Dragon Age: Origins
What parents need to know
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?
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?