Dragon Age: Origins
Just over nine years from the day BioWare released Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn for PC, the company struck gold again with the multi-platform release of Dragon Age: Origins. This spiritual sequel to Baldur's Gate marked the company's first time blending its console prowess with a PC RPG. While clearly designed for a PC release, having Dragon Age available on consoles as well did open up the world to a wider selection of RPGamers.
But what makes Dragon Age so impressive? The answer is simple: choice. Lots of RPGs offer choices, but Dragon Age really took things a step further by applying the consequences of these decisions to all aspects of the game. Who will live and who will die? Other RPGs have offered this choice, but most tend to end there. In Origins, make a wrong choice and your party members might turn on you. The decisions forced upon you are not clear black and white, but lots of shades of gray, and this more than anything is what sets Dragon Age: Origins apart. Taking up the mantle of a user-created character, players actually play a role and that requires them to make the character their own and live with the choices.
The Baldur's Gate series did much of what Dragon Age touts, but the games just didn't reach as wide of an audience as this. Regardless of the game being designed with more of a PC focus, BioWare's jump into bringing this experience to a console crowd really helped push it over the edge. BioWare is putting a lot of backing into this, as there are already two novels available to help fill in more details about the world plus an expansion on the way. Dragon Age is what role-playing is all about. Forget the excess bloodshed; making choices, customizing a character, and saving the world is what makes this game feel so good.
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