previews\ May 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Dragon Age Origins - PC - Preview 2

Pre-E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

BioWare has long been one of the premier development houses when it comes to the RPG genre, having created such beloved games as Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect. Therefore, it should be no surprise that gamers are currently anxiously awaiting their upcoming PC title, Dragon Age Origins, a game that looks to take the modernized gameplay mechanics and graphical styles of BioWare’s most recent titles and apply it to a Baldur’s Gate-style setting.

At a recent EA event held in LA, the Dragon Age Origins was on hand and playable for press. We played through one of the game’s tougher battles, in which we had to take out an evil Mage named Uldred, who was on a campaign to corrupt other mages into evil abominations to do his bidding. Therefore it was up to you and your group of warriors to confront him.

The battle was quite difficult, but did display the game’s combat system quite well. The battle system was very fast-paced and played out in real-time, and the on-screen chaos and intensity made it feel as though the combat had more in common with a World of Warcraft raid than Baldur’s Gate. The interface was also very MMO-like, using the mouse-keyboard combo and having the player select between special spells and attacks using the number keys and then selecting an enemy to start prepping the attack.

Another key component in the game’s combat is switching between your party members. In the boss battle, we had access to four different warriors, which we could switch between on the fly, with the AI picking up the slack for the other three characters. The AI works pretty competently and plays on the strengths of your classes, but it can be fun to switch things around between your characters.

As in other BioWare titles like Mass Effect, Dragon Age Origins relies on a dynamic conversation system, where you’ll have to choose specific options while talking with NPCs in order to get a certain response from them.

With intense action and fast-paced combat, Dragon Age: Origins is shaping up to be every bit as exciting and engaging as fans would hope, while keeping the magic that makes BioWare’s games so timeless. Look for it to launch this fall.

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