Publisher:Electronic Arts BioWare
Release Date: Nov 3, 2009
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+
Incredible storytelling,great characters,and exciting battles are just a few of the things that make this fantasy role-playing game so extraordinary.
Intricate,involving storytelling.Amazing dialogue and voice acting bring characters to life.Rich fantasy world filled with interesting lore.Enjoyable questing with plenty of twists and surprises.Lots of spells and abilities make combat fun.
Dragon Age’s plot,which deals with the impending invasion of a horde of demonic creatures called the darkspawn,isn’t where the story’s biggest surprises lie.The shocks,the joys,and the disappointments spring from the repartee among a number of remarkable characters;they lurk within books of lore and stories of martyrs;and they burst forth during spine-tingling moments when you must choose from a selection of difficult choices that affect the tale’s direction–and the way your associates interact with you.Ferelden is a colorful and fascinating kingdom that takes enough cues from well-known fantasy tropes to be familiar,but bends enough conventions to feel original.Dragon Age features dwarves,but their caste-based society and the social paragons that rise above it twist the norms enough to keep you intrigued.Mages remain under the constant watch of templars,a restriction that doesn’t sit well with those who view such policing as virtual slavery.The role of religion in human circles is of particular note.Chantries provide refuge to those worshiping the all-powerful Maker,and chanters recite the holy word near their houses of prayer.But lest this world sound too serious, don’t despair:One such disciple slides food references into her chant,and a few dwarves warn you not to fall into the sky. Small,humorous touches like this are plentiful.Even if you aren’t the literary sort,Dragon Age may inspire you to read every note,every character bio,and every creature description,thanks to the richness of the world and the consistency with which it’s presented.
All of these elements coalesce wonderfully,making for a memorable and exciting adventure that keeps you on the move. The flow of loot and pace of leveling are both highly satisfying,and because you have four active characters to consider (in addition to others back at the camp),you spend a lot of time poring over armor and weapon choices.The tempo is even quicker than the Dungeons & Dragons games that preceded Dragon Age,thanks to important tweaks that minimize downtime. For example,you do not need to rest between encounters to replenish your health and recharge your spells.Instead,health and stamina are replenished quickly once the skirmish ends,allowing you to string encounters together without unwanted breaks in between.Should a party member fall during battle, he or she will be resuscitated once the battle has ended, albeit with a stat penalty applied (though it can be cured with an injury kit).These factors,and more,give Dragon Age an excellent sense of forward direction.
All the spells,tactics,and skills sound like a lot to organize,but the interface does a great job of helping you keep track of things.The PC interface is brilliant,letting you browse through your inventory and tweak your quickbars quickly and easily.The console versions do a surprisingly great job as well,making it simple to sort through your quests,and to queue up actions while battle is paused.One particularly useful feature is the ability to identify inventory items as trash and sell them all with a single button press once you’re back in town.There are some console-specific interface irritations that could have been cleaner,however.For example,identifying new codex (that is,lore) entries can be troublesome, because the list doesn’t scroll down until your highlight cursor reaches the bottom of the window.As a result,you can’t always distinguish new entries from old ones,which is an issue that doesn’t plague the fantastic PC interface.The consoles’ radial menu,on the other hand,is an excellent way of letting you access every battle skill,and it works somewhat like the similar interface in Mass Effect–albeit with a few more layers.