It can often times prove to be difficult to find games where you feel like your choices truly matter. I find that when you make an action or a choice you really want to see that outcome of your decision. Most games aren’t that way and you just choose whatever and no matter what, the end result is always the same. That’s where Dragon Age comes in.
What is Dragon Age?
Dragon Age is a role-playing game released in 2009 that was developed by the company BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. You begin the game by customizing your character, choosing what race and gender you want to be and choosing a class. Afterwards you go through a trial to become what is known as a ‘Grey Warden’. Throughout the game you must make difficult choices that affect the entire world, meet companions to help keep you alive and put an end to what is to become a blight that may destroy the world. Dragon Age drew inspiration from the popular Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire book series, as well from previous games like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. Dragon Age is a dark fantasy game that will have you hooked from beginning to end.
Top 5 Games like Dragon Age – 2018 List
#5 – Mass Effect
If you’re looking for a futuristic game similar to Dragon Age, then you should definitely check out Mass Effect. Set in the year 2183, Mass Effect has the player in control of Commander Shepard, a war hero who is now an army veteran. You are tasked with commandeering a ship known as the SSV Normandy and through the use of alien technology that has recently been discovered you are able to travel at warp speeds all throughout the galaxy. As the main character you are assigned objectives and must travel from planet to planet in order to complete these assignments. With the help of members of your squad, some of whom aren’t even human; you make your way through the game choosing your own fate and the fate of others around you.
The neat thing about Mass Effect and something that Dragon Age fans can relate to is how the choices in this game matter in every aspect. Although the main character is Commander Shepard, you can provide details about his life that ultimately affect the entire game. Outside of being able to fully customize the character (including gender) you can provide additional characteristics about his background that will affect dialog, quests and other variables that the game offers. The choices in this game very much affect the outcome of the plot and can even shift how your fellow soldiers react towards you. The HUD comes equipped with a dialog pie chart of sorts that has Commander Shepard reacting to conversations in more of an emotional way. The developers of Mass Effect decided to go this route as they didn’t want to clutter the screen with dialog that often takes time to read and digest into the players’ memory. This means the player can focus more on game play and less time having to read. In the long term, the way you react to certain circumstances will affect your morality system. This is sort of like a good / evil system that you can see in certain games, except it’s not as black and white. The game takes a more professional route in terms of military which I find to make more sense within the context of the game.
The combat is a nice mixture between fast-paced action and strategic choices. When you are in a situation where you need to attack an enemy, you can do so instantly by taking aim and continuously firing a weapon from your arsenal. You can move all around to dodge attacks and strike your enemies down from quite a distance. You also have friendly squad members by your side but you can’t physically control them like you can Commander Shepard. Instead, they typically stray behind you and fire their weapons from a distance. You can, however, navigate them around the area to attack from different angles or take cover from enemy fire. Commander Shepard is in command of a wide-variety of weapons to choose from including pistols, shotguns, rifles and grenades. Depending on what situation you’re in, you can use your mouse or gaming controller to shift between your weapons at any time. Each weapon has its own perks but all weapons come equipped with unlimited ammunition.
Just because the game has a futuristic setting, doesn’t mean it can’t do what other traditional role-playing games (RPGs) do. Mass Effect has its own set of unique classes to choose from which again, affects both game play and the outcome of the game itself.
Mass Effect has been well received by both critics and audiences alike. The general consensus is that the game prides itself on allowing the player to choose their outcome based on how they want the game to proceed. The game was released in 2007 and since then has already had two sequels. When you purchase the sequels you can load your save file from the previous entry so that you may continue as your original character.
#4 – Fable
Fable is one of those games that you just can’t help but fall in love with. Released all the way back in 2004, Fable has gone on to become one of the most beloved Xbox/Xbox 360 exclusive games, spawning two sequels in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Production for the game took over four years and saw more than 100 developers working on it throughout that time. The reason it took so long is because lead director Peter Molyneux stated multiple times that Fable was going to be the greatest game of all time, so they really wanted to put in the time to make it perfect. Although a lot of the things he promised (like the titular character having children) never made it to the final version of the game, Fable was still praised by critics.
