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on 12 November 2009
This review is for the hardback 400 page Collectors version of the Dragon Age Origins Guide.

I don't have the paperback version so cant tell you the exact differences between the two, but the paperback has about 70 pages less and doesn't have the Traveller's Guide (50 pages of back history), Interview with Bioware (5 pages: The designers favourite items and class combos being the most interesting parts in there for me) and finally the Origins Artwork (16 pages: full colour artwork of locations, characters and creatures from the game).

There is a two page contents page at the start which helps with finding things in this large book.

Main Sections in this book are:

How to use this guide
Basics
Character Generation
The Classes
The Party
Companions
Supporting Cast
Equipment
The Bestiary
Walkthrough
Side Quests
Random Encounters
Achievements and Trophies
+ The Collectors content which I mentioned earlier

At the time of this review (a week after the game's release) there is very little online help if you get stuck in the game, so I found the guide very useful in certain situations, I will list a few:

I was stuck on a quest trying to open a box with a key (it was the correct key, but didnt work). Tried to solve this myself for a while, but eventually went to the guide for help and found that I had to do something else before the key would work. By that point I was getting frustrated so definitely helped.

I was ambushed by a large group of a type of creature I hadn't encountered before. I looked up the creature in the guide and it told me they were vulnerable to magic. This helped me to decide how I would fight them.

Info on game mechanics is extremely useful: Some areas you can not return to after completing certain other parts of the game. This enables the player not to neglect an area and find that its "too late" and they cant go back without loading an earlier game.

PROS:
Language used, illustrations and maps are quite clear.
I haven't found any language or content mistakes yet, which is surprising.
Helps you when you get stuck on quests.
Helps you with relationships with companions (very hit/miss without the guide to help)
Helps to know how to deal with creatures (what weapons or magic to use)
Helps you to know when to sell and when to keep items (some items which seem like "vendor trash" can be useful later in the game).
The guide also points out those "key" items in an area that you should make an effort to get before moving on (e.g. the backpack available in Ostagar).
You get a lot of content for your money (400 pages full colour hard back for less than £13).

CONS:
Its not a "complete" guide. Near the start of the game I noticed they missed out listing quite a few items you can find hidden as you enter Ostagar for the first time.

Some quests play out differently depending on what kind of character you created at the start. As a result some quest descriptions don't quite pan out as described.
e.g. starting as a Noble human you can do the Mabari Hound quest in Ostagar, but it doesn't start in the same place and the eventual outcome isn't the same.

The guide splits the main and side quests in to different sections which can be a bit annoying. The main quests guide gives detailed map, guide and quest guide on an area. But, then you have to go off and search for the side quests in another section of the book.

e.g. The Mabari Hound is listed as a side quest in Ostagar, but its guide is found 133 pages forward in the book under the section "Origin Stories".

I guess their thinking is that some people want to skip the sidequests, but I find this a bit strange and think they should have put them all in once place or at least listed where to find them and not just listed the names and left it up to the reader to trawl through the book searching for them.

CONCLUSION:
Overall a very useful book for anyone intending to play the game "seriously" (i.e all the way through - perhaps several times). Time will tell how good the online guides get, but there's so much content in here that its going to take a while for someone to produce all this in an online form that's as easy to refer to.

This hard back version will stay open on its own, so perhaps reason enough to buy over the paper back which I assume will need something heavy put on it to keep it open on your desk.

4 Stars
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on 2 December 2009
This book is a great companion to the Dragon Age game but owning it might ruin your game experience. It would be better bought after you had completed the game once to help you find stuff you missed. If you have it on your first run through the game it is just too tempting not to look at it, in your bid to make your character as hard as possible. Whilst it will happily allow you to achieve this end it will take away the joy of exploration that comes with any new game. So in short, it is a great product, but don't buy it straight away unless you have loads of will power (which I don't).
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on 2 July 2010
Without going overboard on the detail, it suffices to say that as someone who has seen some great RPG strategy guides in the way of Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fable 2, Dragon Age is a very well presented and interesting strategy guide which makes good toilet literature (I confess) but lacks in many areas on the actual guiding of any kind.

The primary quest is well outlined and the guide on the companions is excellent, but all side missions and maps of the areas are very lazy in their work. A simple 'you do this and then this happens' is the best your going to get on any side quest - telling you what the quest is rather than giving you hints or background info, leading me to cry "I know what the quest is, I'm playing it right now!"

The information on lore and the main story is excellent, but feel like they should have been in a completely different book, rather than a game guide - maybe that's just me.

3 stars, brilliant in some places, utterly useless in others.
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on 1 January 2010
The book does what a book walk through can be expected to do. It provides all the spreadsheets and guides to build a great character in any of the classes, it makes sure that you know what to do in any quest without giving away any of the drama of the dialogue. This isn't written in a way that makes you feel that the book wants you to explore and see not the ramblings of someone who has already completed the game.

Remember though it is still a book, it suffers from some issue like no indepth index and some issues where side quests and main quests are not near each other or a user friendly item/armour list for someone who isn't a constant RPG player.

If you are looking for help and a way to experience every ounce of story this game has to offer (and a lot of it) then I would recommend this book, the collector edition adds that little bit more of the universe to give it a little more of a kick in its well created escapism.
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on 11 April 2013
a great guide for a great game it covers everything that you need to know. a especially liked the very detailed history sectionwhich helps flesh out the game and also the development art which shows you all the ideas
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on 22 January 2010
As others have already said: don't buy this guide unless you've already finished the game at least once. You may stumble across information that will spoil your game. But other than that it is very clear and useful with a lot o explanation for different game mechanics (especially the consequences of your actions). The collector's edition also ahs an incredible backstory section, which i find to be most interesting. If you like the game and want to play it again, get this guide
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on 8 January 2010
One of the best game guides I've seen. The cover is beautiful, and the art inside the guide is great as well. Many useful information about character classes, skills, tactics... Full walkthrough for all missions with maps. At the last part of the guide, which is only for the Collectors Edition, you can find many useful information about the world of Thedas and all nations and races in it. Also history and important events in the world, interview with BioWare and few extra pages with amazing art. A must buy for every Dragon Age fan.
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on 14 December 2009
excellent guide for the game. but dont get your hopes up for the extras in thiscollectors version, the art is not the best and the paper doesnt help. maybe save a few quid and put it towards dlc instead! Game guide is great though
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on 30 May 2010
A great accompaniment to the game, stuck on where things are then everything is on hand with this book.
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on 7 July 2011
This guide is not bad but its not great either. I would say save your money and buy the standard guide. The book isnt bad but its lacking a lot considering the price. Collectors would probably enjoy it though.
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