, too).

      Primary reasons were the couch is more comfy than my comp chair;, my PC is all too oftten used for work and bills, and after doing those things, I don't care much for game playing on it; my TV is 50" compared to 23"; my theatre sound in the living room leaves every PC setup for dead; I don't have to configure video/sound/controls to play on a console (the novelty of tweaking wore off some time ago) - it. Just. Works. Out of the box.

      Having said all that, if DA:O shows up on a Steam weekend sale, I'll be all over it *just* for user made content, things that made NWN and BG so damn awesome after the credits had rolled.

    and i am playing DA:O on my pc connected to my 46" lcd 1080p tv. Not quite as crisp as my 24" lcd but still awesome (but the wifey uses the 24"). and heaps better than the console version.
    As stated before, pc to console version is like night and day. More so than the gta4 comparison.

    Hardly a fault even if it was true. Nice comparison though.

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