Dragon Age: Origins is one of my favorite RPG’s that have surfaced in the last four years period and with the controversy surrounding Dragon Age 2 I feel it’s time to elaborate on why the first game is so highly praised, thus making Dragon Age 2 doomed from the start. Dragon Age 2 certainly had big shoes to fill; and I feel that many of the people I have spoken to do not understand the epic that was Origins. It’s easy for those who know nothing of Origins to point and say “Dragon Age 2 sucks” based on word of mouth, but if you have no knowledge on the first game you won’t know why it sucks (besides the obvious dumbed down combat).
Since it’s clear that Bioware intend to steer far from the elements that made Origins so great, I must put the Epic stamp on it as we may never experience the same thing again.
The first time I saw this game was at E3 2009. My colleagues Anthony Frasier and Randy Ledet JR were with me witnessing the awesome press only presentation from Bioware, which was focused on the relationship/character building element of the game. What we took away from the presentation was that Dragon Age: Origins would be just like Mass Effect but in a different setting. The more knowledgeable RPG lover would deem it a spiritual Baldur’s Gate 2 successor.
I waited months after E3 until Dragon Age: Origins finally hit the shelves. I purchased the game the very first day it came out and have never regretted it since. At first it took me a while to fully get into the game. Like most RPG’s, Dragon Age: Origins overwhelms you with story, information and missions at first. I can see those who don’t generally play RPG’s having problems with getting into the story. Most people who would deem this game as “trash” are those who simply just cannot immerse themselves into an RPG with this much depth.
Once you do manage to invest yourself into the experience, Origins is unbelievably engaging. The whole reason why the game takes on the name Origins is because you can literally chose how your character’s life spans. You get to choose from a fair amount of preset origin pathways which depend on if you create a human, elf or dwarf. You then chose one of three classes; warrior, mage or rouge. Before being brought into the main plot you must complete your origin quest which will show how your character came to be in the Gray Wardens; which is a group of do-gooders who aim to end evil. The evil you face is the blight, which is basically an arch-demon (dragon) spewing out thousands of darkspawn into the world to kill everyone.
It all sounds simple enough, but the more you immerse yourself in Dragon Age, the more you discover new mysteries and myths. It’s these mysteries and myths that had us on the edge of our seats throughout the game, and also had us craving a sequel so badly. We were all disappointed in Dragon Age 2 because it ignored some of these mysteries that we wanted answered.
So to summarize why me and thousands of others are obsessed with Origins. Its because Bioware crafted a world which embodied fantasy at it’s finest. They created a world with rules and politics and then allowed for the fantasy to take over. Also there is so much presented in terms of story, and many of this is left open in a way that lets you envision the outcomes personally. Dragon Age Origins was exactly what you made it. You dictate your own adventure as the hero, and then even after the game has ended you can leave what happens next to your own devices.
Look out for the next entry into The Epics Collection.