Dragon Age Origins

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Dragon Age Origins

Post  EVANdersar on Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:12 pm

Dragon Age Origins [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1
Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO @ 1.4 GHz/AMD Athlon64 X2 @ 1.8 GHz
Memory: 1 GB
Hard Drive: 20 GB Free
Video Memory: 128 MB (nVidia GeForce 6600/ATI Radeon X850)
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 9.0c
Keyboard & Mouse
DVD Rom Drive

Recommended System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4 GHz)/AMD Phenom II X3 720 (2.8 GHz)
Memory: 2 GB
Hard Drive: 20 GB Free
Video Memory: 512 MB (nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS/ATI Radeon HD 3850)
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 10
Keyboard & Mouse
DVD Rom Drive

Dragon Age: Origins is a single-player role-playing video game developed by BioWare's Edmonton studio and published by Electronic Arts. It is the first game in the Dragon Age franchise. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2009, and for Mac OS X on December 21, 2009.

Set in the mythical kingdom of Ferelden during a period of civil strife, the player assumes the role of a warrior, mage or rogue who must unite the kingdom to fight an impending invasion by demonic forces. BioWare describes Dragon Age: Origins as a "dark heroic fantasy set in a unique world", and a spiritual successor to their Baldur's Gate series of games, which was based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise.

Upon its release, Dragon Age: Origins was lauded with overwhelmingly positive reviews and considered a critical success. Aggregate review site Metacritic ranks the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game with scores of 91, 87, and 86, respectively. The game also received multiple awards from numerous outlets, ranging from IGN's "PC Game of The Year (2009)" to the Academy of Interactive Arts & Science's "Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year 2009".

An expansion to the game, titled Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, was released in March 2010, and the official sequel, Dragon Age II, is set for release in March 2011. BioWare intends for Dragon Age: Origins to serve as the foundation for a much broader intellectual property. Even before its release, plans to expand the universe introduced by the game were underway; this included sequels, paper and pen games, books, and comics that would expand the scope of the Dragon Age franchise. Several of those projects have since been released.

The game incorporates "origins" for each race and some classes. For example, a dwarf noble begins the game as part of the royal family in one of the dwarven cities, whereas the dwarf commoner origin story begins on the streets of the city. Origin stories determine the background of the player's character prior to the main events of the game's story, forming an introduction to the world while also comprising hours of play. Characters that the player meets during the origin story may reappear throughout the game, some as adversaries.

There is no tracking of moral alignment as in previous BioWare games, but the moral choices of the player will still affect the story throughout the game. The player will accomplish the goal regardless of choosing to be good or evil, but the decisions that the player makes in the process will change the game world accordingly – deciding who will become king, for example, and affecting nations and races and their places in the world. These decisions will also influence the companion NPCs, possibly causing an NPC to leave the party or even attack the player if they disagree strongly with his or her actions.

The game has been described as the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate by BioWare co-CEO Ray Muzyka, as players are able to issue orders to NPCs in real time, but pause the game to queue up actions such as spells and special attacks, a game mechanic from the Baldur's Gate series. There are three base classes to choose from: warrior, mage, and rogue. These classes can be upgraded into a specialized class such as the berserker or templar for the warrior class, shapeshifter or spirit healer for the mage class, and assassin or ranger for the rogue. The game uses a party system similar to that of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, another BioWare roleplaying game, featuring the main character with up to three active party members chosen from a pool of NPCs.

The game features a degree of interactivity between spells, such as a fire spell igniting a grease slick before being put out by a blizzard. The game contains many combinations which can be discovered by the player either by accident, or by finding clues as to which combinations are valid.

Players are allowed to change game views throughout the game, by zooming in or out. Zooming out affords players a detailed overhead view, allowing them to spot important features in a scenario that may be positioned up above, such as a dangerous lurking creature. The overhead details are not visible in the zoomed in view. The camera is in an over-the-shoulder third person view when zoomed in, and an isometric-style view when zoomed out, though the console versions cannot zoom out to the extent of the PC version.

BioWare has described Dragon Age: Origins as being a "dark heroic fantasy" story told on an epic scale with mature themes.[32]

The game is set in Ferelden, one of several countries that makes up the mythical continent of Thedas. The game opens with an animation which details the origins of demonic creatures called the darkspawn, who reside under the surface of Thedas, and who every few hundred years swarm the surface world in a movement known as a Blight. Beginning with the first Blight, Thedas relied on the legendary order of the Grey Wardens to drive the darkspawn back. Dragon Age: Origins begins on the eve of Thedas's fifth Blight.

