Video Games: Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening (2010)

Ok. This pc/console game came out two years ago and was an expansion pack, but I feel that it’s a very noteworthy game. Now I’m not an MMORPG player. I like to marathon video games sometimes…but I don’t like to become delusional and obsessed like lots of ‘World of Warcraft’ users. And I say ‘users’ because video games ARE a drug. I have a PS3 console and I dig mostly action games and rpg games. That being said, I’m sure that some things I liked in this game aren’t entirely new because I don’t play every video game, and I’m sure these elements exist in MMORPG’s….but they were new to me in this console game.

Dragon Age: Origins was awesome, so I bought the expansion. Now, what is most impressive about this game is the expanded choices you are given and the opportunity to ‘create’ in a sense, your own castle as lord of your manor. It was just really cool to step in and be greeted by lords and ladies who were vying for your assistance and approval. Do you help the rich by protecting the city first? Do you help the common farmers outside of the city? Or do you spread your guards thin and try to protect them both? Also, the options given on whether to re-inforce the castle walls with just regular stone, or to save up and get the good stuff were cool too. As well as the judicial hearing in the castle where you decide the fate of a nobleman who committed a murder.

All good stuff. Very cool to incorporate that into an action/role-playing game. I only played through twice, so I’m not entirely sure if those choices had any real bearing on the eventual outcome of the game…but nonetheless it was fun. I’m sure the legions of game designers and big game companies have been cooking up new ways to incorporate this style into their upcoming games; more in-depth and with greater options, and that is great.

Bottom line is. Video games have advanced alot since when I was a kid playing nintendo. Game junkies play because they want to have fun. And people who like rpg’s play because they want to ‘control’ their world. Psychologically it’s a human necessity to want to have control, just look at any world leader or dictator to realize that. So, giving a casual gamer an ability to get their action fix, while at the same time letting them build/rule their own castle/manor is a pretty great and effective recipe for success in my opinion. Casual gamers don’t want to invest 2,000 hours into an MMORPG and become a fat, socially inept, dork who has no friends. BUT, a casual gamer still has the same desires and will gladly invest 20,40 or 60 hours into an amazing action/rpg. Just look at the success of games like Oblivion or Mass Effect to see that. Unfortunately really unique, well crafted and fun games are few and far between, which is why I only play 1-3 games a year. But, when it’s done well….it’s priceless. So, console game designers, if you’re reading this…..use this recipe. It works. Action. Good gameplay. Choices. Control. Ability to lead your followers & group. Ability to manage a town/city, whether you build it or not.

M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 8 out of 10

Good game. Fun gameplay. A little repetitive. But cool new choices and options make you feel like you’re really making a difference in game and protecting your city. Of course, if you’re gonna play it…be sure to play the original first because you can carry your character into this one.

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