Hidden Gems of the Gaming World : Dragon Age Origins

Dragon Age Origins Logo

Dragon Age Origins is this week's Hidden Gem of the Gaming World

Take a generous helping of Mass Effect 2, a lip-smattering amount of Oblivion : Elder Scrolls and an extra kick of creative spice that developing heavyweights Bioware are always sure to season their games with and voila! You have Dragon Age Origins. In much the same way that Activision are the King of sequels and EA are the Godfathers of anything sport related with a year in the title, Bioware are the premier makers of Role-Playing Games. There’s a reason why their critically acclaimed space-RPG swept the board when it came to winning Game Of The Year awards and it’s that same reason that explains why their most recent release (and successor of the Dragon Age brand name) Dragon Age 2 is already being tipped to clean up at awards shows later in the year too, despite the fact that we’re not even a quarter way through the year yet. The reason is that Bioware are just that good at developing games.

Nobody makes an RPG the way Bioware does, though it’s a shame that it’s taken people a while to realise this and so you may have missed out on one of the glittering gems in their RPG crown, Dragon Age Origins ; a pristine example of Bioware’s skills.

Click Read More to find out why you should get Dragon Age Origins.

Dragon Age Origins Screenshot 1

You simply can't have a fantasy RPG without swords. You just can't!

If I gave you £50, a lift to the nearest town centre and a  shopping list that said ‘ buy a well-developed RPG with all of the DLC packs and one of those £5 meal-deals from Sainsbury’s’, not only would you come back with a debt on your head of about £30 to be owed to GAME, I’d also be going hungrier than that hound that Old Mother Hubbard is so damn fond of. DLC is expensive. Or at least, it is as soon as it’s released. Like most things I suppose. But when a developer, like Bioware, who have a habit of releasing shiploads of DLC in the months after the game’s release, do exactly that, it can be extremely expensive and frankly, no one wants to be left out of pocket if the DLC isn’t up to par. Keep in mind that Bioware DLC is always great but still, principles! That’s why a tad bit of ingenuity comes into play when the developer releases the original game with all of their lovingly crafted DLC in the box for no added extra fee. Albeit, this special package comes about a year after the release date of the game itself but take note that it is ALWAYS cheaper!  And 9 times out of 10, it’s worth the wait, especially if that disc comes preloaded with some stellar Bioware additional content. This is what’s happening now. Not long ago, DAO was released with all the bells and whistles for under £20 (this is the bit where you gasp with legitimate shock and awe) and oh yeah, it’s worth it!

Only 2 games have ever tugged on my emotional heartstrings and made my rarely functioning tear ducts really open up and release the salty water from its chambers and those games are Heavy Rain (which won the most awards at this year’s Video Game BAFTAs) and Mass Effect 2. In fact, Mass Effect 2 was so well designed that it had me blubbing like the infant in a young adult’s body that I am within 5 minutes of selecting ‘start a new game’ from the menu screen. Now if that’s not an indication of Bioware’s flawless ability to capture your emotions (in a bear cage, we’re not talking about a sissy mouse trap people!) without forcing your corneas to look at pictures of ridiculously adorable kittens for hours on end, then I don’t know what is. And yes, with Origins, Bioware have again managed to give the tear ducts their semi-annual work-out, even if it did take a bit longer for the story to get going just to do so, but did I use up as many tissues this time round? You bet I did.

Dragon Age Origins Screenshot 2

When bug spray won't work...

And now for reason 3 (or is it 4, considering how long I just spent saying how awesome Bioware are?) Dragon Age Origins is fun. Over time, game genres grow up, they evolve so much that they’re almost unrecognisable. Take the classic FPS style of gameplay, you run around with a sub-machine gun, shooting Germans for lulz. As I’m sure you know, endless, murky, grey and brown WW2 shooters get a little tedious after having played through your fifteenth ‘battle of the trenches’ and so now developers are trying to mix it up like a glorious, interactive cocktail of bullets and flimsy storylines (Call of Duty, I’m looking at you!) adding new layers of more and more unbelievable (not in a good way) set pieces just to keep the mind of the player captivated for just a little while longer. With Origins, Bioware have stripped all that away. Everything is core. Sure, it feels like a next-gen game but it plays like your a-typical RPG, which is a much welcomed breath of development fresh air after Bethesda’s Oblivion Elder Scrolls had me running around pickpocketing, attacking defenceless crabs and being savagely attacked by deer. Really. Truth be told that yes, while it’s a ton of fun and is even ‘fun-ny’ at times, the graphics have suffered a little in order to make the game as entertaining as possible but I would most definitely sacrifice the visuals all over again just to be entertained by the game from start to wonderful finish.

Have I managed to convince you into getting Dragon Age Origins? I bought it for £17.99 from Amazon > here are the links (UK Store)

Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition (PS3)

Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)

Want to read more posts in the Hidden Gems of the Gaming World post series? Click here.

  • cront

    I’d really argue that one of the biggest releases from Bioware is a ‘Hidden Gem’. It is pretty good though.

    • http://jstationx.com Jasmine Henry

      Yes it’s a big release but I feel like people don’t have enough love for it, most people are too busy being hyped up about Elder Scrolls Skyrim to realise that there are already some fantastic RPGs out on the market.

  • cront

    You see Elder Scrolls coming and then you look at Dark Souls (the follow up to Demon’s Souls) and you tend to think Japanese will out.

    • http://jstationx.com Jasmine Henry

      Indeed and I can’t wait for either of those!