1 Hour Review: Dragon Age Origins
... what's a sloth demon?
(TL;DR is at the bottom of the review)
During a Humble Bundle sale, I had received several games for Origin, which is EA’s attempt at trying to create Steam, but not exactly having the backing to do so (still decent, just not as polished as Steam is). Several of the games were sequels to games that I have not played the first one yet (Dead Space, Mass Effect), but there was one set of games that came with both the first game, and the second one was well, and that was the Dragon Age series. So I decided with the fact that it was the only game that came with game one and two, that it would be the one that I would start with. This is my One Hour Review. Recaps of my notes, so total time and status in the game will be recapped every so often with an italic font.
So I load into the game and start everything up, and am greeted with a cutscene. Fairly typical for an RPG or an adventure game, so I sit and wait for it to be finished. In my experience with RPG’s and Adventure games, the standard ‘opening’ takes about 60 seconds, plus or minus 15 seconds. So, I sit and watch, and listen to the story that is being told… 60 seconds pass and… we’re still in a cutscene. So I give the extra 30 seconds… and still cutscene. Little bit on the annoying side, but hey, I figure after this much back story, that at the very least, things would start almost immediately after that. 2:52 in, and we get to a fade to black… perhaps the start of the playing?
Nope! Character creator. Here I thought that should have gone at the beginning of the game before everything is said and done, but I wasn’t on the development team, so meh.
Total time: 2 minutes, 52 seconds. Status in the game: Character Creator, gameplay has not begun
So, quickly I create my character, Human Mage dude, and then I quickly scroll through the skill tree and make sure that everything is workable, and then… another cutscene. Okay then, this is probably just establishing your place in the storyline and you’ll be in the game in no time…
Boy, was I wrong.
Total time: 8 minutes, 50 seconds. Status in the game: Gameplay just beginning.
So the game begins. Finally. I start to slog through the beginning quests and everything, which means that I am in “The Fade”. Honestly, it’s been a while since I have played that, so my mind is a total haze to it, but I believe that “The Fade” has something to do with the connection to magic that mages in the real world have, and if that connection is severed for whatever reason, you lose your magical abilities?
So I go through the game and fight a few of the smaller monsters and start to level up some, and I do this for a while. Pretty standard for an RPG, grinding to get to a higher level so that you have better abilities. I slog through about 20 minutes of this, and then, a somewhat interesting part appears. During your time in The Fade, you run into what’s known as the ‘sloth demon’. Looks like a bear got stuck with about 30 porcupines, but hey. Now, he gives you a lot of valuable information and then says that he will assist you with even stronger spells in The Fade if you answer his three riddles. Now, this, of course, had me interested, and genuinely think about the answers, because, as he put it, if I failed, he’d kill me. Pretty easy thing, right?
Total time: 28 minutes. Status in the game: Still wandering in the starter area, interesting part with Sloth Demon.
And then, after that, I managed to fight the boss that ‘all magi are supposed to battle’, because if you fight him and lose, then they slay your body and you are caught in The Fade, because if you lose, then demons can inhabit your body. Immediately afterward, however, there’s a bit of foreshadowing with the other magi that had been ‘stuck here for centuries’, as he wasn’t actually the person you had thought he was, and instead, was actually a larger demon that was meant to try and get you killed.
Total time into game: 30 minutes. Status in the game: Defeated “boss” demon, foreshadowing with the larger demon.
So I go back into the real world and start my quests inside the Tower of Magi. (Sounds like a bad wizard themed resort) I get a few smaller side quests, but to continue on into my quest, it took me about 8 minutes of wandering around and talking to people to continue with the storyline. Keep in mind that I typically only have a week to review these games, so that’s why I do the hour long reviews. If I find that the game is just taking way too long to get to important bits, or to really get interesting, then after an hour, if my general reaction to it is ‘meh’, then I probably wouldn’t play it again.
Finally, my quest continues, and I begin to wander around the Tower (still not allowed out yet, seeming more like if Guantanamo Bay had a ‘theme day’) and get a few quests that I should ‘help with’ as I go along. At about 54 minutes in, during one of the smaller, what I’m assuming not useful, quests, I have to wander and find a way to get a ‘Rod of Fire’, and I do. But, in order for the person who wants to sign my papers to get my paper signed, I have to go into the ‘stocks’, read as the caves that they store everything in, and clear it of spiders. Flashback to World of Warcraft, because those quests seem to be rather plentiful there.
Total time: 54 minutes. Status in game: No deaths, sent on mindless ‘clear’ quest to continue the storyline.
TL;DR: from what I have played of DA:O, I would probably still play it again for another hour to see if maybe the storyline takes off a little bit further than “You're in a tower, this is your life now”. But based off of my initial reaction to the game, and the first hour that I had played it, I would give it a 3 out of 4. Interesting, and I would keep playing it for an hour, but not the type of game that really struck my attention and made me go ‘Wow! This is amazing. Goodbye, personal hygiene and social life!’
Maybe one of these days I will find that type of a game, but for now, I’ll have to keep searching.