If you're a fan of involved RPGs which let you control multiple characters in your party, Dragon Age: Origins will provide hundreds of hours of absorbing fun. If you find this type of character development and management tedious, there won't be a quick end in sight for you.
As with most RPGs, you begin by creating your character. You get to choose between female and male. Dwarf, Elf, or Human. Warrior, Rogue, or Mage. The only combination which isn't available is the dwarf mage. For dwarfs and elves, you can also set yourself as a poor or noble. There are different backgrounds for each of these combinations with a back-story to get you started, and occasional later storyline differences are based on "who you are".
For example, if you're a noble dwarf, your man-servant / buddy becomes a merchant in the big city and he'll recognize you and give you a great discount. Others do not get this benefit.
The core of the game is that, through whatever starting means, you join the Grey Wardens - a special world defense group who fights evil. There is a giant group of demons rising to flood through the world, and it's the Grey Wardens who stand against it. You have to unite the humans, dwarfs, elves, and mages to fight the enemy. Numerous side missions get you along the quest.
The game is dialogue heavy, with all of it spoken (although you can read subtitles if you wish). You are often provided with responses which range from gently kind to humorous to nasty. Depending on your method of interacting with others, you can bring about ten companions along in your party. Each companion will respond well to a different personality. That being said, there are many times that the multiple dialogue options seem to be "shades of gray" and give the same results.
Die-hard fans will want to play through the entire game multiple times to see how it rolls out for a poor female elf, vs a noble dwarf warrior, and so on. Each loop through could easily exceed 50 hours or more.
You have about 30 save spots, so there are plenty of locations to keep track of different characters and different paths.
Actions have long term consequences. Something you do early in the game can have an affect 20 hours later in gameplay, so it's not a matter of saving and then just trying "path A" or "path B".
There are downloadable extra missions you can purchase, if their massive amount of content still isn't enough for you.
There are a couple of bugs in the game, which are fairly exploitable, but since this isn't a multiplayer game it only affects how you play vs other friends you might be in competition with.
The graphics are high quality and quite comparable to other games on modern systems. The sound is well done and the dialogue brings life to the characters. Sometimes the conversations were laugh out loud funny. That being said, you have to have an open sense of humor to appreciate some of the scenes. They do borrow from Monty Python and current movies for some of their lines.
The game is generally easy to pick up and play for any gamer who has played these style of games before. They did a good job with combat controls, camera controls and general character leveling.
The one caveat I have is that there is a fair amount of mature content in here - both violent and sexual. You can set your characters up for homosexual or heterosexual relationships, and simulated (clothed) sex is shown. This is NOT a game for young teens.
Well recommended for mature gamers.
I purchased my copy of Dragon Age Origins from Amazon.com with my own money.
Buy Dragon Age Origin from Amazon.com