Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
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
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.
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).
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.
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.