Dragon Age: Origins Game Poster Image

Dragon Age: Origins

(i)

 

Deep but very violent fantasy role-playing game.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

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.

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?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

This review of Dragon Age: Origins was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bytellmeastory November 8, 2009

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 of a 1, 2, and 4 year old Written byZero Tolerance March 20, 2010

An excellent game which handles "mature" themes well.

Let's get a few things out of the way. Next to Arkham Aslyum, this is perhaps the best game of 2009 (Uncharted 2? Not impressive considering the MGS series). That said, this is indeed a "mature" game, and I honestly believe that this game handles "mature" themes in just that sense, as opposed to the sensational spectacles of games like GTA. Addressing the "questionable" material, I think that with good parental supervision, teens (not tweens) can handle this game. With the exception of a rare special decapitation animation during fighting, the violence in this game could pass for a T rated game. There is plenty of blood, but nothing silly or outrageous like the rivers seen in anime movies. Correcting the Common Sense review, I remember encountering two Desire Demons, who wear something akin to pasties over their nipples. They are succubi, so explaining to your child what a succubi is (and the corruption/sin associated with such sexuality), this should not be alarming to you. It is *supposed* to be arousing (otherwise, they would be sorry excuses for succubi). Those are good teaching moments in the game. There is also another kind of demon in the game which is topless, but it is so grotesque, I doubt it will be a problem. Yes, there are romances in the game, and the sex scenes have the characters in their underwear (btw, every character in the game has a fine-chiseled bodies like Barbies or The Sims characters. There are no flat-chested women in the game and they all have Jessica Biel-style butts). If Twilight is acceptable in your house, none of this will bother you. However, as has been pointed out, there is potential for homosexual relationships. With the female character involved, it is at least portrayed as awkward at first. With the male character, it is more than a bit suggestive. Tracking your child's progress in the game, you can see the "relationship" bar to see how close they are to potentially consummating a relationship, should they wish. So if you've had a talk with your child about sex (if you haven't, someone else will), and they've seen at least one R-rated movie on television (where the commercials cut out the extreme stuff), this game actually is not that bad. I've been gaming for 24 years and I can assure you that there is much, much, worse out there. If I had to pick one game with "mature" themes to expose my child to, this would be one of them. Just imagine a slightly gritter version of Lord of the Rings, and you've got Dragon Age.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byPlague December 15, 2009

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.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement