Nerd Journal – Replaying Dragon Age: Origins

I’m not usually a big RPG fan. The Mass Effect series is usually the closest thing I play to an RPG. My attempts at playing Pokémon ended less than two hours in and I couldn’t stand Final Fantasy 13 when I tried it. Then again, I’ve heard that Final Fantasy 13 was bad anyway. Dragon Age is the only RPG I’ve actually finished and it’s the only one I’ve started more than once. Recently, I replayed Dragon Age: Origins. There will be a lot of content in here that you probably won’t understand if you haven’t played the game yourself.

I found a new copy of the Game of the Year edition for the Xbox in a bargain bin for $10. Having enjoyed the game a year ago on the PS3, I figured it could be worth it. After all, there were a few things I wanted to do differently, like make Alistair the king rather than sending him to his death. So I bought it, alongside Dragon Age 2 (also in the bargain bin for $10). I started playing it the day after I finished college classes. I can assure you through experience that the Xbox version is better. Sometimes the PS3 version would seem to freeze for nearly a minute just as a fight began; the Xbox version never had that problem. The Xbox also had a more consistent frame rate with bigger fights. Otherwise, it’s the exact same game.

(the best character in both games)

At the time that I started, I was going through X-23 withdrawal. Her series had been cancelled in March and while she was moved into Avengers Academy, she didn’t even appear in the April issues. Because of this, I based my Dragon Age character on Wolverine’s female clone. This is her story.

Laura had just settled into her new life in this alternate dimension. She was somehow sucked out of her world and into Fereldon. Not only that, but she had somehow lost her claws and healing abilities, yet none of her combat skills. One strange thing about this new land is that she could no longer talk with her voice – instead words popped out in front of her. This didn’t seem to bother anyone though. The Couslands family had accepted her as their own; perhaps they were even convinced she was their own. However Arl Howl changed that by attacking the Couslands and killing her adoptive parents.

After that, she joined the Grey Wardens and survived the joining process – perhaps her healing factor was still working after all. As a grey warden, she saved Fereldon from the Darkspawn threat, convinced Alistair to claim the throne with queen Anora and fell in love with a fellow ex-assassin, Zevren.

As someone who was sorely missing her quick healing, she first travelled to the chantry to see if she could find a mage skilled in healing. While she did find that, she had to kill a couple demons and a blood mage in the process. Not only did she get her healer, but she also gained a large group of powerful mages for her army.

(Mages are hardcore)

She then headed to the elves, where she sided with the Werewolves since all of the current werewolves were born into their curse. As someone who was bread specifically for a purpose she didn’t want to fulfill, she understood them and had their curse broken.

Next up, Redcliff, where she not only saved the town from the evil within the castle, but saved the boy using mages from the Chantry. Before long, she also returned with the ashes of Andraste to heal the Arl of Redcliff. The blood mage was spared since Laura doesn’t really care about mages using blood magic, and because he helped save the boy from the demon within.

(Orzammar is favourite part of the game)

Being a woman of action, Laura chose King Balin to rule Orzammar. Balin proved to be effective against the darkspawn and pushed their underground frontline back– the first successful push in centuries. The cast system was also lightened, and trading with the surface world improved. While he was a brutal king and shut down anyone who tried to stand in his way, his rule improved Orzammar for the better.

While Laura had learned the value of mercy through her solo series, she still had a strong sense of morals. Anyone caught in slavery trading would be executed on the spot – she hates being used after all. Because of this, she also destroyed the anvil used to make Golems as they required living souls. She also beheaded Are Howe herself as her allies were sent after his mages.

In combat, she is a fearless rogue who has mastered the art of assassination and dueling. While she doesn’t focus on archery much, she is still competent with a crossbow. Perhaps her greatest strength however, is her uncompromising nature. She refuses to make deals with criminal scum and evil people, unless they obviously want to seek redemption – like Logain. After all, she’s seeking redemption herself.

She has grown to enjoy Fereldon. No prejudice from the heroes of the Marvel Universe, instead she is respected as a living legend. A warrior who killed two adult dragons and an entire army of darkspawn. While she misses her home world, she’s not even looking for a way back. Her story isn’t over yet.

(Meh, it’s just a dragon)

The archdemon wasn’t as tough of a fight for her as she had thought. Then again, she’s taken on O.N.E. sentinels, Nimrod sentinels, the nimrod mastermold in a future where mutants were extinct, the immortal Selene after she turned herself into a God and even fought the demon king on her own. The archdemon was just another powerful foe to defeat, and this time Laura had an army with her.

Dragon Age: Origins has a number of things going for it. There are no right or wrong answers with any of the major decisions in the game. Some of your choices may have dark consequences, but the opposite choices often change nothing for the better. The soundtrack is great, although sometimes the combat music can get repetitive. There is lots of strategy involved with the gameplay. The story is simply epic and the ways different companions are woven into the story are equally epic. Who knows, I might eventually play through it again, but I have a number of shooting games to catch up on.

The reason I’ve been able to play through Dragon Age twice when I rarely finish any RPG is the characters. I’m not a huge fan of the gameplay although I didn’t dislike it either. I’m more of an action game fan. For me though, I prefer characters over anything else. I can forgive a lot if the characters are well done. The story of Dragon Age: Origins is great too, but it’s the characters that brought me back.

Hope you enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing it. What kind of characters do you usually use in RPGs?

Next up, “There can be only one.”

About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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