It's better on PC

Two months ago I got Dragon Age: Origins in from Gamefly for Xbox 360. I played maybe five hours of it before sending it back. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that Dragon Age: Origins is a PC game. As well designed as they were, the radial menu and hotkey options felt like clumsy substitutes for a keyboard and mouse. I also knew that a zoomed out camera view would make navigation and combat easier, and a good deal more fun, and those are only available on PC. There was just one problem: my PC sucked.

I bought it in late 2009 from Dell. While I sunk a lot into the processor, RAM and other features, I went with the wimpiest video card available. I figured I only needed enough to help my Adobe programs run smoothly. I was a console gamer, I couldn’t afford to keep up with PC gaming. Cut to 2011, my friend Noah, an experienced PC gamer, showed me a card that wasn’t expensive—under 100 bucks—and would suit my on and off PC gaming. I contemplated it for a couple of months and finally pulled the trigger last week. I bought a Radeon 5670, and Noah installed it for me (I’ve installed a video card before, but I’d much rather trust the process to someone with more knowledge than me).

It’s not the newest, most powerful card, but it gets the job done. I figured if my Xbox 360 is running on 2005 tech and I’m just fine with the visuals that thing outputs, a 2009 video card should work great. And it does, I get console-level graphics (sometimes better) without breaking my budget.

Of course the first thing I did was hop on Steam and pick up Dragon Age: Origins. I sunk around eight hours into it over the last three days, and yes, it is much, much better on PC.

I now understand why my wife has to look down at the buttons when she plays Xbox with me. I’m not used to gaming on my PC. That built-in familiarity—the hard coded understanding of unwritten rules, limits and laws—that I have with console gaming doesn’t translate flawlessly to PC. I have the difficulty set to easy and my progress is slow. Still, I’m having a great time with it.

I even installed four mods, which was much easier than I thought it would be. I installed a hair mod so my mage, Garrett, wouldn’t look like every other doofus sporting the same hair style, then I installed the universal dye kit so I could change the color of armor at will. I also installed an invisible helmet mod so I could get the benefit of wearing the game’s many goofy helmets without having to see them. Finally I installed the camp storage chest for my excess loot. I think after I finish the first play through I’ll go for more game changing mods, like Dragon Age Redesigned. I was tempted to use it now since I find it incredibly unnerving to walk into a town and find every person there standing still with perfect posture. Apparently DA Redesigned makes it so people actually move about the town, like real people. But I think it’s best if I experience the game as the developers intended first before I start mucking with the mechanics and overall design.

Anyways, if you haven’t played the first Dragon Age yet and you have the ability to play it on PC, I highly recommend it. I’ve played it on a console, it’s better on PC.