Dragon Age: Origins

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Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Nov 1st, 2009 at 7:11 am

This game, which I've been waiting on for years now, will finally be (officially) released on Nov. 3rd. Some people have already received their copy from EA, and you can also order it through Steam like I did - no pre-download yet, but supposed to activate today.

I remember when Bioware first discussed the game and offered a small handful of screenshots. The 'ooh/ahh' factor was pretty high. But since it was delayed a couple years, I am not sure if the gfx have kept up with current advancements. Either way, this title is touted as being the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, and total playing hrs for the average gamer *per path you decide to take* is supposed to be around 70-80 hrs play time.

I never managed to finish even the official base game of NWN 2 - I don't plan on making the same mistake with Dragon Age. I'm busy (as usual) but at least this time I'm on a pretty solid schedule with thanksgiving/x-mas break coming up, rather than being on the Army's haphazard schedule. So I should have time to spend on this one.

Lemme know if you guys get this game and of so, what ya think of it. Timmy, I fully expect to see your usual critique ;)

EDIT - pre-load is now available.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Nov 2nd, 2009 at 7:29 am

Pre-load finished overnight, weighs in at just over 15GB.

Timmy! Tell me you're gonna get this game and do a review :P

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Well, I just started the game. Not very far into it at all yet, but my initial impressions are decent so far. The characters are MUCH better looking than previous ones I've seen in the past (the characters in NWN2 were just awful looking). Graphics are fluid and smooth. Conversations with NPC's are actual voice-overs, not text bubbles. Your replies are text-based choices however. Haven't gotten into combat or spell-casting yet. Camera use is typical (various 3rd person views). Eye-candy is good... the heat shimmer from an open flame looks realistic.

Anyways. I'll have time to play more this weekend, and I'll give a more in-depth review at that time.

EDIT - just wanted to chime in and say that the few fights I have been in are leaps and bounds better animated than NWN2... better than anything I've seen recently. Of course I don't game nearly as often as I used to, so take it for what it's worth. However, the fight animations are fluid and in-sync, there's plenty of blood if that's your thing, and as you gain lvls and abilities you can chain attacks and develop tactics.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby SaGe^KS » Nov 4th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

This game is available on consoles as well right?
SaGe^KS

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Nov 4th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Yup, but it's dumbed down for the console ppl from what I hear.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Best_predator » Nov 11th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I got it for PS3, graphics are fucking horrid. They really did nothing for PS3 on this one, I think they're utilizing only 1 core on PS3 cause I know ps3 can handle much more than this.
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Nov 12th, 2009 at 7:36 am

The gfx are alright for the PC version... ppl have sent in reports about low-res textures and not being able to enable 16x AF even when enabled in the .ini file. Parts like the PC/NPC's and gear look good, but world textures are lacking.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Timmy » Dec 17th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

First Bioware disappointment for me, just not that great a game to me. The intro's for the races/classes were probably the best part. Archery sucks ass, its slow and does shit damage, plus you can't put enhancements on ranged weapons. No enhancements at all for armor, Horrible AI even with the npc "programming". Traps useless, poison useless, survival useless, half the spells useless, so many useless skills it seems like they didn't even playtest the stuff. The only NPC I found likeable was the dog, mostly because he didn't spend every spare minute bitching and/or whining at me. They didn't even add in the smart ai stuff from NWN like thief npcs opening locked objects you touch (so if your main isn't a rogue you'll have to switch characters to open every fricken locked chest/door.)


No replay value either since there really isn't much difference between the good and evil choices. Only the rogue gets class quests (and some big money payoffs)so it's pretty much the go to class to be. Dwarf is the go to race since the stat bonuses aren't any game breaker but the dwarves 10% magic resistance is VERY useful due to the huge damage magic does (vs you, npcs have tons of hps to absorb the higher magic damage).


I was so waiting for this game only to get a very forgettable Bioware offering, it made Jade Empire look like a 10...


Tim~

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Apr 27th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Well I finally gave this game some serious attention. Possible only because you can at any time get up and walk away from it when you need to (unlike DAoC hah :P ).

Dragon Age: Origins is probably the best RPG I've played in a LONG time... prob since Baldurs Gate 2. I just finished the game as a dwarf warrior (commoner). Played it on 'hard' difficulty. Took me over 100 hrs to finish it. I opted to play the typical good guy/hero saves the day/made friends with all my companions on this go-around. Here's my break-down...

