Bioware’s new epic, dark fantasy RPG has been receiving a lot of attention lately. The game’s marketing team has hit the internet hard and you would practically have to be blind to miss all the online ads for the game. This is a special case in which all the hype and pomp is very much deserved.
The game is truly epic in scale. The game lasts a solid 50 hours — a lot longer if you’re into side quests. The basic plot is simple. You are a Grey Warden, a member of an elite group that has one purpose: to defeat the Darkspawn (read: bad guys) who are amassing a powerful army in order to conquer Ferelden. This game is very reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, which is a great thing. However, along the way you must make a series of choices that allows you to affect the final outcome of the story. For example, as you evolve through the plot, you can determine what type of army you want to amass against the Darkspawn during the final battle — armies you will be able to control at that.
As far as the main playable character goes, you get to customize your gender, race (human, elf, or dwarf), and specialization (warrior, rogue, mage). Each race and specialization comes with their own unique origin story so you can imagine the replay factor is huge and the origin story affects how the world will interact with your character. As you progress through the plot, party members will eventually join you in your quest. Each character has an approval rating dependant on your actions. If the approval rating is low, they will most likely leave your group. If high enough, you could possibly have a special relationship with them and by this, yes kids, I do mean sex. As a party member’s approval rating increases, specialization bonuses become unlocked and it’s relatively easy to win over approval by giving characters certain gifts. Not all gifts will generate a high approval rating so make sure you match an appropriate gift to each character.
You can control up to 4 party members at any one time. There are more than double that number of characters that could potentially join your party. Some characters will join your group no matter what: Alistair and Morrigan. Others require some special actions on your part in order to win their allegiance: Sten, Dog, and Zevran.