Tag Archives: Dragon Age

Dragon Age Origins (PC, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3)

Developer(s) – Bioware & Edge of Reality

Publisher(s) – EA Games

Director – Dan Tudge

Producer(s) – Dan Tudge & Mark Darrah

PEGI – 18


The spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series, Dragon Age: Origins is another RPG that combines elements of both turn-based and real-time time combat, which was well-received upon release and winning several awards in the process. However, it’s one of the very many games that have tried this formula in recent years but failed to appeal to me.


Graphics – 8/10

Although I think the game is nigh on unplayable, it does have its finer points, and the visuals are one of them. Made with the same engine as their Mass Effect series, there is a lot of textural detail in elements such as character’s armor, blood effects, scenery, and especially facial expressions. They do extremely well to convey the seriousness of the story to players. In terms of conceptual design, the game is pretty typical of the medieval fantasy genre, but there are certain elements to keep it somewhat fresh, such as original creatures.


Gameplay – 1/10

Unfortunately, it’s the most important aspect of any game that I find to be the biggest problem in this title. The combat system was impossible for me to work with, being one of the most convoluted of which I’d ever found in any video game, and in my opinion, it’s one that wouldn’t be fixed until Dragon Age: Inquisition when the entire would be simplified and would play out in a style more akin to Grandia. But to me, the first game was clearly a question of trial and error, and I don’t believe it passed the test the first time around.


Controls – 4/10

Though it may be easy enough to move around and talk to people within the game, the convoluted combat system also took its toll on the game’s control scheme in my opinion. The combat wheel used to switch between spells and other abilities was far too complicated for me to get to grips with, and so consequently, I ended up button-mashing most of the time, which made me feel as if I was playing a fighting game as opposed to an RPG.


Lifespan – 10/10

For those who are more lukewarm to the style of combat in this game than I am, they will be treated to an exceptionally long gaming experience at least, with the potential to clock in at about 60 to 80 hours. Despite the major flaws this game has in my opinion, there are many different side quests and extracurricular activities present to make it last an extraordinarily long time.


Storyline – 8/10

Though the setting and scenery may be pretty typical of the fantasy genre, the story is anything but. Describe as a “dark heroic fantasy” by Bioware, It follows the customizable player character in his bid to unite the kingdom of Ferelden against a demonic force called the Darkspawn. The story is gritty, political, and at times, particularly suspenseful. The game also features a fairly impressive cast of actors, including Simon Templeman, Claudia Blake, and even Tim Curry.


Originality – 6/10

The game does have its unique aspects about it, but in my opinion, its combat system makes it unique for all the wrong reasons. Not only that but as I said, the scenery and style are particularly typical of its genre. Its uniqueness relies mostly on the basic structure and series of events that make up the progression of the story. Indeed, there aren’t many other RPGs that are this dark. The exceptions being games like Breath of Fire IV or to a certain extent, Oblivion.




To summarize, Dragon Age: Origins is one of the weaker RPGs I’ve played in recent years, and while it has its strong points, wants in the aspect that truly matters; the gameplay. The fact that it won so many awards and garnished so much positive acclaim gives testament that a game like this does indeed have its place. Unfortunately, it’s just not for me.



5.5/10 (Below Average)

Dragon Age: Inquisition (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One)

Developer(s) – Bioware

Publisher(s) – Electronic Arts

Writer – David Gaider

PEGI – 18


Winning several gaming awards upon its release, including the game of the year for 2014, Dragon Age Inquisition carries on the events of the first two games, only including a brand new story premise as well as new and improved gameplay mechanics, much to my personal satisfaction. Though I don’t think I’m able to call this the best video game of 2014, by some distance that honor would go to Infamous: Second Son, in my opinion, it’s certainly better than what I expected, and effectively addresses the issue with the dreaded gameplay formula I talked extensively about last week.


Graphics – 7/10

After having played this game, I’ve been surprised to find that I would be voicing concerns about one aspect of it that I thought there would be no problems with and praising another aspect that I initially thought I would have issues with. Bioware had persistent problems with the loading of graphical textures in their games throughout the seventh generation, but they weren’t really noticeable enough to cause too many issues. However, even on more advanced hardware, these problems persist, and to about the same extent. It’s barely noticeable on either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but my advice would be to avoid the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions like the plague, since not only is this problem far more noticeable, but it also seems to affect the game’s frame rate at times. Otherwise, on a conceptual level, it’s a fairly unique take on the pseudo-medieval fantasy world synonymous with many other games, since it also includes a unique race of people called the Qunari, who can be best described as a hybrid of humans and dragons.


Gameplay – 8.5/10

After having played the previous two games, which perpetuated my concerns over combining elements of both turn-based RPG combat and real-time combat, I was actually pretty impressed by how Bioware had taken that formula and re-worked it for Inquisition. Rather than playing out like Final Fantasy XII, it actually plays out a lot more like a cross between Fable and Mass Effect 3, which in all honesty, is only a good thing the way I see it. Not only has the combat system improved, but it also feels like much less of a linear game than the original Dragon Age, since additional quests can be done much earlier on, and quests can be undertaken as and when players choose to.


Controls – 9/10

The control scheme is also well handled, except for one potentially game-breaking glitch. At times, I found that I couldn’t select potions from my inventory and use them to restore health, despite the fact that I had some in stock. I fast-traveled to a nearby came and the issue was resolved, but whether it may happen again at a crucial time, who’s to say? Otherwise, however, there are no other issues to address.


Lifespan – 9/10

Also, like Mass Effect and the other Dragon Age games before them, this game will last around 40 to 50 hours for gamers looking to accomplish everything there is to accomplish in it. For an RPG in particular, this is a very impressively long time, and it makes me wish that most other mainstream titles released yearly can be made to last as long as this. InFamous: Second Son had a very adequate lifespan, but the likes of The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls do not, and have suffered as a result in my opinion.


Storyline – 7/10

Though it is extremely similar to Mass Effect 3, the storyline does indeed have its merits and does well to maintain the dark and gritty realism, which was perpetrated by the preceding two games in the series. The plot follows a customizable character, who discovers he has the power to close rifts throughout the land, which causes demons of the Fade to pour through. He/she does this by using a mark on his hand that appeared after he survived a powerful rift blast, and discovers that the mark may kill him in time. Along with an assortment of allies, he resolves to revive an order called the Inquisition to combat the Fade and bring peace to the land. There are a good few twists and turns towards the end of the game, and provides an adequate amount of fan service, as well as effectively introducing newcomers to the series.


Originality – 6/10

There aren’t many games to have come and gone that have quelled my concerns over the gameplay style that Dragon Age Inquisition alludes to, but there have been countless video games released throughout the years to have made use of a medieval fantasy world. Games doing this seemed to spike upwards sharply following the release of the Lord of the Rings films, and there are still many others besides this to do it to this day. Mass Effect has always done better to stand out among sci-fi media (indeed, I think the conceptual design is even better than that of Star Wars), but there’s nothing in this game or the Dragon Age series in general, to say that its conceptual design is better than the likes of The Lord of the Rings or even Willow.




Overall, Dragon Age Inquisition, despite its flaws, is still a far better game than I expected it would be. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is the best game of 2014, it’s certainly an enjoyable title, and the best entry in the Dragon Age series by some distance.



7.5/10 (Good)