Dragon Age: Origins

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dragon Age: Origins Game Poster Image
Deep but very violent fantasy role-playing game.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 28 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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 & Representations

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
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
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... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilac54 December 10, 2011

Visual effects make it inappropiate for kids/teens

This game is not nearly as inapproiate as you may think it is. As long as the child or teen can do a reality check easily and correctly and apply it while play... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBooknerd101 February 4, 2013

Good, but not worth $60

What can I say about Dragon age? Its not the best game by Bioware (Mass Effect being the best). But don't let that discourage you from buying this. Violent... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love adventure games

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