The player begins the game by completing one of the six origin stories corresponding to the race and background of the character he or she created upon choosing a new game; the choices are Human Noble (for Human Warriors or Rogues), Magi (for Elven or Human Mages), Dalish Elf or City Elf (for Elven Warriors or Rogues), Dwarf Commoner or Dwarf Noble (for Dwarven Warrior or Rogue). The origin section introduces the players to the mechanics of the game and the fictional world through a personalized context. The origin story determines the biography of the character and how NPCs react to the player for the rest of the game. For example, elves are often viewed as second class citizens by humans, while mages are treated with suspicion and fear, while the human noble is treated with respect.[32] In every origin story, the player is introduced to Duncan, a Grey Warden who is trying to find recruits to fight the Blight. By the end of his or her origin story, the player's character is selected as a potential Grey Warden, and leaves with Duncan.

The player and Duncan journey to a fortress called Ostagar in southern Ferelden, to join Cailan, the king of Ferelden, and Loghain, a legendary general and Calian's father-in-law. The three leaders plan to make a stand against the encroaching darkspawn before the Blight can overwhelm Ferelden. Duncan can sense the influence of an archdemon, a great being hosted in the body of a powerful dragon, which means that this would be the first true Blight in over 400 years.

Duncan initiates the player into the Grey Wardens through a dangerous ritual called the Joining. The Joining involves imbibing darkspawn blood, which can either kill a person or imbue him or her with the powerful darkspawn essence known as the Taint. After surviving the Joining, the player, along with another Grey Warden, Alistair, is given the task of lighting a beacon at the top of the fortress which signals Loghain to make a decisive charge with his men. After fighting through many darkspawn, the player lights the beacon. Loghain, upon seeing the signal, inexplicably abandons the battle along with his army. King Cailan and Duncan are quickly overwhelmed by darkspawn, who kill them, massacre Cailan's army, and seize control of Ostagar and southern Ferelden.

The player's Warden and Alistair are nearly killed at Ostagar as well, but are saved by Flemeth, a powerful witch who lives in a secluded hermitage with her daughter and apprentice, Morrigan. The player, along with Alistair and Morrigan, decide that in order to stop the Blight from destroying Ferelden, and possibly Thedas, they will need to gather a new army and slay the archdemon. Using ancient Grey Warden treaties, the player's Warden must travel across Ferelden to enlist the aid of the Dalish elves, the dwarves of Orzammar, the Circle of Magi, and Arl Eamon of Redcliffe. Unfortunately, all of these factions are facing problems of their own, which the player must help resolve to secure their allegiances. Meanwhile, Loghain returns to Ferelden's capital city, Denerim, to inform Queen Anora, his daughter, of King Cailan's death. Loghain blames the Grey Wardens for abandoning the battle and betraying Ferelden. While Queen Anora inherits her husband's authority, Loghain quickly declares himself her regent and effectively seizes control of the kingdom.

While exploring Ferelden, the player will be presented with the opportunity to partake in numerous side-quests to flesh out the Dragon Age mythology, acquire powerful equipment, and earn experience points. Potential companions with their own special combat specialties and back-stories will also present themselves and offer to join the player's quest.
Characters approaching Redcliffe Castle

After the player successfully obtains the assistance of all the primary factions, a meeting known as the Landsmeet is called among the nobles of Ferelden. There, the player confronts Loghain and rallies support from the rest of the kingdom to face the darkspawn. The player is also presented with the option of executing Loghain for his crimes or sparing his life. Sparing Loghain causes Alistair to leave the player's party in anger and disgust (if Alistair has already agreed to marry Anora and become king, he will remain in Ferelden and be present at the end of the game, but he will not rejoin the player's party for the final battle). If Loghain is spared, he is forced to undergo the Joining and takes Alistair's place as a Grey Warden.

At this point, the player learns that only a Grey Warden can slay the archdemon because of the Taint present in a Grey Warden's body. Killing the archdemon releases the demonic essence within it, which is automatically drawn to the Taint in the Grey Warden who slew it, and effectively kills him or her as well. On the night before the final battle, Morrigan offers the player's Warden a way to slay the archdemon without sacrificing anyone: Morrigan proposes that the player join her in a sexual ritual which would result in her conceiving a child that would also carry the Taint. Once the archdemon dies, its demonic essence would be drawn away from any Grey Warden to safely merge with the unborn child instead. The resulting child would be born a demigod, which she plans to raise on her own. Morrigan admits that this was her true motive for joining the player's campaign all along. At this point the player can commit to the ritual, convince Alistair or Loghain to take part instead, or refuse Morrigan's offer, causing her to leave the party.

