There is a blight coming. Dark Spawn have risen up from The Deep Roads and are marching their horde towards the cities of Ferelden. Duncan and the rest of the Grey Wardens have heard the call of the Archdemon, a giant, pissed off Dragon. It is time you faced your destiny, oh silent random protagonist. Are you ready? Will you survive the joining? Will the King's plan for a glorious defeat of the Dark Spawn in one battle succeed? Your adventure begins!
DA:O has an elaborate character creation system, allowing you to choose from gender, race, back story and class for your character. You can be male or female, Elf, Dwarf, or Human. From there you can pick a few different back stories for your character, based on race and class. These include Human noble or Dalish Elf, etc. Oh, and there are achievements for doing each one! Though I found it fun to go go through each introduction, not tedious. They give you different back story of the setting and interpolitical information that can be missed or not found until much later in the game.
The classes available to you are basic D&D RPG classes, Rogue, Warrior, and Mage. There are sub classes within each, such as Archer or Two-Handed. Pretty basic, cookie cutter RPG. I generally play a Rogue and Max out my lock picking as quickly as I can because if you don't there are many locked chests that you miss out on during the first parts of the game. This isn't a big deal to most normal people. It's the beginning of the game, aren't going to miss out on ultra rare, amazing equipment. It just bothers me to leave a locked chest. Forgotten to time.
Difficulty and tactics are customisable. I found the controls and tactics a pain to go back too after playing the other instalments of Dragon Age. I found the harder difficulties, hard and insane, not fun but if you're looking for a challenge or are a masochist, check them out!
Along the way you recruit various compatriots, of differing racial, class and sexual orientation. You cannot recruit all characters in one play through. Some characters are diametrically opposed to others. Example, you cannot have Alistair and Loghain in your party together. Gaining Loghain causes Alistair to leave, forever. Some of the companions are miss able. There is also a DLC character, Shale. This one doesn't count towards the party achievement but is a fun story, nonetheless.
Why saving is so damn important. Your decisions affect each characters perception of you, even if they aren't in your immediate party (you can only have three characters in your party at a time). If you want to be in a certain companions good graces but accidentally piss them off beyond repair, you will be extremely angry you didn't obsessively save with multiple saves. Example: I started a new game with the hope of romancing and marrying Alistair, as I haven't done that before. We were around camp, I had absentmindedly had been giving him presents to bolster his feelings for me. He decided to tell me, randomly, how he felt. I thought it would be fun to joke around with him and explore different dialogue options. I got a -73 for that. Glad I saved right before...
The game is glitchy, as all BioWare titles are. It's pretty cut and paste fantasy settings, Dragons, swords and sorcery. Where this title shines is the characters, variety of options and interactions and replayability. This game is hands down fun. Its funny and, at times, ridiculous. You can be the shining paragon of truth and justice or you can be as villainous and murderous as your black little heart wants. It has different endings with various paths. You can corrupt your companions, kill them or let them die or influence the politics and history of Ferelden as you see fit. The graphics haven't aged remarkably well but they are pretty basic stylised BioWare models. Want to play out your fantasy of being the good guy with a handsome elven rogue assassin boyfriend? Or maybe you want to watch the world burn as you corrupt those around you and play god. You can! Check this game out.
- Basic sword and sorcery RPG (I like those)
- Fun game with a lot of replayability
- Different endings
- Lots of customisation options
- Good companions with good side quests
- Reuse of areas and feels limited (world isn't open ended)
- If you don't save religiously you mess up your ideal play through
- Harder difficulties tedious and unfun (just my opinion)
- Graphics haven't aged well