For me, there are numerous games which I will forever praise above the rest, but one which I will repeatedly play without ever growing bored is Dragon Age: Origins. First introduced to me at 13, I was sceptical of such a game design – most of my interests lay with stealth games, such as Assassin’s Creed, or massive open-world games such as Oblivion and Skyrim. Because of this, the concept of playing a largely tactics-based, party management type game was alien to me.
When the option of playing it was first suggested, I recoiled at the thought. In fact, it was only due to my sister’s insistence that I even attempted it. With hesitant fingers, therefore, I picked up the controller and created my first dragon age character: an elven mage (a retrospectively poor choice considering how the world is designed to hate both elves and magi) and delved into this unknown territory. Now, 6 years later, I picked up the controller once more and completed the game for what must have been the 5th time, at the very least.
“. . . despite this fixed core structure, Dragon Age is still very much a game that hinges on your choices. . .”
Now, of course, the core story of the game remains the same. No matter how you play: join the grey wardens, raise an army, defeat the archdemon. Those core facts don’t change, nor, by and large, do the parties involved in your army. After all, the treaties given to you dictate that you must seek aid from the dwarves, the elves, and the circle of magi.
Yet, despite this fixed core structure, Dragon Age is still very much a game that hinges on your choices – even in my, now five, different playthroughs, I’ve yet to receive the exact same ending. This flexibility, therefore, ensures that no matter how many secrets you have already unveiled, there is always a new way to experience the game, be it through a small ‘yet to be completed’ side quest, or a complete change of actions regarding a key decision.
Not only this, but I would argue that Dragon Age, as a franchise, contains some of the most well-developed characters in any game series that I’ve played. But interestingly, these individual character stories are not revealed without your genuine attempt to reveal them, all with very few pieces of information being given due to plot necessity. Instead, it is up to the player to purposefully build up relationships with characters, be this through choices which they approve of, dialogue, or gift-giving, with particular gifts sometimes being special enough to initiate critical conversations of character development.
“. . . these glitches, no matter how irksome they may be, do nothing to hinder the game as a whole.”
However, these positives aside, it would be wrong to say that the game doesn’t have its faults. Although I have yet to receive the exact same ending, I have also yet to experience a full playthrough without some form of glitch. Even in my latest playthrough, it took me seven attempts to complete the final section. It was during one of the mini boss fights that the game persistently froze to the point that my whole ps3 was unusable and needed a manual restart before it would function again.
Now, my PS3 is rather dated, so perhaps this is partially the console’s fault, rather than just the game, but this was not the only difficulty I experienced. During the prison outbreak for instance, when I unlocked a door via lock picking, rather than with the key, the cutscene refused to initiate, preventing quest progression, or even for that matter, game progression, forcing me to load an earlier save in order to advance.
“Experience a wave of nostalgia and dive back into the world you know so well. . .”
But, one should take note that the release of Dragon Age: Origins was back in 2009, so it is clearly not the youngest of games, especially when one considers just how quickly games advance. These glitches, therefore, despite how annoying they may be, are almost part and parcel with games of its age. And as Dragon Age has so many positives, these glitches, no matter how irksome they may be, do nothing to hinder the game as a whole, and Dragon Age, as a franchise, is still one which I would happily recommend to anyone looking to delve into a fresher world.
So with that said, why not try out Dragon Age? Or why not revisit one of your own dear favourites? Experience a wave of nostalgia and dive back into the world you know so well, but still love to play, no matter how many times you may have completed it already.
As long as you’ve had the fortune of searching through the world of gaming, I’m sure you have at least one or two games which you will forever hold dear in your heart. Whether that be due to the epic story, the amazing graphics, smooth mechanics, or excellent character design, every gamer is still able to praise either a game (or a franchise) above all others. These are the games which one can’t help but enjoy playing again, and again, even after discovering every secret, and beating every boss, just to play it for the sheer joy of experiencing it all over again.
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