It is no secret that I suck at Western RPGs. Every single one I've played found me completely flustered, so much so that I tend to put WRPGs down the moment I pick them up. It's not so much that I hate them, but rather playing them feels incredibly foreign to me. I would never say that I hate them, but it's more that I have little to no experience with them. That being said, Dragon Age: Origins did feel very foreign to me, but I still found myself having an enjoyable experience.
"They (BioWare) showed me that within Dragon Age's dark world, there are infinite possibilities, and so much waiting to be discovered."
When I went to the BioWare booth and introduced myself, I told the crew that my experience with WRPGs was limited, and that I was still getting use to idea of nonlinear worlds. I asked them how accessible they thought Dragon Age was to those who didn't play WRPGs but were interested in the game, to which Chris Priestly paused and said that the game is certainly challenging, but it's rewarding when you do actually get the hang of it. I also asked him how many times I'm going to die in this game and he said "lots."
BioWare was running two different demos at FanExpo. The PC version outlined character creation, while the 360 version dropped players into a horde of demons trying to feast on me. I wasn't able to try the PC station that was set up, but I did try out the 360 version. At the beginning of the demo I was placed in a dark alley with three companions: a mage, a warrior and a rogue, each armed with its own special abilities and talents. By pressing the right bumper while playing as the mage, I could scroll though many types of different spells which included an ice attack, fire attack, and a healing spell. I mainly stuck to the mage while playing the demo so I could stay as far away from the enemy as possible - just until I found my bearing with the controls. I admit I'm not used to playing RPGs where combat is real-time, but the AI is very intelligent and for the most part while I was fumbling with the controls, my companions were smacking skeletons around like it was nobody's business.
I realized one thing while playing Dragon Age that is absolutely bad for me – looting. I am a klepto when I play games that allow me to take every object and horde it. I did that in Fallout 3 with coffee mugs and clipboards, and in Dragon Age it was no different. When the menu says "Take All", I didn't hold back. It's like going to a buffet, and being told to take some and then you end up taking more than your share from the plate.
As things began to get very hectic, and with my health running low, Chris informed me of a few things that helped me get to the end of the demo, such as unleashing a pack of wild dogs as I searched for the exit, and making sure to collect some of the various weapons that were scattered throughout. When I reached the end of the demo, I was treated to a boss fight with a giant Ogre, who decided it would be delightful to sit on my party members and squish them. As time passed, he managed to take out my party one by one, to which Chris said "Hey, considering you don't play WRPGs, you didn't do too horribly", to which I responded "...I got squished by an ogre." The worst part was then watching my boyfriend play the demo, and beat the demo effortlessly. Stupid boyfriend being awesome at WRPGs.
Dragon Age: Origins has got a lot of variety with its expansive character creation and customization, and six different origin stories that can be created and changed depending on the player's actions. There are also four different difficulty settings: easy for the noobs such as myself, medium, hard and nightmare for the hardcore nuts. All in all, my time with Dragon Age: Origins was enjoyable, even if I was completely flustered the entire time I was playing it. I also owe a huge thanks to the guys at BioWare for showing me the ropes and taking me through the game step by step. They showed me that within Dragon Age's dark world, there are infinite possibilities, and so much waiting to be discovered.