on November 5, 2009
So I purchased the Xbox 360 version of Dragon Age: Origins yesterday and have spent WAY too many hours in Ferelden when I should be doing far more constructive things.
Is it too much of a stretch to think that someone who names their blog after semi-mystical airships might enjoy a roleplaying game or two?
The game is not perfect. The graphics are decidedly sub-par, audio glitches occur far too frequently, and on a regular basis I notice tiny white specs, which are the "seams" showing between some images that display environmental graphics. Screen tearing, I think it's called. The latter wouldn't be so bad, if I didn't also have to look for a similarly white-ish graphic that indicates a chest or box or crate or body requires ransacking for the requisite reward. I'm always rotating the camera back for a quick second to be sure I'm not missing out on some loot.
But so what?
The game is deep, the voice-acting well done over all, and this may be the best WRITTEN roleplaying game of the current generation, even if the story itself seems safely (perhaps too safely) rooted in standard RPG conventions. Not even Mass Effect has dialogue options that are as "realistic" and rewarding to hear as what can be found in Dragon Age.
But, just to meet my "geek" and "nerd" quota for the day, I read some reviews. I've never seen so many one-star "reviews" based on just one or two aspects of what is otherwise a fantastic game -- one-star bashing based on (you guessed it) the graphics or the heavy (oh so time-consuming) dialogue.
My take is that this phenomenon exposes a fundamental shortcoming of this particular generation of games -- there simply aren't enough good RPGs that elevate story and dialogue as THE fundamental pillar of the game's success.
In just one short decade, gamers have forgotten how story-heavy games like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, KOTOR, and other RPGS really were.
In just one short decade, everything is about graphics.
What a tragedy.
Gaming has gone from a hobby filled with gaming enthusiasts with imagination and open-mindedness (in terms of what can be considered a successful kind of game), to a hobby filled with mindless addicts seeking the nearest, the quickest possible thumb-twitch to get their needed dose of adrenaline.
And the internet is such a "perfect" forum for them to express their distaste. Twitchers with short attention spans "write" quick, twitch-like reviews that say GRAPHICS SUCK and FAIL and give one star reviews, as if that's all that matters in a game.
Rather than pay attention to either the mostly positive or mostly negative reviews, rather than pay attention to the polarization that can occur in the review sections of buy-sites, be sure to check out Metacritic or GameStats or other sites that organize and collate reviews from ACTUAL CRITICS.
There's a concept.
Dragon Age is a fantastic game. Deep characterization and playing fundamentals/strategy (on higher difficulty levels), lots of looting and blood and gore, romance with a pretty guy or girl, long-term support from Bioware (hopefully) as evidenced by the downloadable content available on the day of release, and huge "bang for your buck."
Even at 60 dollars retail, that averages to at the very least a dollar an hour in terms of value, for anyone who completes the game. And this isn't 60 dollars of sandbox. Dragon Age doesn't appear to be as much of a "sandbox" game as Morrowind or Oblivion. While great games themselves, they left some players feeling a little left out in the cold, wandering around without enough of story-driven momentum to sustain interest. One can only loot so many caves, kill so many monsters, close so many gates, that don't have significant impact on finishing the game.
And did I say dragons, arch demons, and dark fantasy elements?
Anyone who enjoys RPGs should buy this game. Now.
on November 4, 2009
The PS3 version is 17.3% better than the 360 version for 4.2 reasons.
The 360 version is 13.7% better than the PS3 version for 2.4 reasons.
Which version is better for you will be determined by your saving throw.
I picked up both versions. I have two identical TVs, one bedroom, one den, both 50" 1080p Panasonic G10s. For this review I put them side by side in the den, PS3 hooked up to one, 360 to the other, and choose the same origin story. I played the PS3, my wife played the 360, we both took the day off of work, a "Bioware Holiday."
The Bioware RPG is one of my favorite video game genres. KOTOR 1 is still my favorite story. I played through Mass Effect 7 times. If you like Bioware, you will like Dragon Age.
KOTOR 2 GRAPHICS
Bioware didn't make KOTOR 2. Until now. Dragon Age's graphics in general look like a last generation game, upconverted to HD. And why should they not? This game was 5 years in the making. Personally, if I could wave a magic wigglestick, I would magically wish the graphics into the year 2069, to play in my PS9 in my flying car. Unfortunately, I live in a condo that doesn't allow wigglesticking. So the choice is (A) Play the Bioware game. (B) Don't play the Bioware game. (C) Eat a cup cake. No one plays Bioware games for the graphics. You play for the CYOA storytelling.