The plot of Fable has a lot to do with destiny and the game play has a lot to do with player choices. The game begins with the players town being raided by bandits but is saved by a mysterious figure who foresees greatness in your future. As you grow older you learn to fight and eventually you are sent off on a mission to infiltrate the bandits that destroyed your home all those years ago.
Throughout the game you will make choices that don’t so much affect the plot but more so how your character is developed. Yes, there are certain times where you can make choices whether or not to let people die or not but for the most part the game revolves around you, the player. The game is very much black and white when it comes to good vs. evil. If you have a tendency to defeat monsters, help people, take on quests, pray to the good temple and wear light clothing, you will be seen as a hero. Your body will reek of goodness, people will praise you in the streets and you will even acquire a halo above your head. If you are evil, the exact opposite comes true. If you spill the blood of the innocent, help bandits, look menacing in dark clothing and pray to the evil temple then people will fear you. They will run from you. You will grow dark and cold and grow horns. It’s a great system that really makes you rethink how you want your character to look. Speaking of which your physical appearance can also change based on how you interact with the environment. If you delve in the art of magic you will mysteriously gain tattoos, if you eat too much you will get fat and if you drink too much you will become sick. The developers obviously wanted a game where players can create their own unique experience and it really paid off with Fable.
The combat system is something else that should be praised. You have a wide variety of melee and ranged weapons to choose from. Should you focus on melee you can raise your strength levels, should you focus on ranged you can raise your dexterity levels and should you focus on magic you can raise your will. The action is very fast paced and often time’s enemies will engage you out of nowhere.
If you’re looking to get into the series then feel free to check out Fable but if I were you I’d play Fable II first. That is the game I started with and I just found it better and it doesn’t mess with the storyline or become confusing at all if you start with the second. There’s more to do. The jobs are more fun. The dog is cuter. There is just a lot more about the game to experience.
#3 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Let’s be honest here. Who hasn’t at least one time in their lives pretended they were either a Jedi Knight or a Sith Lord? Having the power to wield a light saber and use mind tricks on people sure would make life easier. Sadly it won’t ever really happen but you can always stretch your imagination and play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR) instead.
This isn’t just your typical game based on a cinematic franchise. I find the majority of games that are based on movies to be rather underwhelming. KoToR is different in that it is set 4,000 years before the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, leaving lots of room for the developers to give the player things never before seen in the Star Wars universe before. This was vital to the success of the game considering I don’t think anyone wants to play as young Anakin Skywalker. Instead, what LucasArts delivered to us was an entire new experience and chapter to the Star Wars saga.
The game begins with the player being able to choose a male or female force user and customize them slightly based on how they feel they should look. Story wise, the titular character has no memory of whom or what they are and it is up to you to determine what exactly is going on in the universe and how you fit in. The game plays similar to Mass Effect in the sense that combat is very fast-paced so you don’t have to worry about drawn out matches. This also has its disadvantages as you don’t have much time to react if you’re being overpowered by enemies but luckily you are given some companions to help you on your quest.
The setting of the game is typical Star Wars fashion but considering how far in the past it is compared to the cinematic universe, it opens up a lot of options to explore new planets. While the player-character doesn’t know much about his or her self, you do know that you are a force user. Your main weapon is of course your light saber but just like other force users you are able to unlock other force powers which is pretty typical in RPGs. The choices you make in this game absolutely matter as you can mold your character to be a Jedi Knight(hero) or Sith Lord (villain) which will affect both your appearance and your standing with other factions. Other familiar aspects include wookiees, droids, certain planets and bounty hunters. While playing through this game you really get the sense that you have been sucked into the Star Wars universe.
Development for KoToR officially began in late 1999 and when it was released in autumn 2003 it met with critical acclaim by mostly everyone. In total, KoToR won nearly 40 ‘Game of the Year’ awards from review companies all around the world. The sequel, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was released a year after the original. While it met with favorably positive reviews, a third install to the franchise was never made. The Star Wars MMO The Old Republic was released in 2011 but unfortunately most people find its lack of being a good game disturbing.
