The Good

Dragon Age: Origins is your standard Bioware RPG filled to the brim with sex, blood, and violence. Gameplay is a mixture of top-down combat and third-person dialogue seamlessly blended together.

Character customization is unsurpassed. The number of facial tweaks rivals Fallout 3 or Mass Effect. Thankfully in Dragon Age, facial textures are not exact mirror images, which means you won't create a monstrously ugly character on accident. Depending on your race and class, your character will start in different areas around the world. Each origin story is beautifully composed and ties into the main campaign perfectly.

Combat is a bit slow, but definitely polished. It comes complete with decapitations, skill trees, and a myriad of different skills tailored to each of the three classes. The more you fight, the more blood will splatter onto your character, a very satisfying feature of Dragon Age.

Dialogue and character interaction is by far the strongest mechanic in the game. You have basic good guy/bad guy choices, but also plenty of gray area as well. Even small decisions can change the plot, making replay value incredibly high.

The Bad

There is zero multiplayer. Everything from the interface to combat makes Dragon Age feel like it was supposed to have online support, but was scrapped last second.

There is a plethora of support characters for combat, but the complexity of the leveling and tactics system makes it near impossible to keep their abilities up to date. Chances are you will micromanage your main character, and just leave the rest to auto-level.

Graphics are far from top-notch. When engaging in conversations the game blurs out nearby surroundings, forcing you to focus on faces and emotions. Unfortunately this also gives characters an aura where part of the background is still in focus and frames the character. In theory, blurring the scenery helps hold your attention, but in practice, it breaks concentration.

The auto-save function is finicky. Dragon Age will sometimes go hours without saving on its own, and the huge variety of enemy difficulty will leave you frustrated if you aren't manually saving every few minutes. To make things worse, nearly every transition in the game has a loading screen, downtime is terrible long in the game, especially when you are exploring a city house-to-house.

The Salty

If you enjoyed Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, or Fallout 3, you'll love Dragon Age. If you are a fan of dialogue or just need a good role-playing-game for the coming winter days, this game is a safe bet. Replay value is high, characters are well-developed, and the lore can keep you fixed for hours at a time.

Dragon Age: Origins gets 8 blood splatters out of 10.