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Dragon Age: Origin (Bioware, XBox360, [...].

Byline: Ewan Ross

Dragon Age: Origin (Bioware, XBox360, Ps3, PC, pounds 44.99) I''VE always been of the mind that if you're going to spend the best part of 50 quid on a game you should at least get your money''s worth in hours of play. In RPG terms it should work out to about pounds 1 per hour you''ll get out of it.

Frequently though RPGs feature fantastic openings but tail off into something shorter, which is why I''ve always been a fan of Square''s Final Fantasy series; ie: Money given - hours received.

But Dragon Age: Origin has set a new benchmark for this standard and after almost 70-80 hours play I still haven''t even scratched the surface of this baby.

Dragon Age is the latest Bioware release and has taken over as the new Baldur''s Gate of fantasy games.

The story sets you as one of three different classes of hero - human, elf and dwarf. You then have to help a resistance force stop demons from destroying the Earth. In a story that''s about as epic as Lord Of The Rings, you have to fight your way through legions of monsters to the heart of this menace.

The problem with a 300 word review of this title is that there simply isn''t room for the details.

There are so many things you can do in this game it''s mind-boggling - customising your character, advancing through skill sets and taking part in battles that are truly epic. Every decision you make will shape the outcome and the way that others in this world will treat you.

Dragon Age has been released simultaneously on both consoles and PC. Depending on what you prefer - if you have the choice - you should purchase a version that will suit your play style. Console versions, while a little clunky, allow for greater action and fighting. The PC version however is a little more polished and allows for combat decisions to be taken while the game is paused - ie: micro-management strategy style.

Bioware has also made this game exclusively for downloadable content, so it''s unlikely that once you''ve finished you''ll ever really complete it.

With a stack of extras, deep storyline and nice graphics this is a worthwhile purchase for anyone who''d prefer a quest on the weekends. There is more here than most will ever need and is definitely worth the price tag.

9/10 - Return of the King Way Of The Samurai 3 (Aquire, XBox360, pounds 34.99) HACK ''n'' slash games are always fun and The Way Of The Samurai series has had a nice little niche to exploit with sword fights and historical story lines.

The games though have always just missed the mark in terms of fluidity and this third part in the saga seems to have followed suit.

That''s not to say this is a bad game and if tearing through a free roaming adventure, dealing out justice for all with a three foot razor blade is your thing, this is quite a nice game to try.

Set in the Sengoku era Way Of The Samurai 3 puts you in the sandals of a Ronin who wakes up after his army has been annihilated. His job is to regain his honour by any means and bring an end to the force that wiped his brothers out.

Although the game seems fairly simple at heart, there is quite a lot of depth here. Completing missions requires the Samurai code of conduct and will sometimes only have you apologising to fulfil this. Yes, it''s a bit weird, but if it gets you the honour points you need, then so be it.

There is a lot of fun to be had here, but the negatives do surface quite a lot. The upgrade system is far from intuitive and the missions do get a little bizarre. The control system also gets bogged down a little and fighting multiple opponents will sometimes result in you losing your head purely because of bad game mechanics.

This isn''t a bad game but worth renting before you buy.

5/10 - Swordinarily average
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2009
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