Ardwulf Plays: Dragon Age Origins Episode 3 – Ostagar

An unplanned but thankfully temporary internet outage has delayed Episode 3 of our Dragon Age: Origins playthrough, but here it is! In this episode I continue the first part of the storyline, having escaped from the stifling clutches of the Circle.

Now in the ancient fastness of Ostagar, I find a merchant to sell off my unwanted loot and accept a task from the Kennel Master, who is trying to aid an ailing Mabari hound. After that I meet up with Alastair, the Grey Wardens’ previous new recruit and a former Templar, who maybe isn’t quite as funny as he thinks he is.

Meeting up with our leader Duncan and two other recruits, Daveth and Ser Jory, we are tasked with venturing into the nearby Korcari Wilds to find three vials of Darkspawn blood needed for the upcoming Grey Warden ritual, as well as some ancient documents lost long ago by the Order.

Graphically, I think that Dragon Age: Origins, released in 2009, hasn’t aged all that well in five years. This may be the result of being designed primarily with the limitations of consoles in mind… in fact, I first played it on the PS3, but saw immediately that I would enjoy it more on the PC. There is a nice parity between the gameplay graphics and the in-engine cutscenes (of which there are a lot,) but most of the characters walk with a stiff gait and look kind of plasticky. Not a big deal, and it’s by no means an ugly game, but it’s not up to current standards for this kind of thing, and in fact I think Bioware’s own Mass Effect, released two years earlier, holds up considerably better.

Where DA:O does shine spectacularly, though, is in the wonderful Inon Zur soundtrack (available on Spotify!) which is cinematic, thematically unified, complex, alternatingly somber, moody and exciting and just all together really well done. I would say that it’s one of my favorite video game soundtracks.

Stay tuned for episode 4, due on Monday!

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