Dragon Age is, in many ways, a spiritual successor to Bioware’s classic, Baldur’s Gate. A world of swords and sorcery awaits you, so let’s get to it!
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins is without a doubt, one of the best RPGs to grace us in recent times. It was called the RPG of the decade for a reason. Like with any RPG, you had plenty of choices to make. Choices you made in Origins felt impactful, even the smallest decisions you made early in the game could have an impact later in the game. It was a game that made you think twice before making any decisions. Most of all, it was game that made you connect with its characters. It’s not often that you find yourself thinking about characters in a game when you aren’t actually playing the game at the time.
Dragon Age: Origins gives a lot of importance to the origin story, hence the name. When creating a character, one could choose between Elf, Human and Dwarf. Your choice of race greatly impacts how the rest of the world interacts with you. You could be a human noble of high class, whom the common folk bow down to. Or a lowly servant elf, or a ‘knife-ear’, as they’re called by their human overlords. Or perhaps you’d rather be one of the dwarvish casteless, who belong nowhere and are regarded as lower than filth by their own kind. There’s a lot of choices to make right off the bat, including your class of choice and your stat distribution. You could choose between being a warrior, a rogue, or a mage, talk about RPG tropes. In Dragon Age’s defence though, they do the classes really well.
The character you create goes on to become a Grey Warden, and each race, and in some cases, class, has its own unique origin story. The game takes place in the country of Ferelden, one of the many countries in the continent of Thedas. There’s a Blight coming. Basically, it’s a zombie invasion of sorts. Darkspawn (the zombies) usually stay to themselves underground in the deep roads. They’re a dwarvish problem till a Blight happens. Dayum, poor dwarves. A Blight occurs when an archdemon (a super dragon zombie, if you will) awakens, and the Darkspawn and forced to follow its will. Which is obviously world domination. So they pour out onto the surface. This is where you, as a Grey Warden come in. Do you overcome all odds and manage to quell the Blight? Or do you succumb to the Darkspawn horde?
|Did you know?
Bioware weren’t expecting Dragon Age to do so well and a sequel wasn’t planned.
Dragon Age used the pause and play gameplay style, where you could pause combat at any time and issue orders to your party, which they would execute the moment you resumed. This allowed for a vast number of ways to approach combat, depending on your class and your prefered style of play. All these factors, including the gameplay, the character creation and origin story, the lore, the story, the characters, and the overall variability gave Dragon Age: Origins huge replayability value.
Dragon Age II
The sequel to Dragon Age: Origins came just two years after the first game. Many consider Dragon Age II to be a rushed game and think it could definitely have been much better. While a good game on its own, Dragon Age II did not do as well as Origins. Dragon Age II still maintains the pause and play gameplay from Origins, but combat for the most part has been revamped. The focus seemingly lies more on the action than the RPG elements. Furthermore, while Origins had you travelling all around Ferelden, Dragon Age II mostly takes place within the walls of a single city – Kirkwall – for the most part. Most levels are simply rehashed versions of the same place, so it’s a lot of you running through the same maps over and over again. Another thing different in Dragon Age II which the fans did not appreciate was the fact that you were character locked. You could only play as a male or female human named Hawke.
|Did you know?
The Hawke shown in the Destiny trailer for Dragon Age II, was confirmed to be a blood mage by Bioware. A class that’s traditionally affiliated to evil characters.
Dragon Age II starts in a small village in Ferelden called Lothering, where you’re introduced to your character and some of your companions. Hawke and his/her family are fleeing from the Blight. Yes, the same Blight the Grey Warden attempts to stop in Origins. Once you’re done with the intro the setting moves to Kirkwall, which is where most of the game takes place. Your decision in Origins carry over to Dragon Age II, and you will notice the impact your decisions from the first game have in the world. The core story of Dragon Age II revolves around Hawke and his journey from simply a refugee to the Champion of Kirkwall, and how he goes about handling the rift between the Templars and Mages of Kirkwall.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Bioware clearly worked on some of things people criticised from Dragon Age II. The first thing you’ll notice is that Inquisition is HUGE. There’s a lot of ground to cover; the game takes place across two countries – Ferelden and Orlais. They also brought back the feature to let you make your own character. In fact, they even added another playable race – The Qunari. In terms of gameplay, it still resembled more action-oriented combat like in Dragon Age II than compared to Origins. New abilities, new subclasses, new companions, it was all pretty fancy.
The events of Inquisition are closely tied to Origins and II. You’ll be seeing a lot of familiar characters and the decisions you made in previous games coming back to haunt or help you. There’s a lot going on, the sky has been torn asunder and demons now swarm the land of men. It’s up to you, the Inquisitor, to restore what was torn asunder and save Thedas from the demon invasion.
|Did you know?
Dragon Age: Inquisition was banned in India for having homosexual content.
During your playthrough in any game from the franchise, you will definitely come across at least one member of four races – Human, Elf, Dwarf and Qunari.
Humans are the most numerous. They’re also the most divided. They only ever unite to combat a single enemy. Which usually happens during Blights. Nothing like the end of the world to bring people together, right?
Elves were once an immortal race but eventually lost their immortality after coming in contact with Humans. Elves were treated mostly as slaves after being defeated and dominated by the Tevinter Imperium – the largest human empire to have ever existed. Now they exists in two groups, the wandering Dalish elves who still try to live by the old ways, and the City Elves, who live as second-class citizens in human cities and are looked down upon by humans.
Dwarvish society is very different from that of Humans and Elves. First off, due to natural immunity to ‘Lirium’, a kind of substance that fuels magic, Dwarfs cannot be mages. They do not worship any Gods, but worship their ancestors instead.
Dwarven society is divided into castes, with the Royal family with ultimate power at the top, and the casteless, and criminals at the bottom, regarded as lower than filth.
The Qunari are huge. They’re very rigid in their views of life. They don’t agree with the views of any of the other races of Thedas and want to indoctrinate them into their way of life, which they believe is the ideal way to live. The Qunari isn’t actually the name of the species, it’s the name given to followers of The Qun, which is the religion they follow. Good old RPG stuff.
The world of Dragon Age is one that is thick with lore, and we mean a LOT of lore. We know what you’re thinking. There’s a lot of games out there with heaps of lore. You’re right, there are. What makes Dragon Age stand out though, is the fact that you’ll find yourself actually vested in the lore of the game. You’ll spend hours on end simply reading codex entries and learning more about the world of Thedas. You’re concerned about this world and what happens to it and its people. The endearing characters, the amazing story telling, all of these combined make Dragon Age a gold standard for fantasy RPGs. Not many games can accomplish this as well as Dragon Age does. If you’re a fan of fantasy RPGs, then the Dragon Age franchise is a must-play. That is, if you haven’t already played it. Several times over.