Dragon Age: Origins is what might happen if the Lord of the Rings decided to stop pussy-footing around with hobbit and human-hobbit homoerotism (pardon the pun) and its inherent lack of medieval gore. The game is a deeply involving RPG that just happens to allow characters to have sex with one another.
The plot of Dragon Age: Origins might as well have been culled from Tolkien’s waste basket. (Not that this is a bad thing!) Invading forces of inhuman monsters threaten the peace of the land. Feuding races can’t get their act together because their too busy scheming, backstabbing and betraying one another. Lone hero, joined by a colourful cast of characters, must save the world from doom, destruction and ruination.
If the above description garnered a yawn from you, note that there is some deviation from formula.
In a novel twist, Elves, usually the noblest and haughtiest race of the fantasy set, are the oppressed class in this tale. Living in slums or in the wild, they represent the repressed underclass and the racism and bigotry that is a part of their plight is reflected in their stories. Have no fear, however, as other stock fantasy stereotypes abound. Dwarves are still short and Humans are still primarily jerks. Equal care has gone into much of the character creation process. Who your hero is can vary, dramatically. With 4 races, 5 classes, and a customized introduction story for each that can last up to 8 hours, Bioware, the company that created the game, did not skimp on content.
Who joins the protagonist’s colourful cast is strictly in the hands of the player. Bioware’s tried and true conversation system is in full effect here, allowing conversations with characters to determine how they will interact and, ultimately, whether they stay with you. Choose to get cheeky with your fellow Grey Warden Alistair? He’ll probably deny you access to learning his cool templar skill set and walk off with a prized pieced of armor you spent hours trying to get. Lavish attention and gifts on Morrigan, your chesty, acerbic mage? She’ll grant you the ability to turn into a spider – as well as grant you access to her bed chamber, resulting in a soft core sex scene set to an enya-esque score.
Worth noting, however, is that not every character is seducible. Female warriors, for example, will have a tough time getting into Morrigan’s uptight robes or Oghren’s tiny (and hairy) dwarven britches. Zevran, perhaps due to his repressed, downtrodden elvish nature, is an absolute whore.
When your characters are vertical you’ll likely be killing things. Messily. Those with weak stomach may wish to avert their eyes as Dragon Age: Origins is one of the bloodiest games in recorded history. Your grizzly victories stain your characters red with bloody splatter, leaving dialogue scenes a bit disconcerting as you contemplate the availability of a refreshing medieval shower.
Combat is pretty standard. Run up on the enemy, hack at them or cast spells until either you or they are dead, take their gold and specialty items and move on. Slaughter, loot, repeat. The game is quite traditional in this sense, with little deviation from the tried and true RPG formula.
While the plot will be familiar to anyone who read, watched or heard about a Lord of the Rings book or film, and although the game play breaks no new ground for RPG’s as a whole, the story is truly dense, often surprisingly creative and enjoyable enough to warrant a purchase.
Also, this is the only game out there to offer man on elf sex. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.