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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4

Dragon Age: Origins
May 5, 2010 | Ted Bade

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Dragon Age is filled with video cut scenes that show the interaction of your Avatar and party with various game NPCs, as well as other important world events. These cut scenes are like watching a good animation. Once you enter into a zone where one occurs, the game takes over and the interaction begins. Many of these scenes require the player to choose a response (from a set list, provided during the scene), for your avatar. Based on the response, the conversation continues. Try to stay in your role or you might get a dirty look!

The cool thing about the interactions is that your avatar appears in them, looking like you created him or her. But the representation isnít perfect. I note that headpieces worn by the avatar donít show during these conversations, yet, during one conversation, a magical fire effect cast on an opponent that surrendered to parley, continued through the conversation. Perhaps the game developers follow that old custom of removing oneís hat whilst conversing in public.Ö Nevertheless, these cut scenes are very well done and a lot of fun.

The cut scenes are numerous and provide a lot of the story line as well as hints about what you need to do. They also introduce new characters and give you an opportunity to role play. Your avatarís interactions with the world become an important aspect to the story and game play. It is not just go out and hack and slash to increase your level. Quests have a real purpose and succeeding with them requires information as well as prowess with a weapon. As in real life, speaking with the right people help you gain access to information needed to succeed. If one searches, there are a lot of NPCs wandering that can provide useful information. This is especially true in villages.

Your avatar can also learn to do additional skills such as herbalism, poison making, and trap making. Materials used for these tasks are found during questing. Some items you can make can be quite useful, such as healing potions or adding poisons to your equipment. I even found some quests where you were asked to provide some of these made items for a reward. I didnít spend a lot of time on these items but I am sure those interested in crafting will find the process rewarding.

Graphics in Dragon Age are remarkable. The cut scenes are the best, but even when your party is running along the countryside the imagery is really good. Granted it is all animation quality, but it is well done and quite pleasing to the eye. If you are into blood and gore, there is a ďpersistant goreĒ setting button to click on. After battles, your party memberís armor will be splattered with various signs of battle. I give a top rating to the graphics of this game. Consequently, I expect that a rather more powerful graphics card is necessary to enjoy all aspects of the visuals.


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