Those who come here regularly know I've really fallen in love with Dragon Age: Origins , which is especially great because I was starting to think my age-old love of RPGs had disappeared. After all, the last RPG – outside of Lost Odyssey – that really attached itself to me was Final Fantasy XII .
Being a massive FF fan, I play all FFs and usually do everything there is to do in every installment. But there was a time I did that with most all RPGs; I'd play them almost exclusively during the PS1 days and while my tastes expanded in the PS2 generation, role-playing was still my favorite genre. And in FFXII, I spent a good 100 hours and even took down Yaizmat. …but since then, the RPGs that really "got" me, so-to-speak, have been few and far between; I know Demon's Souls was stellar but that just wasn't my thing, and I've never liked the ones like Oblivion and Fallout 3 . So Dragon Age: Origins comes along and in five days, I realize I've spent 18 hours playing it and I have difficulty putting the controller down. On Saturday, I stood up after a 5-hour gaming session (the absolute longest in years) and said, "man, haven't done that since FFXII." And then…it hit me. I was playing FFXII…only in a Dungeons & Dragons environment.
I'm certainly not accusing Bioware of ripping anything off; that's just absurd. It's not like we hadn't seen this type of style and/or gameplay before FFXII and in fact, one could even make the argument that FFXII was trying to be more like Western RPGs. But even so, the similarities really are interesting: the combat is that same real-time hack 'n slash format that allows you to pause at any time by bringing up in-game menus. You can switch to other party members whenever you wish but when governed by AI, they perform the actions outlined in their set Tactics (or in FFXII, Gambits, which are exactly the same thing). Even the world layout is similar; the areas you explore are about the same size, as are the towns and cities and the only significant difference is that Origins has a world map where you select locations, while in FFXII, it was more of a full, seamless world you continued to explore.
No, Origins doesn't have the Licenses and all that and of course, the environments and storyline are immensely different. But in how you play the game – everything from how the combat functions to exploration to fulfilling secondary objectives – Origins feels a looooot like FFXII. I still miss my favorite mechanic (turn-based), which is probably why the only RPG I've completed this generation is Lost Odyssey , but at least I can pause in the other two games in question, and I just love how things progress. It's a nice combination of story and freedom and one I can really get into. I'm just saying: if you liked FFXII, I'd be very surprised if you don't like Origins . Same idea, fellow RPG aficionados.
Related Game(s): Dragon Age: Origins