6 COMPLETE CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE NOVELS
Dragon Age is 10 Novels long. With 6 unique hero journeys. That can be twisted good or naughty. Warrior. Magic. Thief. Hybrid-Hybrid. Bioware is the only developer on the planet that makes this kind of beautiful uniqueness. This kind of awesomeness only comes around once every few years. Is this flavor of awesomeness perfect? No. Is amateur pornography perfect? No. Sometimes the pacing is off, or the dialogue excessive, but it gets the job done. The job is to experience a genuine human story--even if you're a lesbian elf. Dragon Age is fantastic video game storytelling. And better written than most fantasy novels.
BLOOD SPLATTER OR POTPOURRI?
I'm going to give Bioware the benefit of the doubt and believe that after battles my characters are splattered with blood and not potpourri. It's hard to tell visually, but I don't think they would censor themselves because this game is, like, totally Mature.
GAY SEX - NO NUDITY
My wife likes lesbian threesomes. In books. In movies. In video games. In our kids' crayon drawings. She had never played a Bioware game before, but she likes role playing, and I told her Dragon Age has lesbian threesomes. Now, like with most video games, the depiction of sex isn't much more sophisticated visually than taking two barbie dolls and slapping them together. And there's no nudity. Because Bioware understands the genuine human condition--that people make the special love with their cloths on-- even if you're a bi-sexual dwarf. So if you like realisticly-sized breasts well-covered with beige felt bikinis, then you, my friend, are in for a PG-13 flavored treat.
CASUAL VS HARDCORE
My wife played on easy, I played on normal. If you're an uber-genius, like me, who enjoys micromanagement, obscure RPG tactics, and general strategery... Then prepare to spend a lot of time, with the game paused, in clunky interface menus, because that's how real men play. That's how my grandpappy played his Bioware games, and his grandpappy before him, back when Bioware wasn't even Canadian, when they were still French, and the TVs had 11" screens and were powered by fire--usually dry hickory. So if you want that kind of authentic gaming experiece, you can have it. But if you just want to enjoy the story, crank that menu to easy, slump back in the couch, and unbuckle your pants for a good time.
PS3 VS 360
Like with all games, it's a choice between graphics vs framerate. The PS3 has slightly better textures, color saturation, contrast level, resolution. The 360 is less pretty but smoother. The PS3 is the supermodel with arthritis. The 360 is a Ukrainian gymnast. You get to choose who you want to take to bed. But since all you're going to do in bed is talk... It's not such a big deal. Unless you put two 50" plasmas right next to each other, you're not going to see the difference. I'm going to keep the PS3 version (because I like the controller better) and give my 360 copy to my favorite charity FVGFBO that provides fantastic video games for blind orphans.
BUY IT, PLAY IT, LOVE IT
I have played 115 hours, beaten the game twice, tried three of the six origin stories, watched every sex scene, won every topless hottie boss battle, and found "teh secret nipplz." Personally, I feel this is the best Bioware game to date, the best written video game of all time, and a genuine evolution of the Bioware formula. For those of you fleeing in terror from Adult Content, know that, like in real life, bi-sexual dwarf sex is awkward, optional, and over in less than a minute. You can get through the whole game without "going hairy."
on November 7, 2009
I am astounded at the backlash against the game, mostly due to the graphics. So it's not incredible detailed and brilliant as people want, so what? KOTOR wasn't exactly top-notch in graphics either but it didn't matter. It was the story and gameplay that counted and that's the same here. From what I've seen, the PC version isn't massively different, a bit sharper but not by that much.
What counts is the story and gameplay and man, BioWare have outdone themselves on this. The brilliance is how it overturns the classic cliches of fantasy adventures. Elves aren't superior beings but divided, the city elves second-class citizens in slums while wood elves are wild and considered myth. Dwarves aren't drinking comic relief but hold to ideas of honor while in truth holding to an ultra-rigid class system that keeps the commoners down. And magic is considered something to be feared rather than used. Twists like that give the entire genere a nice kick.
As for complaints about how it starts slow, that's tradition for BioWare. Hell, it took KOTOR four or five hours on one planet before things got kicking and same with Jade Empire and Mass Effect. After you get through the origins and to the main story, things take off huge and the game is amazing to play. Each origin is fantastic to see and leads to different experiences and the combat is good too. I admit the PC may have an edge with the birds-eye view thing but this is still a great way to make it work.
