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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4

Dragon Age: Origins
May 5, 2010 | Ted Bade

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Mac OS X: 10.6.2 | CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor | RAM: 2 GB | Hard Disk: 17 GB | Graphics: ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300

Dragon Age: Origins has arrived for the Macintosh. The game comes to the platform courtesy of TransGaming's Cider emulation software and is available in both Standard and Deluxe editions. BioWare has done an incredible job creating a realistic role playing epic, that includes great graphics, an interesting storyline, and which brings to life a world rich in the details one expects from a good fantasy world. If you enjoy role playing games, this one is a must have.

The first thing that struck me about Dragon Age (DA), was its size, it is huge, and takes up almost 17 Gigs on my MacPro’s hard drive. But the great graphics and the abundance of video cut scenes used to present the story line and the great user interface validate this size.

The next thing that struck me was that this game does a very good job of beng a true role playing game. The actions, decisions, and choices your avatar makes change his or her status in this world. I have not given as much thought to an actual avatar role since long ago in the 1980s, when I can recall spending hours discussing the finer points of a lawful good versus a lawful evil character under traditional D&D rules. Although these choices are taken into consideration, the process doesn’t get in the way of playing the game and having fun. In a lot of cases, you simply get an odd look when doing something out of character or lose a bit of credibility with a character.

The avatar creation process is pretty nice, but a little extravagant. The system allows some very detailed avatar image creation tools. the game seems to offer an almost infinite variety of ways to personalize the avatar. If you are not into the personalization thing, you can select a quick set up that generates a random set for you. You probably know the drill, hair color, eye color, hair shape, tattoos, beards, mustache, and a lot lot more!

DA offers different beginning sequences for different avatar types. You can choose from three races, Elves, Dwarfs, and Humans. Each race offers a choice of noble, commoner, or mage. Each race can be either male or female. After you create an avatar and set up the initial stats for them, you begin the first part of the game, which begins your journey. I tried two different avatar schemes, an Elf mage and a Noble Dwarf warrior. I don’t want to give any of the story line away, but I can say that it is quite different for each choice. I was impressed with this approach to the game, since it adds a level of realism to the game and makes it a better RPG. The beginning levels can take a bit of time to play through. It gives you ample opportunity to learn the interface, and how to best use the various tools the game provides.

I should inject here that Dragon Age:Origins is a darker fantasy. Many games have a more happy aspect to them, the hero is aided by some greater power and with noble intent, goes forth to battle evil, etc, etc. In this game, noble intent or not, things tend to go wrong and your avatar soon finds herself cast out and left with only one option, to join the Grey Wardens, an elite group battling the evils of this world.


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