Starting today, BioWare's medieval fantasy RPG Dragon Age: Origins can be downloaded for free. EA is giving it away as part of their ongoing "On The House" promotion for Origin.

Yes, you need Origin for this promotion. Boo, hiss, etc. I know you'd probably rather get the game on Steam or some other digital platform. Still, you're saving $20 through this promotion so there's not much reason to complain.

One other "catch" is that this is the Standard Edition of Dragon Age: Origins rather than the Ultimate Edition. This means you won't get the Awakening expansion or the nine DLC packs released for the game. Still, as I said: free game.

In Dragon Age: Origins, the player must save the world from a ravenous horde known as the Darkspawn. They'll travel throughout the country of Ferelden to convince various factions to join together. During their journey, players can befriend or even fall in love with their companions.

The game mixes elements from previous BioWare games. It features the tactical, party-based combat of Baldur's Gate as well as the choice-driven plot of Mass Effect. The game also brought its own unique contribution: origin stories. At the start of the game, the player chooses between six backgrounds for their character. For example, you could be a Magi, City Elf or Dwarf Noble. Each origin story has distinct introductory scenes and quests that lead into the main plot.



I've always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Dragon Age: Origins. The branching storyline and characters were very memorable thanks to BioWare's sharp writing. However, Dragon Age's world always felt a little generic to me. It was as though Dragon Age started out as a D&D game and then had to be hurriedly edited when the licensing agreement fell through.

That said, Origins is a great RPG and worth checking out even when it's not free. If you don't end up liking it, rest assured that you would've liked Dragon Age 2 far less.

The "On The House" freebies offered by EA are only available for a limited time. Dragon Age: Origins, for example, will only be free until October 14th. However, as long as you add the game to your account by then, you'll be able to download and play it as long as you like. Previous "On The House" games include Dead Space and Battlefield 3.

Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third game in the series, will be released on PC and consoles in November.

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