In this game, the player is a Grey Warden, dedicated to fighting the darkspawn threat (this game’s looming evil side. However, the country is in chaos, and the player needs to amass a unified force, all the while making decisions that will affect the future of pretty much everyone (s)he encounters. First, the player needs to choose the origin of protagonist (there are six different available origins). Depending on the chosen background, the character will have very different experiences leading up to his/her recruitment into the Grey Wardens. At that point, the main storyline kicks in. Then there’s a whole world to explore, hard decisions to make, and generally plenty to do.
Usually, I only have time to play video games over winter break, and therefore don’t get to play too many. So I got this game somewhere around Christmas, played it over winter break, then intermittently went back to it since (when I didn’t have tests or presentations). By now, I’ve done about two play throughs, and all six origin stories.
I really do like the way the storytelling is handled in this game–the choices the player is forced to make aren’t necessarily clean cut, and I tend to be happy when moral ambiguity is thrown in. The world is complicated, and the game represents a variety of believable viewpoints. Furthermore, the player gets to choose to be good/bad, ruthless/merciful, selfless/selfish, and so on (well, I guess it is an RPG). The player can choose what prejudices their character has, and can influence the character’s relationship with other characters.
And it’s so much fun to play through a second time with a different type of character, and see how differently some NPCs react to you, depending on who (and what) you are. There are subtle differences that I feel are really engaging.
I really like how all the supporting characters react to the players decisions differently, based on their own personalities. I mean, sometimes it’s frustrating when I want them to have a good approval rating, but story wise, it’s very interesting. I also enjoy how the supporting characters will have dialogues while you’re walking around. Often, it’ll be funny–many of them don’t get along that well, given how different they all are. Sometimes, it might even be a little telling.
I absolutely love that there are six origins, each of which put the character through very different scenarios. And even better, you meet the NPCs from one origin in all of the other play throughs, but in a different context and with different information available to you. The full picture doesn’t necessarily become clear unless you’ve played through certain origin stories. You may not even know right away that a character you meet is important to the protagonist of another origin story. And there’s something really poignant about meeting your friends from another origin story in a play through, and seeing what’s become of them. Though not necessarily good poignant. There’s also the poignancy of coming back to the place your current character originated from, and seeing your surviving family (if applicable).
There’s a lot more to say about the game, both story wise and gameplay wise, but I’ve touched on the things that stood out most to me. I’d recommend this, definitely. Maybe next winter I can play the second Dragon Age game.
If anyone’s wondering about different details than the one’s I’m providing, here’s an old IGN review, complete with some graphics from the game to give an idea of what it looks like: