Most magic systems in games are "prepackaged". You have spells, and they are basically treated the same as guns, grenades, medkits, etc. You have a spell, you point it, you fire it. It's not really very... "magical". It's more... "I-just-bought-a-new-gunical".
Because magic is indistinguishable from guns and medkits, you can treat it in the same way as you would treat guns and medkits. For example, if your game is narrative-heavy, you can simply make anyone not actively an enemy immune to all magic. This is especially obvious in Dragon Age, where you can fill a room with fire but the enemies within won't feel a thing because you haven't talked to them and determined that they are enemies, yet.
Dragon Age doesn't want to have a more complicated or diverse magic system. It doesn't have a simulationist world, why would it have a simulationist magic system?
But for those of us that like some level of immersion, there are three other ways of handling magic.
One is programmatic magic. Programmatic magic is magic which the player builds out of components (such as runes). The upside of programmatic magic is that it's relatively easy to put into your game, so long as all the physical objects and living entities follow the same rules. The downsides are that the clever player will be absurdly overpowered, and that the programming is probably either too simplistic to really get cool magic out of it, or so absurdly complex they might as well be programming the game.
Another is psychic magic. Psychic magic allows the player to direct the spell to do anything within its realm of possibility with great grace. In a tabletop game such as Mage or Nobilis, the player might simply say, "Oh, I summon a soot-covered raven to deliver a message to the high wizard." That's not so easy in a computer game, but you can still get away with allowing the player to direct the spell personally, such as telekinesis spells which allow you to move objects specifically how you like.
The third kind of magic is narrative magic, which basically takes the magic out of the control of the player and makes it... mystical. Semi-predictable. For example, if the player can make wishes of a genie, or summon the spirit of luck, the player might be able to give simple directives, but the effect is controlled by the needs of the story. Since narrative magic doesn't easily fit into a statistical world (even more poorly than psychic magic), it's not very popular. Also, it makes the GM have to do a lot more work, coming up with the exact results of everything.
There's a fourth kind of magic, sort of: passive magic. This is a magic effect that is not controlled by the player to affect the world. An example of passive magic would be an immunity to fire, or the ability to see treasure chests. However, passive magic gets along well with any given other kind of magic, so I won't treat it separately right now.
While narrative magic is the least popular at the moment, I can see it gaining some popularity as we create algorithms for making it work. Plus, it's really the best alternative to psychic magic in a world where the player has to interface using a mouse and keyboard instead of his brain.
As an example, I'll pop back to Star Wars. Play any Star Wars game, and your Jedi is encouraged to buy
Now, I'm obviously glossing over some tiny, insignificant little details like how to implement narrative magic. I'll post on that matter soonish, but I'd love to hear your opinions.