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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4


Dragon Age: Origins
May 5, 2010 | Ted Bade
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A little needs to be said about the theme of this world. In this fantasy world, set with a medieval theme, the lands of Ferelden are being attacked once again by an evil known as the Darkspawn. The various races of the world are doing their best to fight, although not always with the Darkspawn. This is not the first time the Darkspawn have accosted the world. In a previous time, a special class was formed called the Grey Wardens, who were trained with special abilities to fight the Darkspawn. After several episodes, which lead to an initiation into the Grey Wardens, your avatar enters their ranks and the battles against the Darkspawn begin.

Movement in DA is basic overhead view, although you can easily change the camera angle from directly overhead to slightly behind and above the rear of the party you are in control of. A keen eyed player can take advantage of the rear camera angle to catch signs of distant enemies and objectives.

Generally, when questing, your avatar is joined by other characters. Although your avatar is the ďleaderĒ of the party, you can position characters in whatever order makes the most sense to your style of playing. Obviously, a Mage is better staying in the rear of a group, while a heavily armored warrior is best at the front. When you move the party, you select one character to actually control and the others follow or stay put. For instance, you can have the party halt, while the rogue, with his hiding abilities on, scouts ahead. Or simply have everyone follow the leader.

As you explore the area you are in, details of your map are filled in. Quest related characters or places are shown on the map. Normally, quest related details donít show on the map until you search the area, although there is an option to turn on quest information in areas you havenít searched. (Making it easier to locate objectives.) But as with many games of this genre, a portion of the fun is simply exploring the game space.

As with most RPGs you end up collecting lots of stuff as you play. In DA the inventory screen is common to all members of the current group. From the inventory screen, you can move to any member of the current party and have them equip any item or link to items such as healing and mana potions. When you sell stuff the money stays in a common pocket (for use when buying things). When inspecting items in the inventory (or buying items from a vendor), you need to first select the member that could use the item so the system can correctly compare the item to the memberís abilities and currently equipped items.

DA has a standard sell model. Most of the stuff you find isnít of much use, although sometimes you find something that adds to your characterís profile. (I have never understood how armor and equipment is so universally usable. Hey, I just took this armor from an human and, wow it fits my Dwarf!). But itís a fantasy game and this is pretty much the standard. But if you canít use an item, you can always sell it and hope some vendor has something better.



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