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Pluses:

In-depth story line - you can choose to interact with every companion available on a few different levels (good/evil/indifferent/etc). Lots of history to discover and read about during your travels. The end-game 'what happened after you won and left' history was a nice touch, and some of it carries over to the expansion I think.

Eye-candy - for the most part, excellent. With player-made texture packs - out-fucking-standing. NPC and creature models looked fantastic; faces showed a lot of expressions (on par or even better than in HL2 series) and were realistic (unlike NWN2, where the faces looked like they belonged to an alien).

Animations - fluid, in-sync. Combat was sweet to watch, especially when you had 50+ mobs battling each other at the same time on different spots of the battlefield. Crazy action. Some of the death blows were pretty neat (like killing an ogre, or beheading a darkspawn).

Chaining combat attacks/spells - I dont have this down to a science yet, but its possible to chain 2 or more attacks/spells to get some devistating effects and kills. Example - mage casts cone of cold on a mob, then your fighter shield-bashes it while it's frozen and shatters it.

Experience - leveling up is at it should be. You dont have this weird fucked-up XP scaling that you see in a lot of other RPG's (especially MMO's). If a mob, say a skeleton, that is lvl 10, it's gonna have the same XP when you kill it, regardless of what lvl you are. More power to ya if you can kill it at lvl one (which you wont). I wasnt able to one-shot any mob til I hit lvl 22, and they were low-lvl grunt types.

Attributes - I like what Bioware did with this. You have you basics, like strength, dexterity, and constitution (strength determines how hard you hit as well as your chance to hit/penetrate armor. Constitution relates directly to your hit points, dexterity determines how well you can avoid being hit, as well as your chance to hit with weapons like crossbows/bows and daggers). Then ya have willpower, magic, and cunning... these sound mage/rogue specific but it applies to all classes, as do the first three. Also, you have an armor rating as well as a defense rating - a higher armor rating doesnt keep you from being hit; instead to determines how much damage you'll take (or wont take) when you do get hit. Your defense rating actually determines if you can dodge an arrow or a blade. I really liked their system.

Minuses:

Crashes: lots of game crashes since the latest patch (1.03 as of this post) - the patch fixed a lot of bugs and game-play issues that Timmy probably experienced, but at the cost of a more unstable executable. There's a fix you can apply to the executable that makes it more stable, but you'll still want to save the game often.

Eye-candy - yeah this was a plus, but lemme elaborate. A lot of the textures that come with the game, for whatever reason, are low-rez. And it's very noticible against the high-quality textures that are in the game. You can download a player-made hi-rez texture pack that fixes this (override folder just like from NWN/NWN2) but lets be honest, Bioware dropped the ball on this one, and I am surprised they havent addressed it yet.

Lack of skill points - as you level up, you gain skill points to apply towards different skills/abulities in the game. For a warrior, this means picking things like shield or two-handed weapon or two-weapon fighting styles. For mages, it's different schools of spells to study, etc. Bottom line is that you can master (get all skills available) in one school and thats about it. As you level, you can learn specialist styles (example: mage as baseline, then you can also learn shape-shifting, or healing arts, etc) but those also cost skill points. You can get spread pretty thin rather quickly. For my warrior I went full shield training at the cost of only having one ability each in two-handed and two-weapon fighting. Bleh.

Dialogue with companions - while it was really cool to have a fully developed story line with every single companion and major NPC in the game, sometimes it seemed like it was TOO much. Luckily you can keep hitting the ESC key to skip pages of dialogue to get to your choice menu, but sometimes you have to suffer through all of it to complete a certain quest with the desired outcome.

AI - actually the AI isnt bad... it's a lot better than what came with NWN/NWN2 outta the box. On hard difficulty the mobs will flank you, sucker you into ambushes, enemy spellcasters can be DEADLY and will use cover, etc... where the AI fell a little short was with your companions. You can control them with a 'tactics' window (which is also a nice touch) but there were a ton of obvious tactics that you'd think should have been included, that weren't. Again, player-made content saves the day, so this minus can become a plus with the right add-on.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Overall I give this game a 8.5 outta 10 - would be a solid 9 except for the instability of the game engine since patch 1.03.

Timmy - you're way too cynical man ;) You oughta give the game another chance, try a different class/style of play. You can find plenty of bows with plenty of enchantments built-in, with arrows that have added enchantments. You can also find items that give you plently of resistences (fire and spirit are your big two to have imo).

Gonna chack out the expansion for sure, as you can import your character from the original campaign, and your faction/reputation carries over, as well as most if not all of your gear.

