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Community Discussion: Blog by Fort Cancer | My Dragon Age: Origins Playthrough, Part 1: The HarrowingDestructoid
My Dragon Age: Origins Playthrough, Part 1: The Harrowing - Destructoid

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Because I found the Dragon Age 2 demo so enjoyable, I have decided to gives its prequel, Dragon Age: Origins, a spin. I have been somewhat interested in the game since its release, but the only time I had ever seen anyone play it (on Xbox 360) gave me some doubts because it looked uninteresting and the combat somewhat abstract. However, I compared this game to similar ones like [bi]Baldur's Gate[/i] and Planescape: Torment, thinking they are games that are fun to play, but a bore to watch, also. Since I have concluded my initial impressions were construed, I rented the game from the local library (for free) and will be evaluating my playthrough with the thoughts I have while going through the game, along with my reactions after completing a part of the game.

The first part of the game, as is common in most modern and traditional RPGs, consists of crafting your character from a number of possible choices. You can pick your sex, which has some effect on the game. I chose male, maybe because I am a male, or something, I don't know. I usually choose being a male first in the game probably because I am one, but there may be more subconscious stuff to it than that. Next, I chose Elf as my race because I knew I wanted to be a mage and the race benefits or great for being as such. Disappointingly, dwarves cannot be mages, otherwise I would have chosen to be one of them. Next, you allocate some attribute points. I see very little reason to put points in Strength as of now, but I did put two points towards Magic, one towards Cunning, and one towards Willpower. You also get to open up a talent, wherein I unlocked a healing spell because I forsee having to buffer allies. I got to name my character, and I chose the name Bones, for laughs. The only major thing I did to his appearance was make him balding and his nose large. I have a somewhat large nose and think I will go bald soon (though i haven't started).



As soon as I was done with character creation, the story starts, with Bones in a Magi Tower talking to 'Circle' mages about entering The Fade. Apparently going through The Fade, which is some sort of dream world, will determine if I am fit to become a full-fledged mage. Bones is talking to the guy on the right in the picture above, who calls Bones young, which I found funny since Bones is bald and doesn't look much young. I enter The Fade by touching a pile of glowing stuff, known as lyrium, and I enter the dream world. here, I encounter my first enemies of the game. DA:O gives good direction on how to combat them, which at this point consists mostly of throwing fire balls at them, because it is the only spell I know. One does this by using one of the shortcuts to spells, in this case, pressing X. Apparently A also has a default spell attached to it, but when I was pressing A, nothing was happening, but I found it easy to kill most of the enemies in two presses of X, so it didn't matter yet.

After defeating a number of enemies, Bones encounters a little mouse who can talk. It is in fact a mage who went into The Fade just as I , but he failed doing so; now he is stuck, forgotten his real name, and cannot escape. I let him come on my journey with me because he says he will help, and he seems to know a lot of stuff I don't know, so I might need him later. After defeating a few more enemies, Bones and Mouse encounter the Spirit of Valor. Valor tells me about the journey that lies ahead, and that if I am sufficiently strong, he will give me a stave I can use against the powerful enemies ahead that would otherwise kill me. I have to duel Valor to show him my worth, but it pays off and I handedly defeat him, getting the stave. Oddly, I don't know how to use the stave, if it involves pressing A or not, because I think I missed a button prompt.



Bones and Mouse continue down the path where they meet a Sloth Demon. Luckily, it seems the Sloth Demon is too lazy to fight us, but after conjoling him a little, he decides to teach Mouse how to change form, into that of a bear. Mouse was a mouse so that he could hide from the evil spirits that reside in The Fade, but now Mouse (who is still called Mouse in the form of a bear) has a little more faith in him self to help me take on bigger enemies.

From here, Bones and Mouse backtrack a little where the Demon is encounter. This is the first big battle of the game (though not that big), and also the first battle where I realize I can control the actions of another character (Mouse). However, I do not have an idea about how to issue commands to Bear, and he is doing fine against the Demon, so I let him go at it. Bear dies (unconscious?) after a little bit as I try to dish out some damage with one of my three spells. Only two if them did much, so I spammed them, quickly ending the battle.



At this point, Mouse comes back to life because I read in the manual that party members do not die, they go unconscious until the end of the battle, but when they wake up, they may have injuries which severely affect their skills. Mouse and Bones talk about now leaving The Fade, because The Harrowing was completed. Mouse asks me if I will help him find a way to escape, whereby I realize there is something fishy going on, I question him about it, and then find out that he is in fact a demon, and the real test of The Harrowing.

At this point, Bones is woken up by Jowen in his bed. Jowen asks me about The Harrowing, which I tell him nothing of. Jowen confesses that he is older than me and will probably never get to experience The Harrowing, because of some conspiracy in The Circle which he thinks exists. I dismiss him, noticing I have leveled up for the first time. However, I had enough of the game for the time being, saved, and turned off the console.

Overall, I am impressed by the back story for each race and class. It makes me feel apart of the game's universe and that I am impacting it. The graphics could be better, but they very much fit what the game is going for. There are no performance issues noticeable, the spells look awesome, and overall. my experience has been totally positive and I cannot wait to come back for more.
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