So ignore those hung up too much on how it doesn't look utter perfection. If you want a game with PLENTY of replaybility, epic story, great characters, good combat and a rewarding play experience, this is it. Bravo to all involved creating it, you've made a true classic.
on November 10, 2009
I am giving this game 5 stars; incredible story, engaging game play and tactics, great voice acting,and characters you grow to care about not withstanding, what sets this game apart, what sets most Bioware games apart, most notably Mass Effect and now Dragon Age, is its approach to morality.
The difference between Dragon Age and other notable RPG's is subtle; I invite you to think back to previous offering in this genre.
JRPG's such as Final Fantasy series, Tales of Vesperia or even the classic Chronotrigger lacked any real morality decisions, or "Role Playing". The story plays out for you, whether you want it to or not. Almost like content in between cut-scenes. Moving from there, you have games with morality choices that are gaged on a meter with a clear line between good and bad: Bioware's KOTOR is an excellent example. However, with the coming of Mass Effect, and now Dragon Age, Role Playing has evolved to a more natural level.
No longer forced to chose between good and evil, it has become possible with these games to actually Role Play a complex character, and in no other game has this been more possible then in Dragon Age. The dialog choices are almost agonizing. My character is anything but black and white. Decisions are not without consequences, whether it be the changing opinion of party members, or the uncovered quests, or even missed opportunities (for example, I killed some one who could have been a party member, I did not know it until I spoke to a friend who played the game differently) Often, the consequences can be brutal; knives in the back cold blooded brutal. This is a true Role Playing Game, that begins to approach a level of engagement never seen before. When I make choices, I do not think,"is this a good, or bad action". I think, "how would "I" handle tis situation?"
You are never forced down a path, or forced to join a faction. This game allows one to play in the truly grey area of human nature. For this reason, I give this it 5 stars.
on November 24, 2009
Truly I had much to look forward to when news of a "Dark Fantasy Epic" under the wing of Bioware had graced my ears. 'Cause hell, who else gave me such convincing characters and dialogues to enrich such vast stories already? Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect were no small feets of organization and voice acting, thus I would be occupied for long sessions, ones that perhaps weren't spaced apart by any 'healthy' standard.
Then I grasped this game before even the slightest price drop. And so today, having seen a $20 plummet since my purchase two weeks ago, do I feel cheated? Not one bit, I don't.
As many positive reviewers would dispel any meaningless libel based solely on visuals, I will too. Surely I feel tricked into thinking I'm playing on a previous generation console (I still own a PS2, after all), but if you were to tell me Bioware had intentionally taken a step back in graphical power, I'd likely believe it. Remembering nearly a decade ago as I played Dark Sun: Shattered Lands in a similar quest to unite a scattered land for war, playing Dragon Age: Origins gave me a heaping dose of nostalgia through both plot and visuals. I'd nearly say this game makes me feel young again, but it'd be a sad proclamation coming from a 23-year-old. Point being, this game is still a beauty, and at least no detail in environment and architecture was spared.
Still I had felt only slightly let down as I spent my first three or four hours in game. The pieces were scattered about, so much to collect and learn (and holy bejeepers, what a ton of lore it has!) that it felt overwhelming to a point of 'mocking' me. It wasn't until collecting my more permanent party members and stepping into the shoes of a true "(Wo)Man on a Mission" that the utter fascination wouldn't stay out of my dreams, much less allow me to retire by my usual bedtime.
Aside from your character's choice in personal relations with collected party members, you have the joy of listening in on the lovely scuffles and sarcasms between the rest of them whilst exploring. Dialogue is very well-done and convincing, and I daresay it's largely the abundance of humor and likable characters that keep me from considering this the "dark" fantasy Bioware would have me believe - besides some warm/hopeful music and lack of permanent 'gloom, doom and despair' psychology. Sure, the story isn't sunshine and rainbows, by any means, and the choices made within could certainly plummet the mood more. But in the long run you still have a cast of people ready and willing to laugh and love, coupled with the drive toward a triumphant victory at its end.
But don't count me as a Negative Nancy. Even with the obvious technical bunks I've found and some mishaps in presentation (as far as my last paragraph is concerned), Dragon Age: Origins is a wonderful experience, one that rather often gave me a sense of accomplishment - and even pride! - with my ability to dramatically change elements in the plot. Oh, the 6 'Origin' stories won't even give you a minor glimpse of the whole expansive nature, trust me. And when it's all said and done, I picked up a new race, gender and Origin story the very same night of my first completion. Eight cumulative hours later, the variations haven't left me bored yet.
