Dragon Age: Origins

Common Sense Media says

Deep but very violent fantasy role-playing game.

Age

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game lets you make moral choices that will affect game-play, such as who lives and dies, but the player's character is basically a good person who must defend the world from an arch-demon. Note, though, that there is no morality meter, and that should the player choose to behave badly there are often no consequences.

Positive role models

You can customize your character and choose different paths and dialogue responses. That means the protagonist is not inherently good or bad. It's up to you to determine his or her behavior.

Ease of play

The game is fairly easy to play but the combat options and upgrades take some getting used to. Time and experimentation is needed -- especially when working with other characters -- to master all the controls.

Violence

While not out of context for a fantasy role-playing game, Dragon Age: Origins does feature a lot of violence with its combat-heavy focus. Players use ranged weapons (bow and arrow), magic, and swords to fight humans and non-humans. Blood can be seen spattering faces and armor. Some particularly violent moments involve decapitations and swords plunged deeply into the chests of monsters. Players are also given the option of killing non-combatants in scenarios that involve ethical decision making.

Sex

Some cut-scene sequences show two characters embracing and kissing -- including same sex couples -- and one female demon shows her breasts. Some dialogue is suggestive, too, such as being asked if you want to go to a brothel or join other characters in their tents.

Language

Not over the top, but Dragon Age: Origins does have some swear words, such as "s--t," "ass," hell," "damn" and "bitch."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game shows characters drinking ale in a tavern-like setting. One of your mission objectives is to try to get a barkeep to provide free ale to a local militia that is already intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dragon Age: Origins is rated "Mature" and designed for players 17 years of age or older, primarily for its combat-heavy play, which includes plenty of blood spilled by both humans and creatures. The player will also be exposed to some sexual imagery, including bare demon breasts, as well as some coy discussions about sex which involve characters talking about going to their tents for intimate interludes. Note, too, that players are allowed to make decisions that will result in the life or death of many important characters, some of whom might be viewed as innocent. Consequences for evil actions are not always evident. There is also a small amount profanity, though nothing gratuitous.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Have any plans for the next, say, four months? It could take you that long to tackle DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS, a new fantasy role-playing game (RPG) with roughly 100 hours of gameplay -- not to mention optional downloadable quests that expand the world even further. BioWare's dark, single-player epic features plenty of combat, deep storytelling and adventurous exploration. Considered the spiritual successor to BioWare's own Baldur's Gate, the groundbreaking Dungeons & Dragons-inspired computer game from 1998, Dragon Age: Origins resurrects classic RPG conventions, beginning with the ability to select your protagonist's gender, race (human, elf or dwarf), class (warrior, mage or rogue) and appearance. Depending on your choices, the beginning of the game will play out differently as you watch the story unfold with a cinematic sequence. Other decisions you make throughout the game will also have an effect on the story.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Yes! But this third-person epic isn't flawless. Five years in the making, this RPG shows its age. Compared to many other video games today, the characters, animation and special effects look dated -- but at least it doesn't detract much from the gameplay. Another issue is that you rarely hear your own character speak, as you do in other BioWare games, such as 2007's Mass Effect. This takes some getting used to as your peers talk around you but your character remains silent as you read and select from the dialogue options available. However, this combat-heavy game -- complete with power-ups, huge maps and a great story -- delivers the goods. RPG fans in search of a meaty game with plenty of depth and replayability won't be disappointed with this masterfully crafted adventure that offers a lot of bang for your buck. 

Note: The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game are the same.

Online interaction: You can download extra content but there are no multiplayer modes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not parents should be more forgiving about the mature content in Dragon Age: Origins because it's a fantasy game and not based on contemporary characters or familiar locations. Does it matter that it doesn't have a modern city, dialogue, and characters, or is violence always inappropriate for certain ages regardless of a game's time and place?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:November 3, 2009
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Intense Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Dragon Age: Origins was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bytellmeastory November 8, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Know your kid before lettign them play. No age limit just a maturity limit!

Gaming is getting to a point where the number of choices may soon be as numerous as those in life. Among the choices in this game are things that we would like to hope our children would turn down in real life or at very least while they remain children and teens. The game may show that these choices do not have dire consequences. For a child who has trouble separating reality from their virtual world this may be a problem. Additionally, certain aspects of the game are unavoidable such as the gratuitous killing and the nudity and provocative dress of the other characters. This can lead unprepared children to form incorrect assumptions. Even the most mature kid should be guided through their first time playing such a game. I recommend a parent child activity of going through this game. Try to get involved and show that the game is just a pastime and has no bearing on real life. Talk about things they seem confused about. No need to make it awkward; just engage in light conversation. "So why did you choose that way of talking to that person? Maybe this would have made them like you more." Stay alert for signs of being affected by the game such as mimicry of some of the more provocative parts. all that said I think no age can be put on when this game begins to be appropriate. A birthday doesn't make someone more mature it doesnt even make them a year older. Once someone has their birthday they are just a day older. Someone who is "A year younger" may infact be only 1 day behind. 1 day does not make a difference on whether anyone is ready for something. As will be my position for all of the posts on this website my answer will always be: it depends. As a parent one must make decisions on what is ok for their child. But I do not believe that that decision should be impacted by age. Perhaps as a success story of a very liberal outlook on exposure of children I may be biased. At a certain point my parents felt (after many conversations where I handled myself like an adult while discussing 'adult' topics) that I was capable of handling anything they were. I watched some violence with my dad and didn't become an axe murderer. I saw nudity and didn't become a sexual deviant. Parenting is about knowing your kid and what they are ready for irrespective of their age or what their peers are doing. I have one child who I do not feel comfortable letting play certain games and another two years younger who I do. This game can be played by a 2 year old if they are 'ready' and I would do my best to take it away from a 20 year old who it would harm. Know your kids limits. Test things slowly and see how they react.
Parent Written byPlague December 15, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Dragon Age: Origins

Funniest game i've played in a long time. Storyline is fantasic and stays interesting until the end, and the characters you are able to play are all fun (personally I like playing the dwarfs). You'll never get bored as you fight ferocious enemies and work with others to bring peace back to the world.
Adult Written byJester™ July 12, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Mature RPG is too Complex for Early Teens

Dragon Age: Origins is one of those rare gems in gaming that reveals the developers passion for their world, story and game. I've stated it's complex because a large portion of the game (>30%) takes place in conversations (as is traditional for Bioware games) where the player will have a number of options to reply. The game also delves into politics and is very lore-heavy. This game should definitely not be played by students during exam time; it'll steal a lot of time from your studies. The only real concern for parents would be the games violence. Dragon Age: Origins is designed as a dark, action-RPG and that's exactly what it is. The combat is frequent, the player and their companions will become coated in blood as will the environment. Foes are decapitated and blood is plentiful. The mechanics for the combat require a level of tactical thinking and familiarity with strategy games to master, especially on the higher difficulties. Sex and language is minimal. There are semi-frequent sexual references but mostly in the form of innuendo designed to be humorous and not taken seriously. The only other concern for some parents might be the heavy focus on spirits and demons. A lot of the enemies in the game are demons of varying varieties and the main antagonist is "The Archdemon". All in all, Dragon Age; Origins is a fantastic game with an impressive amount of content. The combat gets slow at times but the depth of the characters and the story development more than makes up for any of its flaws. Well worth the 40+ hours it takes to complete. (*NOTE* the OFLC classification for Dragon Age: Origins is MA15+ for Strong Violence) Jester's Rating: 9/10
What other families should know
Too much violence

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