EDIT - just started DA:O - Awakenings. One cool thing I noticed is that you can learn to make your own enchantments, and can apply them to certain pieces of armor as well as weapons. There are some cool new skills and specializations also.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Timmy » Apr 28th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

The in-game bows with enchantments fall way short of self-enchanted melee weapons, add in the extreme rareness of the enchanted arrows (a dedicated archer will use what little you can find/buy in a few fights), and you still have a slow suck damage fighting style. K2 you played a dorf shielder (do you ever play a game not as a dwarf tank?). Also some of your "fixes" for the games minuses are only available to PC users, there are also less AI and interface problems on the pc, since they released it on the console first and saw the huge outcry against said ai/interface.

I still say Bioware tanked on this one.


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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Apr 28th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I didn't realize you played the console version. Subtract 5 points automatically before you even begin to play it imo. You oughta state in future reviews if you're playing the PC or console version.

Every RPG I play, I'll roll a dorf shield tank first, cuz that's my favorite thing to play. I do wanna go back and roll a human evil blood mage type, and also a rogue assassin/thief and just be nasty to everyone and everything. Some of the high-lvl rogue/ranger types kept giving my warrior grief with the bow to be honest, at the high lvls there are some pretty devastating crit/stun shots you can do, and the mobs had those styles - makes me wanna roll an archer type also.

Try the PC version Timmy ;)

EDIT - forgot to mention, one player made add-on I used was the ability for any character to bash open locked chests/doors (non-quest related) if you failed a lock pick attempt or are unable to pick locks. Was able to find a lot of gear, including magic arrows and bolts. I had a shit ton of 'em. I shoulda mentioned the inability to bash open doors and chests in the minus section (you could do that in NWN, dunno why they excluded it from DA:O. Again, player-made content saves the day).

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Timmy » Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

K2 unless its a PC only game, I'll be playing it on the PS3. No overheating/compatability crap that I get from my pc (remember what fun I had with Crysis?).

My point about your character choice is you chose what is in pretty much every game the archetype that has the best survivability and more than likely the most playtesting. You got a much better game experience not because Bioware put out a great product but because the player community fixed their game for them.

Play the game again as a mage without any of the player-created add ons and tell me what a super swell game Bioware released.


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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » Apr 30th, 2010 at 9:55 am

I started an evil mage yesterday ;) I'm being nasty to everyone, I doubt many NPC's will want to stay with me. I killed the lock bash mod, so gonna try and keep a rogue with me that has lock picking skills. I'll let ya know how it goes.

And if want, I'll build a PC for you that wont overheat or have any compatibility issues :D I never had any issues with Crysis... makes me wanna go back and play it again now that I have a true DX10 machine w/ faster vid card.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » May 6th, 2010 at 10:59 am

Timmy, playing a caster fucking OWNS - I nuke everything in my path and let my companions clean up the rest, could give a shit about FF damage. I had fireball by lvl 5, cone of cold by lvl 8, and took arcane warrior and blood magic as specializations - cant swing a sword for shit as arcane warrior, but being able to wear armor goes a long way on survivability.

I'm lvl 18 now, and nothing really gives me any problems except for the big bosses, or a high number of elite mobs.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Timmy » May 10th, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hmm, I remember spells being underwhelming and spending alot of time hitting things with a stick, lots of things were highly resistant to magic too, maybe they fixed that for the pc as well? All in all it seemed like a game better suited to the PC but altered to fit the console (despite being released for the console first).


Tim~

ps: glad you enjoyed it, the most fun I had was playing all the different openers.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby K2 » May 10th, 2010 at 10:22 am

Just finished the game as a caster, almost made lvl 23 at the end. If I were to play a caster again, I'd skip blood magic - it has some useful abilities, but the cost to your own health isnt worth it imo. I shoulda spent more points in arcane warrior, but oh well... I didnt swing a sword too often anyways. I dumped almost all of my spell points into the primal line (fireball/cone of cold/lightning) and had Morrigan learn the entropy line + healing. Certain mobs do have high resistances to certain types of attacks, which made going full primal line a must - if fire doesnt work, try ice, or lightning, etc.

Playing again now as a female elf rogue (city elf). Probably wont dump any points into archery so I can be a dual-weapon beast (side note - going full spec archery makes you a damage dealing monster with the right bow/crossbow). Backstab is nice.

I am re-playing Origins as different characters until Bioware/EA releases another patch to fix Awakenings - too many show-stopper bugs right now from what I have read so far.


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