Those of you who follow me on Facebook (and talk to me daily) have noticed over the past week that I have been OBSESSED with Dragon Age: Origins. Normally, I would apologize for such a thing. This time: No. Way. In. HELL.
I don’t get obsessed with video games. It doesn’t happen. Ever. I enjoy most of Blizzard’s stuff, and love the lore in Warcraft as I have posted before, but no one has ever seen me head over heels in love with a game.
Dragon Age: Origins is the exception to this rule.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, as always, this is a writing Blog, so it must have something to do with the writing, right? Absolutely! If you are a gamer then you are always on the lookout for a game that has a good combination of graphics, action, comedy, drama, and above all: Plot. 90% of all games calling themselves RPGs I’ve found fall short of that mark. They are usually hack-and-slash first and story line will follow up a close second or possibly a close third depending on the engine used to create it. Such is true with Warcraft. The lore is amazing in Warcraft, but the games themselves are very much on the “Level up as fast as you can to get more gear and defeat the final boss—I don’t care about the story” level. These RPGs are fine for the casual gamer and such.
Dragon Age: Origins is NOTHING like this. This game is Roleplay first, hack-and-slash follows. Depending on the character you create in the beginning you can have five or six different ways of being conscripted into the main plot. So, while there are only three races that you can choose from, there are many different paths that you can have your character follow. No matter what you choose here, you will be approached by Duncan, the head of the Gray Wardens, who will whisk you away to fight the coming onslaught of Darkspawn and the Blight that follows. Along the way, Civil war erupts in the country so you have to fight battles on multiple fronts. There are side quests-galore, personal quests from NPCs if they like you enough and a million other things to choose from. Every choice you make in the game will aide (or retract) in deciding the outcome of the game for you. There are several possibilities here, and some are more heart breaking than others. Also, four of the NPCs that join you are capable of being romantic interests for you. Alistair, Morrigan, Zevran and Leliana. Alistair and Morrigan are both Straight while Zevran and Leliana can swing both ways. If you choose Alistair or Morrigan as a romance, things can get dicey, and you may have to make some pretty harsh choices at the end to get the ending that you want.
Every dungeon has a reason, every task has a point, and every friend or foe you encounter will pull you deeper into the realm of Ferelden, get you to care more about the characters and will move you to tears during some parts. Minor characters you find out later kick much more ass than you thought (i.e. Sandal, the . . . idiot savant) while major characters could have no say in their destiny in the end. There is no shortage of comedy in the game either. If you stand idle long enough or are even in between dungeons your party members will strike up conversations, insult each other or ask about each other’s pasts. Most of these conversations are quite humorous, especially if Alistair is on the receiving end of some of the more personal questions. For example:
"Prince Behelen attacks the assembly and is ignominiously killed. Epic fail!" - Dwarven Town Crier
"More crazy? I thought we were all full up." -Alistiar about Liliana
"Let's go find something squishy to throw off a cliff before it thinks I've gone soft." – Shale
“The Wardens were just leaving. And you will be joining them.” – Flemeth “Oh, such a pitty—What?!” - Morrigan
Did I mention the game has an All-Star cast? No? Well here goes: Tim Curry, Claudia Black, Kate Mulgrew and Steve Valentine among them. If you are a Science fiction fan then Claudia Black and Kate Mulgrew should sound familiar. Claudia Black played Vala in Stargate but is most noted for her role in Farscape. She was the perfect choice to voice Morrigan in Dragon Age. Mrs. Mulgrew played the part of the Captain in Star Trek Voyager. If you don’t know who Tim Curry is then walk yourself out to your back yard and impale yourself on a fencepost—you’re lost to all humanity.
If you own a PC, PS3 or Xbox 360: Buy this game. It is a writer’s bible. BioWare has done it again. I officially have inspiration for my fantasy novel again.