Yes, this is a great game, perhaps even 'Awesome' in its most literal sense (awe-inspiring), and I wouldn't dare take back the $20 price-cut if the Bioware senior directors themselves offered it to me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a female dwarf ex-noble warrior to nurture...
on November 11, 2009
Ok I would have given this a 4.5 out of 5, but Amazon does not allow 1/2 stars...Because it was Bioware I bumped them up a half star. Ok the down and dirty:
Game play: 10/10
Replay value: 10/10
Ok, I have to say that I am a huge Bioware fan and as soon as I saw a fantasy based RPG from them I had to buy it. I was going to play this over the Thanksgiving weekend, but opened it and started playing this straight away. The game has a wide open world, but all the quests and missions keep the game very focused and keeps the game moving. However, if you desire you can wander the world and look around. There is a good balance between story and action that I really appreciate. The game play allows for you to customize your character and other party members to create a war party of your choosing. Characters ranging from mages to warriors, rouges, even a Templar. I have been playing this for a week and have 35 hours into it and I am @ 60% complete. Caveat: I do read every message and try to complete every map and quest. Overall a great game
*Use one character as a rouge/archer as you need someone to always open chests, checks traps and shoot the mages at a distance.
* Buy the guide if you want to do all the side quests as some of them can get tricky as they have to be done in the correct order. You do not need the book for the main story line quests.
*Missions: keep you focused (or you can look around if you want º)
*High Replay value
* KOTR like combat system (which I love)
*Combat gets tricky when in a crowd
*Good Graphics, not Great
Update: I did recommend the guide to help with the side quests. The guide is mediocre, please read the review before buying...
on November 6, 2009
The heart of the RPG is not combat, it is adventure. I think many people miss this when they rag on an RPG for taking too long. Wandering around in Halo can be a little fun, but we all know the real point of Halo is shooting things and watching them go boom and splat. It needs to have incredible graphics to promote that, and it needs to move fast to keep the adrenaline going. Adventure, or purposeful exploration, doesn't need the fast pacing. Story and depth of world are the most important elements. An RPG is supposed to be something you can wander around in for hours. It's supposed to have long dialogues with believable characters. It is SUPPOSED to approximate life to some degree. Most people you'll meet in life CAN talk for hours under the right circumstances. They ALL have stories. The RPG tries to capture this fact so that you can, basically, travel into a fantastic, imaginary land and feel like you went on an actual vacation there. Graphics are good to have, as always, but story and depth are most important.
Dragon Age has the story and depth, with much more story than Oblivion and arguably as much depth of world. It has believable characters everywhere you look, and more than enough graphics to allow the world to become real to the player. For the adventurer it is a perfect game. If all you want is a constant stream of combat supported by amazing special effects, then Dragon Age is not the game for you. It is not meant to be. With that in mind, please don't review it on what it's not intended to be. It is an incredible RPG.
on November 14, 2009
Note: This review is primarily but not entirely based off of a complete play through as a Human Blood Mage on the Hard difficulty. On a 10 scale system I would rate this a 9 of 10 (4.5/5).
Bioware's new offering is a role playing tour de force but at the same time is also the premier presentation of that development studio's technical handicap.
Dragon Age: Origins is a solid RPG for the 360 that more than justifies the investment of a retail purchase for the RPG genre fan. The game provides a rich single player experience with a cohesive and engaging storyline in J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring and George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones tradition within approximately 60 hours of unique playtime. Working out at more or less a (US) dollar an hour price this is an unbeatable deal for the RPG fan but maybe not be so for the non-genre fan. Those that place a premier value on cutting edge graphical presentation, action packed style or an expansive, durable and free multi-player experience will probably find Dragon Age to be tiresome, boring or limited in scope, respectively. BioWare has (barring the yet seen release of the new Star Wars RPG) played to death their current engine's style. The engine used in Dragon Age is BioWare's Eclipse. Those familiar with the Odyssey and then Aurora engines used in their previous titles such as Knights of the Old Republic will be familiar with the format. Unfortunately the bar has already been raised technically with Bethesda's Fallout series and narratively by BioWare's own Mass Effect series.
