For a game called Dragon Age: Origins, the game has very few actual dragons in it. But when they show up, oh man do they present a problem. And no dragon poses a greater problem than the Archdemon Urthemiel, the game’s final boss.
Like other Bioware titles of a similar structure, the player spends the bulk of the game making preparations for the sake of this final moment. Forming a solid group of adventurers is just the first step; alliances must be forged, betrayals must be punished (or committed), and racial tensions must be overcome. Once all of the pieces are in play and the other worries have either been dealt with or forced aside, the Warden must lead her (male Wardens are for suckers) forces against the last remaining tides of Darkspawn and the Archdemon itself.
The Archdemon, being a dragon capable of flight, is kind of a pain to fight. I fully admit that I did not play this portion of the game on a particularly challenging difficulty; I played it on the easiest, in fact. After a frustrating evening trying to navigate the Fade, I said screw it and ratcheted the setting down to casual. (Aside: Whoever designed the Fade is a sadist.) Perhaps there’s more strategy involved on the higher difficulties, or at least a better strategy than the one I ended up adopting; running around like an idiot and trying not to die as my elven allies did most of the work for me.
Bows are awesome. Beyond that, I did what damage I could and quaffed an entire inventory of healing potions because I had somehow managed to get all the way to the end of the game without anyone capable of casting a freaking healing spell. What? Don’t look at me like that. It’s not my fault Wynne attacked me. I wasn’t even trying to pick a fight.
So, to summarize, elves, running, occasional stabbing, healing potions. All that was missing was whimsical calliope music to truly set the mood, or perhaps Yakety Sax. In other words, don’t come to me for good strategies on how to beat this game. I will either get you killed, or a role in a Benny Hill sketch.
Be that as it may, there are a surprising number of outcomes to this fight. When the time comes, you can either choose to deal the final blow to the Archdemon yourself, or leave that task for one of your Warden allies. Whoever deals the finishing blow dies, because being a Grey Warden sucks. That is of course, unless you either agree to have sex with Morrigan the night before (because you’re a guy Warden), or you sweet-talk Alistair into a night of awkward witch lovin’ because you’re a girl. (And also because seeing the uncomfortable look on Alistair’s face at the very idea is worth it.)
But once Morrigan is knocked up, she performs a ritual that allows all of the Wardens involved to get out of the final battle alive. And if you’re anything like me, you get a happy ending with Alistair as king, you as queen, and a willful desire to disregard Dragon Age II in its entirety.