Reader Review: Dragon Age: Origins

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Nic does, as he finds himself showered in entrails.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Nic Droste. If you’ve played Dragon Age: Origins, or just want to ask Nic more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)

Yeah, it's been out for a few months now, but Dragon Age: Origins is conclusive evidence that gamers can still get a deep, mature Western style RPG without having to resort to some Eastern-bloc manufactured glitch-fest about a witch hunting gigolo or whatever. Bioware unashamedly mines the best elements from their past successes like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate, even KOTOR, and the results are character driven RPG bliss. For those of you who’ve missed this awesome experience, or even if you need a palette cleanser from the syrupy Final Fantasy pandemic, Dragon Age should cure what ails ya.

Loved

True Grit: Unlike Final Fantasy XIII, Dragon Age wallows in its dark fantasy setting like a proud pig in shit. There are no popped collars or bleached underpant models in this game. Characters are showered in gore from the ballet of decapitation and stabbing that goes down onscreen. The first time you see your character romantically embrace a fellow party member while still lubricated with the entrails of a butchered enemy, you’ll weep with delight.

Unadulterated Hardcore Bash: Even in its console iteration (I played this on PS3) the depth of character building, loot juggling and party planning in Dragon Age doesn’t pander to any current trends of mass market simplification. Bioware respects the audience they’re targeting, so even under EA’s helm there is no QTE waggle twittering or similar excrement which would foul a less pure vision.

Mature Themes And Choices: Heavy Rain can shove it. Video games have been dealing in mature themes and storytelling for ages; Dragon Age is a modern reflection of this lineage. Even the most jaded player will encounter at least a few choices which genuinely stall your progress with a tough choice, the repercussions of which will resonate for the remainder of the game reminding you how much of a heartless bastard you are. (I’m sorry, Alistair).

Circus Of Value: At 75 hours on my first playthrough, this should appease even the tightest tightass. When you consider the six alternate introductions, which each last a couple of hours, and the combination of multiple endings, this has genuine replay ability.

Hated

Uneven Difficulty: The main quest fluctuates from being a moderate challenge to sections of punishing ultra-pain which you’ll have to face again and again to work out the right strategy. Fortunately you can change the difficulty throughout the game, but this isn’t as satisfying as a consistently fair challenge.

Plastic Love Machine: The in-game lovemaking scenes are rigid and wooden in all the wrong ways. I shouldn’t be laughing.

Now is a good time to catch up on Dragon Age, with the expansion “Awakenings” just around the corner. And because this has been out for a while now, thrifty folks should be able to score some choice RPG action for less than $1 an hour.

Reviewed by: Nic Droste

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


Comments

    geez... someone didn't enjoy the witcher i guess...

    LOL, good review.

    Truly Nic, you are a poet... some of your epic descriptions and similies are brilliant.

    You're right about the difficulty too.

    I like the stabs at other games, haha... I played on PS3 as well, and I would have put the frame rate as a big fat "hated", but other than that you're on the money.

    I haven't been around to finishing it however, I breezed through the entire game only dying a few times, then when I got to the final battle (not the last boss, the one where you can use the different armies you collected) I fell flat on my ass. I lowered the difficulty and still couldn't do it. Keeping in mind I have not touched the combat tactics... ever... or given Morrigan a healing ability... I just cannot motivate myself to prepare better or try again. Oh well... I'll do it one day :p

    'mass market simplification'

    I love you

    Thanks everyone, glad you agree!

    So much anger!

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