Dragon Age's most immediately apparent shortcoming is its obviously lacking graphical presentation. While, as an RPG fan, I can say that the graphics were never a point of overt disruption to the actual experience of playing the game they were often a source of disappointment for an otherwise superb experience. The textures were painfully off in that materials that should have had a shine were dull and those that should have carried a flat color were heavily reflective. It is unpleasant to see men running around in boringly uniform and oddly shiny leathers while knights were entombed within heavy, dull plate metal. Many of the textures of the equipable items were reminiscent of PlayStation II or original XBox textures, robbing the player of the aesthetic pleasure of customizing their character's equipment. This issue was aggravated by plainly awful terrain textures. The ground, sky, roofs, floors and hillsides are best left ignored, to pay too much attention only detracts from the immersion into the game.
With the most obvious visual shortcomings of BioWare's engine put aside the remaining faults are non-technical. The format that the designers chose to relay the story to the player is an audio presentation navigated by an in-engine dialogue tree. This goes a long way of keeping the player immersed in the game by never removing them, graphically speaking, from the game but after a long period of time serves to lend a tired quality. The first third of my game was played with rapt attention to the dialogue and in-engine cut scenes. The remaining majority of the the game I turned on the subtitles and skipped through it as fast as I could read. By hour 30 or so the I felt as though I were trapped in a nightmare realm of a B grade "choose your own adventure" audio book. While the actual voice over work is excellent the stiff animations and limited graphical variety offered to the player greatly detracts from the ability of the game's characters to relay the otherwise impressively written storyline. The fact that the array of options in the dialogue tree falls short of BioWare's previous Mass Effect title only rubs raw during the initial stages of play. By the end I found myself inclined to forgo conversation entirely and simply simply skip ahead, desperate for more action and less stiff, unstimulating talk.
Regardless I feel obliged to point out these failings not because they break the game but because this is a tremendous fountain of entertainment that more than justifies its retail price but still carries significant blemishes. If you were to play Dragon Age everyday for four hours straight it would take you about two weeks to get through a complete single player campaign. There are six unique starting stories to choose from, each with its own flavor of play through (but without uniquely different experiences). This is not an exercise in filler but instead a meticulously designed story that received an obvious level of care from the design team. A certain system of tolerance is required by the older gamer who is already very well experienced with the traditional concepts of Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons style story telling but the subtle attention to detail will reward most players. The last major fault with the game is the bizarre decision by the design team to attach a "skin" of gore to any character recently engaged in melee combat. It is very hard to take a character seriously when they calmly discuss Fereldian politics while looking like they just fell into a tank of tomatoes and suffered an epileptic fit. Note that this can be turned off.
The gameplay mechanics are solid with the only exceptions being that the combat is not as easily paused and therefor tactical as in prior BioWare titles and the difficulty level is wildly varied. At times the player will find themselves cutting though vast swaths of disposable enemies and moving through the story with little true opposition until they are presented with a seemingly impossible task or boss battle. These startling interrupts to the flow of play at times can require the ejection from the level to the world map in order to purchase more potions so one could "potion spam" their way out of that stage of play. This is a recurring theme that is barely justified by the fact that the game allows for on the fly difficulty adjustments.
Bottomline: This game is not a rental, it has enough gameplay hours to not simply justify a purchase but actually demand it. RPG fans will not have a complete library without this game but those who find extensive dialogue and substandard graphics to be tiresome should look elsewhere. If you want immediate action, consistent stimulation and endless hours of free online play for your gaming dollar then you are better served by pursuing on Modern Warfare 2. On the other hand if you desire an immersive, paced story and extensive narrative then Dragon Age is a great deal.
*Immersive and structured storyline
*Full array of classes and skills
*Personal feel to character development
*"Just one more quest" gameplay
*Fulfilling moral decisions
*Excellent voice overs
*Non-linear world map
Subjective qualities and food for thought:
*Not an action game
*Zero free online play but pay-per-play downloadable quests
*J.R.R. Tolkien-esque storyline and Steve Jackson-esque aesthetic
*Simply awful terrain textures and equipment skins
*Stiff character animations
*Overwhelming codex/inventory management system
*Often frustrating, ambiguous dialogue tree
*Silly gore effects
on January 7, 2010
To preface, this game is not for everyone. I put in 37 hours (though I could have done more side quests) and there is a steep learning curve - the instruction manual took me twenty-five minutes to read before playing, haha - but the depth of the world you are placed in is astounding.
