I bought Dragon Age: Origins a year ago and haven’t played it but since I have some free time on my hands (the wife and kids are in Japan) I decided to give it a go. Dragon Age: Origins was released in 2009 by Bioware and is an RPG in the fantasy genre. At first this might seem kind of boring since there are so many games of this type, but Dragon Age is one fantastic game! The story is interesting, the voice acting is superb, and the cinematic graphics are pretty cool. These three factors really got me into the game and the world that it was set in. I played through the game as an elf rogue, focused on archery and it was great fun! What was really neat was scouting ahead of the party in stealth mode deactivating traps and getting off that first bowshot.
I finished the game (what a great ending) and soon found the sequel, Dragon Age 2 at the store for only $5. I had heard that it wasn’t that great a game but figured I’d give it a try since the price was so good. In fact, the girl at the store said it wasn’t as good as the first one, but the other cashier said he liked the sequel more than the original. At any rate, I played Dragon Age 2 and finished it last night. In many ways it was better than the first, but in other ways it was kind of lame.
First the things that were good in both:
- The soundtrack is excellent. Epic in feel, but also really soothing at the right times. I ended up buying the soundtracks at Amazon.
- The epic storylines were indeed epic. Also, the choices you make in the game decide what happens at the conclusion.
- Voice-acting was top-notch and the dialog was hilarious at times.
- Character development was complex and interesting. Each one of your party members had a story to tell, and the combinations of the different characters would lead to some funny dialog.
- Skills were really cool and you could specialize your character in neat ways. In the first one I specialized as an archer, and in the second I was a dual-wielding assassin.
Next, things where Dragon Age: Origins was superior:
- You could choose your race among elf, human, or dwarf. In Dragon Age 2, you were human.
- You had more choice in choosing your party’s equipment. In Dragon Age 2, you could fully customize the main character, but many items were restricted to only the main character. That was frustrating and lame. I know it was meant to streamline things, but it wasn’t so clear. For instance, my character was a rogue, but some vendors were selling mage robes that were restricted only to my character, who couldn’t use it anyways. Why?!
- Overall quests and zones were better utilized. The quests had a more epic feel to them and zones felt unique. In 2, the same zones were used multiple times in quests, with very minor changes, if any. Sometimes in a cavern, part of the zone would be blocked off by a doorway that had what looked like a grey concrete slab in front of it. That was a cheap and tacky way of recycling a zone for a quest. LAME. Also, in 2 most of the quests are within the city of Kirkwall’s zones, and you end up running through them again and again on these really short quests. It felt just like busywork after a while.
Finally, the things that I thought Dragon Age 2 was better at:
- Graphics were great. The colors were a lot brighter and more saturated. The armor looked better, and the models were smoother. Also, the environment was a lot more polished and felt more realistic. You can see how bright the colors are in the first screenshot above, while the second screenshot (which is from Origins) is very drab.
- Fighting animations were really cool. However, the fights were usually over too quickly.
- Voice acting for main character. In the first game, the main character didn’t talk, and after a while just seemed like a mute. But in Dragon Age 2, the main character had a lot more personality and you could get into the roleplay aspect more.
I enjoyed both games, but I might have to say that I liked Dragon Age 2 better. I hope for Dragon Age 3 they combine the best aspects of both, while ditching the annoying things. I’m really looking forward to it!