The next day, the player and the newly assembled army of Ferelden fight their way through the city of Denerim, which is now overrun by the darkspawn. After a lengthy battle against the archdemon on Ferelden's highest tower, the player is given the chance to deliver the killing blow or to let Alistair/Loghain do it. Either way, the archdemon is slain and the rest of the darkspawn army retreats from Denerim, marking the end of the fifth Blight. Unless the player chose to engage in Morrigan's ritual, whoever slew the archdemon also perishes.

The story ends with a ceremony attended by the people of Ferelden during which the player and his or her companions are honored for saving the kingdom. The game then presents an epilogue in text and pictures which details the ramifications of the player's in-game choices on the future of Ferelden and the lives of his or her companions.

The chief protagonist of Dragon Age: Origins is the player-controlled character, whose biography and combat specialization are customized at the start of the game. While the player can choose his or her avatar's first name, the character is usually referred to as "the Warden" by other characters and the game's narration.

Players also have the opportunity to recruit companion characters who appear throughout the game and volunteer their services. Companions for the game include Alistair, a reluctantly heroic Grey Warden with a sarcastic wit; Morrigan, the sultry but cynical dark mage who has little regard for authority and social mores; Leliana, a member of Ferelden's religious Chantry whose optimistic and virtuous demeanor belies an aptitude for espionage and combat; Sten, a proud but stoic warrior of the militaristic Qunari people; Oghren, a dwarven brute whose love of alcohol is only matched by his penchant for violence and sex; Wynne, an Elder Mage of the Circle, and a maternal figure to the party; Zevran, a rakish elven assassin who is fond of treasures and innuendo; and a loyal Mabari Warhound, which the player can name and use for scouting and combat.

Adding these companions to the Warden's party enables the player to control them during combat and exploration. Through conversation, the player unlocks unique quests and dialog which furthers Dragon Age's lore. A relationship system in the game tracks approval and disapproval between each companion and the player's Warden. The player can gain or lose approval with each companion based on conversation choices and quest-related decisions made throughout the game. A high approval rating improves a companion's morale, resulting in bonuses to combat abilities. A significant approval rating also makes it possible for the Warden to pursue a romantic relationship with certain companions. Conversely, lowering a companion's approval to a significant degree can result in him or her leaving the party or turning on the player.

Other than companion characters, NPCs significant to Origin's plot include Duncan, the Grey Warden who recruits the player; King Cailan, Ferelden's naive leader and son of the legendary King Maric; Queen Anora, Cailan's wife, whose youth and beauty are matched by a commanding personality and political-savvy; Eamon Guerrin, the noble Arl of Redcliffe who lend political support tp the player's Warden; Riordan, a Grey Warden from the neighboring kingdom of Orlais; and Flemeth, Morrigan's mother, who also happens to be an infamous dark witch of Ferelden legend. The game's main antagonists, other than the faceless Darkspawn army, are Teyrn Loghain, respected war hero and father of Queen Anora, and Rendon Howe, the greedy Arl of Amaranthine who allies with Loghain.

The game contains a large amount of voice acting. Actors include Tim Curry, Steve Valentine, Kate Mulgrew, Stephane Cornicard and Claudia Black. A considerable amount of ambient dialogue takes place between the non-player characters in the adventuring party, adding to their background story and lending more depth and credibility to the characters. Conversations involving the main character are complex and varied, and conversation options can have a significant effect on gameplay. Translations and voice-overs were made for several languages other than English. An automatic lip-syncing algorithm was used to provide passable facial animations for all dialogue.

Dragon Age: Origins was first announced during E3 2004 as Dragon Age. On July 10, 2008, the title was changed to Dragon Age: Origins. The PlayStation 3 version of the game was originally delayed. However, BioWare later retracted that statement and announced that, in North America, it would be released on the same day as the other versions.

The Dragon Age Character Creator was released on October 13, 2009, allowing players to create a character in advance and to import it into the full game upon release. BioWare also released a "developer-grade" toolset to allow extensive modification and customization of the game. This is only available for the PC version of the game due to technical limitations.

The retail PC version of Dragon Age: Origins does not use the SecuROM copy protection software used by other EA games, opting instead for a standard disc check.

The developers have cited "realistic" fantasy fiction such as George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and fantasy paintings by artists such as Frank Frazetta as inspiration for the game. The soundtrack for the video game contains the song "This Is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars,[45] while the original score itself was composed by Inon Zur. In the development of the lighting of the game BioWare used Turtle, a rendering and baking plugin for Autodesk Maya used for lighting and content creation, made by Illuminate Labs.

BioWare has stated that the game runs "very well" on Windows 7, and a Mac OS X version of the game was released on December 21, 2009, as a download, using TransGaming's Cider Portability Engine.

Three retail editions of Dragon Age: Origins were made available for purchase.

The "Regular" edition of the game was made available for purchase across all platforms through retailers such as Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, and Best Buy. Windows users could also obtain the Regular version through download services such as Steam and Direct2Drive. The standard version of the game includes a one-use redemption code to download the Stone Prisoner and Blood Dragon Armor DLC for free.

The "Collectors' Edition" was released for Windows, Mac, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, but only in boxed retail form and not through download. This version comes in a steelbook, having different artwork from the regular edition. Like the regular edition, the Collector's Edition includes a redemption code to obtain the Stone Prisoner and Blood Dragon Armor DLC for free, but adds three exclusive in-game items, a bonus disc containing a making-of documentary, concept art, trailers, the game's original soundtrack, and a cloth map of Ferelden.

The "Digital Deluxe" version of the game is available for download on Windows and Mac operating systems. The Digital Deluxe edition includes the game's original soundtrack and desktop wallpapers in digital form, as well as all the free DLC content of the Collectors' Edition (not in the UK version), plus a code to download the Warden's Keep DLC for free.

Dragon Age: Origins received significant praise from many major videogame and media outlets upon its release

While the game is considered to be virtually identical across all platforms, minor differences in user interface, graphical performance, and digital content delivery have led the PC version to be reviewed slightly more favorably than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions; Metacritic ranks the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game with scores of 91, 87, and 86, respectively.

Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot reviewed the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions separately. The PC version was given a score of 9.5 out of 10, plus an 'Editor's Choice' award. The game was described as "that kind of game, so rich and involving that you are powerless to resist its wiles and whims, so touching and triumphant that your mind and heart will be moved... Few games are this ambitious, and even fewer can mold these ambitions into such a complete and entertaining experience. You might spend 50 or more hours on your first play-though, but there are so many paths to follow, so many details to uncover, and so many ways to customize your party that you'll want to play again as soon as you finish the first time."

When comparing the console versions, the PlayStation 3 "features higher-quality textures than those on the Xbox 360, better color saturation, smoother facial animations, and shorter load times," although "minor visual hiccups, like corpses that disappear and reappear, are a bit more common on the PS3. The Playstation 3 version was given a 9.0/10 while the Xbox 360 version was given an 8.5/10. "

Giant Bomb writer David Snider also reviewed all three versions of Dragon Age: Origins together and gave an overall rating of five stars out of five. The review favorably described the game as "a real throwback to the good old days of PC role-playing epics... While that means you could rightfully fault the game for not being especially innovative, it's this adherence to a classic style of gameplay that will ensure that it's welcomed by the legions of nostalgic RPG players that make up this genre's core audience." Snider did remark that the game might be daunting or inaccessible to casual players due to the amount of in-game micromanaging that is required, especially on consoles, which he considered to have a more cumbersome interface.

IGN's Jeff Haynes gave the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins a score of 90 out of 100 and characterized it as "one of those titles that can easily swallow up dozens of hours of play and keep you coming back for more... a game with a ton of re-playability and an incredibly vivid world that is the start of an impressive franchise." While the review was mostly glowing, Haynes did note grievances, namely that the combat difficulty was scaled awkwardly, the graphics sometimes appeared dated, and the plot was repetitive of Bioware's other games.

1UP.com editor, Jason Wilson, gave the PC version of the game an 'A' rating, and surmised that "while the story may not be completely original, it's told in a way that enthralls and enchants the player. It's the best RPG of the year -- and maybe the best of the HD era." Wilson briefly compared the PC release to the PlayStation 3 release, and said that combat on the console controller was comparably "hamstrung" and felt "stripped down".

GamePro editor Will Herring awarded Dragon Age: Origins 5 out of 5 stars, writing that it was "a spectacular experience from beginning to end, and with an enormous amount of choices to make, cities to visit, dungeons to crawl, NPCs to interact with, treasure to find, quests to complete and crafts to master. I feel pretty confident in saying that Dragon Age: Origins is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable and immersive RPG experiences I've had since my Infinity Engine days." Herring also noted differences between the PC and console releases, but considered them to be minor.

The New York Times writer Seth Schiesel wrote a positive review of the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins, favorably comparing its scope to another popular RPG, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; but he added that Dragon Age: Origins provided a more engaging experience.

PC Gamer UK, which awarded Dragon Age: Origins a 94%, declared it the "RPG of the decade".

Official Xbox Magazine rated the Xbox 360 version of Dragon Age: Origins with a score of 9.0, listing the combat interface as a plus, while criticizing the amount of story choices available to the player as being potentially overwhelming.

Michael Lafferty of GameZone rated Dragon Age: Origins at 9.9/10 for the PC, stating, "The development team has done a sterling job of creating emotional content within the game’s atmosphere." The 360 version, on the other hand, received a 9.0/10.