BioWare holds nothing back with its products, and this can be vividly seen in Dragon Age. Every environment, every item you find, every conversation with a non-playable character is rich in detail. There were several times where I would stop what I was doing to just look at the beauty of my surroundings, from the high ceilings and statues in palaces to the rocky remains of an underground road. Many items in the game merely provide backstory, adding information to your codex. Someone had to write the paragraphs upon paragraphs in "The History of Ferelden," parts 1 through 10, or the backgrounds of most characters you speak to, and it's there to let you immerse yourself as fully as you want into the Dragon Age universe.
The storyline follows the general high-brow fantasy formula but with many twists along the way. You and three party members (chosen from a group of characters you accumulate on your journey) go on various quests in an attempt to unite the different races of Ferelden against an oncoming attack by the Darkspawn. Along the way, you discover that you have a surprising amount of choice in how you gather your troops, or even which groups end up joining your cause. Do you allow a legendary anvil to persist, knowing that it can create "super soldiers" of men trapped in stone, even though those men are now enslaved? Do you take the easy way out and kill a child to save a village? I was amazed at the number of choices I had throughout Dragon Age: Origins and how each of them had implications later in the game.
Combat consists of regular attacks in addition to special abilities that drain stamina or mana. These special abilities depend on which of the three classes you are - warrior, rogue, or mage. Within these classes are specializations that allow you to get even more abilities. Coupled with the three different races (human, dwarf, and elf) and the six different "origins" (the history you give your character, such as a human noble vs. a city elf), Dragon Age has much, much replay value. This is an RPG, so expect plenty of comparisons between different types of armor, staves, boots, swords, etc. etc. etc. Compared to Mass Effect, though, the inventory was very well-organized.
Really, though, the thing that got me about Dragon Age was the surprisingly emotional relationships you form with your party members over the course of your adventure. I found romance between characters to be one of the most interesting parts of gameplay, to the point where I viewed talking with my love interest in camp about her past as satisfying as unleashing lighting on enemies during combat. The voice acting is unparalleled and coupled with the excellent writing, I genuinely felt like these were real people in this epic fantasy world BioWare created. This, in addition to the freedom I had to choose how the adventure unfolded, made me feel like I was somehow in a novel, writing in the details between pages as I gradually progressed towards the ending. I'm really living up Dragon Age but this game was everything I had hoped for and more. The ending (the one I got, at least) left me thinking for hours after I had put down my controller. My only complaint is that I want more, haha.
DON'T play this game if you want a casual gaming experience, a simple dungeon crawler, or lots of nonstop action. This game is long and you really need to dedicate some time to enjoy it. There are some frustrating difficulty spikes, too, which means some parts will take a few tries to get through. Also, it's a bummer but the console versions don't have as good graphics as the computer one. For someone who doesn't have a top-tier gaming computer, though, I found the Xbox 360 experience very satisfactory.
Bottom line: this game has very deep story, satisfying interactions with dozens of characters with their individual histories, fun combat, and it's a fantasy world with monsters and dragons. Also, it's by BioWare, which should be enough to convince you. If you liked Mass Effect, you'll most likely love this game. Coming from someone who was blown away by ME and even more so by DA:O, get this game.
on December 7, 2009
I've spent over 70 hours on this game, and have generally loved it. While sequential in nature, the dialogue and story are terrific, the character development is fun, and the fighting is fairly well done. So why the 1 star review?
There is a bug in the XBox 360 version of the game which causes all of your saves to go corrupt. Worse, this tends to happen very late in the game. This means that after you get around 75% done with the game, you no longer are able to make saves - essentially you've wasted all the time you devoted to Dragon Age. The Bioware social forums are now flooded with people encountering this crippling bug, and NOBODY has received any word from either Bioware or EA. It looks like Bioware's customer service sucks (or EA's customer service sucks), as they aren't even bothering to acknowledge the problem. Many theories abound to what causes this (selling too much loot to the same vendor for instance, or something with the extra content downloads), but the bottom line is I just spent over 70 hours on a game that is now essentially dead.
Until Bioware addresses this problem, I would STRONGLY recommend staying away from the XBox 360 version of the game. Nobody wants to dump a 50+ hours in a game only for it to die near the end. If not for the glitch, and truly horrid customer response, I'd give Dragon Age a solid 4 stars (minor usability and navigation issues on the XBox version make finding the latest story inserts very hard).