There have been several reviews of this game here already but I thought I'd give my take on it.STORY:
The game, much like Mass Effect, more-or-less creates the story based upon your decisions. I actually found Dragon Age to have more drastic effects based on your choices than ME did. So really, you can play the game through multiple times and you'd still discover things you didn't before.
The story itself is at it's core, very Lord Of The Rings inspired. I think everything bout it from the cinematic cutscenes, to the brave warriors and the evil orc-ish enemies, it owes great credit to JRR Tolkien (or Peter Jackson rather, who gave LOTR it's vivid, recognisable image).
Apart from that, the storyline isn't that deep. It's full of mini sub-plots but in actual fact, all there is to it is you are one of the last "Grey Wardens" who are people who must fight the invading enemies and ultimately defeat something called the "archdemon", and later you'll find out that Grey Wardens must even sacrafice themselves in order to defeat it.
There are some cliche moments and as I already stated, the narrative isn't so deep, yet it is gripping from start to finish due to it's eccentric and likable characters, it's interesting side plot-lines and great in-game discussions. What really sells the game, though, is the fact that every single kind of character you choose to play as (who you can also create too), has it's own origins, it's own backstory which you'll play through, and each of these lead to you joining the Grey Wardens in their epic journey.
There is tremendous replay value to be had in this, story-wise but at the same time, it needed a slightly more fleshed out narrative to really make it comparable to the almighty god of fantasy, Lord Of The Rings.
The storyline, from me, gets an 8.7/10 (Compared to The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion's 8.0/10)GAMEPLAY:
I have no doubt whatsoever that when this game was being created, that it was designed for PC in mind. I am certain of it. The reason why I am saying this is that it feels very point n' click orientated. Yes, you control the character/s in your party with the analog stick(s) but as you move past hotspots, if you are facing them, if you press A your character will automatically walk towards it to interact with it. The same goes with combat, instead of navigating your character towards an enemy with the analog stick, you select one of your attacks assigned to A,X,B and A,X,B while holding onto RT, and then he or she will run up to the enemy and attack them in the corresponding way.
This could be perceived as a positive or negative aspect. I am neutral, I don't particularly like this control scheme but I certainly don't dislike it. The only problem with it is that you are better off playing it on a pc, that is if it can handle it.
Even if you are not that keen on this idea, it does have it's advantages for example, you don't have to keep mashing an attack button, you can be strategic and find it much easier to command your team because the fighting is more or less done for you, you just need to initiate the choice of attacks.
The game can last anywhere between 20 hours to 60 hours. This is a good length, and add to the fact that you will most likely replay it means that's excellent. It took me over 40 and I didn't complete all of the side quests, so I'm definately content, especially considering it only cost me little over £10. There is but one problem I have with this game's length, though. Unlike most games of it's genre such as: Fable and The Elder Scrolls, after completion there is no free roam; There is no exploration whatsoever. In fact there isn't much of that throughout the game at all. It's not to say it's linear but you cannot just explore a massive world, you are forced to select individual locations from the map. And this is fine but at the end of the game you are forced to buy extra content if you want to go to any location, otherwise you are simply stuck in the campsite with all areas closed off to you. This, was the biggest issue I had with the game as after completion I wanted to finish off any remaining side-quests, I also wanted to find gifts to give to people in my team to try and seduce and eventually bed them. Unfortunately I was given no freedom to do so, and therefore I had to stick with my homosexual elf, Zevran. Don't get me wrong, he's a lovely guy but really... I wanted to get that hottie, Leliana into my tent. You want to find out who I'm talking about? You should play the game.
There are many aspects of Dragon Age's gameplay to like. One of these is the way you can choose to side with certain factions and even wipe out the other, eg: werewolves or elves. You can gather your army resources to that when it comes to the massive battle near the game's conclusion, you will have many more units.
You can even play as different kinds of species. For example, you can play as a dog and a dwarf and also, some magic-weilding people in your team can shape-shift into animals like giant spiders, bears, and such. You can even play as a golem if you get the extra content.
Overall the gameplay's great fun from start to....um...well, mainly at the start. That's the problem with it, it needed that extra bit of freedom for it to really be on-par with games like TES Oblivion.
I did really enjoy Dragon Age Origins, however and so it's gameplay rating from me is a: 8.0/10 (Compared to The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion's 9.5/10)GRAPHICS & SOUND:
The game really shines in it's sound quality. The music is superb, well-fitting, epic and just generally auditorally pleasing. The voice acting is also excellent, as I never really noticed any seriously bad dialogue or dodgy voices in the entire game. Also, some of the discussions people have are simply hilarious, especially the discussions between Oghren and Zevran or Alistair and Morrigan: their bickering never gets old.
But in some cases there are very repetitious sound effects or phrases. For example, if you have the character, Zevran in your party, every time you fail to open a chest, he says "perhaps I can have a try at that". Every time without fail
And while the music is very good, it's really not up to scratch with Oblivion's fantastic scores written by Jeremy Soule.
Sound score: 8.5/10 (Compared to The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion's 9.4/10)
Graphically, this game is ridiculously underwhelming, especially considering the high quality in the rest of the game. Of course, you will not be complaining about the visuals when playing but really, they should have spent a lot of extra time when creating the locations. Because the character models are fine, the facial expressions are quite good and they look much better than Fable 2's. But the texture detail is horrendous; it's smudgy, there are lots of jaggys and there is just generally a very low standard of visuals in the entire game. Even the draw distance is bad, with trees in the distance looking not only entirely flat but looking like they were made by a child with safety scissors and some thick green card.
It just surprises me that either Mass Effect games, the one before or the one after looked far better in the graphics department. I don't know how they managed to make such a bad looking game.
Now that being said, it doesn't look like a last-generation game by any means but it seems to come close.
For the graphics, I'll rate Dragon Age Origins a 6.0/10 (Compared to The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion's 9.2/10 - in consideration with it's open world)
The overall rating I'd give to Dragon Age Origins (not an average) is an 8.4/10
Really a great game but which lacks in numerous areas.By the looks of things, she forgot to tell him she was on her period before they had sex...