#2 – Dark Souls
So you’re looking for a game that is really easy. A game you can pick up whenever and just mess around for half an hour and be done. A game where you know you’re never going to die and worry about losing everything you’ve been collecting. If that’s what you want then stop reading now because Dark Souls is quite literally the exact opposite of that.
Released in 2011, Dark Souls will take you on one hell of a ride. The player starts out being locked inside a cell when a lowly knight comes along and saves you. You find out you are connected to a foretold prophesy that consists of a ‘chosen undead’ saving the world from demons. Now you must diverge on a quest to complete your mission and make your way through the open world environment and defeat several bosses along the way. By the end of the game you are forced to make those important choices that affect your future in the game and the fate of the entire world.
The main aspect in Dark Souls is exploring. The developers of the game spent tons of effort into making a gigantic over world for the player to get lost in. You’re going to need to be very careful when exploring as encountering demons and fighting mini-bosses requires strategy. The game prides itself on being very difficult. There’s a learning curve and if you have a tendency to get pissed off when you die in a video game (we’ve all been there) then be alerted that this game will get under your skin.
While Dark Souls has some pretty interesting lore, the plot of the game is very minimal and you focus more on combat instead of following an in-depth storyline. But don’t let that take anything away from the game, as it is regarded by many as one of the most important games of the past decade. The combat does make up for the lack of story with some very intriguing features. The titular character has two forms – a human form and that of a hollow. When you’re human you do your typical fighting and such and when you die (which will happen, trust me) you are turned into a hollow form which can still progress through the game but most likely you’re going to want to return to your human form. When you kill a demon you take its soul and the more souls you take the more experience you earn. You can also spend souls at bonfires for equipment purposes, amongst saving and other options but keep in mind that any time you use a bonfire, all the demons you previously killed will return to their original place.
If you’re not ready to play Dark Souls or any of its sequels, but you are still interested in the game, then you should check out Demon’s Souls. Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls and is very much an old-school type game. While it is the original game, you are going to need a PlayStation 3 to play it.
#1 – Dragon’s Dogma
And finally we have reached the end of our list. Dragon’s Dogma is a game I feel is very underrated and it may surprise you to learn that Capcom is the developer behind this hidden gem. The lead director behind Dragon’s Dogma actually began dreaming of this game when he was a child. Back then something this impressive could never happen but now with advanced technology the game was able to be developed. Released in 2012, Dragon’s Dogma is a hack and slash styled combat game that both looks and feels very similar to Dragon Age.
You start the game off by being able to completely customize your character. Similar to Dragon Age, you are able to choose one out of nine classes to perform as with each class having their own unique perks and skill sets. Another thing that is similar to Dragon Age is the companion system. Rather than companions you have what are known as ‘Pawns’. These pawns are characters that will aid you in battle. The neat thing about pawns is how powerful they can become. If you are diligent in training them, eventually they will become so strong that you won’t ever need to fight in the game anymore. You can just sit back and relax and enjoy the game while exploring.
The team behind Dragon’s Dogma knew if this was to be a successful game they would need to incorporate more than just good combat. They combined a mixture of things found in all genres of games. The world in Dragon’s Dogma is very open and filled with tons of different monsters you can defeat. It’s sort of like Monster Hunter in a way that combat is very detailed and you can strike a monster down by attacking any part of their body. You can also fight gigantic monsters or even climb them which is something you don’t really see in games. There is a wide variety of aspects involved in Dragon’s Dogma and Capcom themselves stated they drew inspiration from all of their previous games.
Reception for Dragon’s Dogma was strong and it has gone on to sell more than two million copies worldwide. That is actually very well for a game that is completely new without any build-up whatsoever behind it.
And there you have the top five games like Dragon Age. I tried focusing on several different aspects to find five games that can match the creativity behind Dragon Age. The main feature though is I wanted five games that have choices that matter. I didn’t want just a bunch of repetitive gameplay or storylines that get old.
Have you played any of the above games? Let me know in the comments below.