E3 Impression

Dragon Age: Origins


Chris Privitere
Podcast Producer

Hell on Earth and stuff.

Sex and dragons. This was the theme of the Dragon Age demo at E3 this year. Dragon Age: Origins of course has a pedigree from the Baldur's Gate games. While this particular game isn't D&D licensed, many fans have been hoping they'd get a chance to take down large dragons through the course of the game, and BioWare isn't going to disappoint.

The presentation started off with some obvious pandering to fans of BioWare's relationship content in Mass Effect. The hero of the demo walked up to a mage in the party, turned in a quest, and just happened to have enough reputation to "share her tent." While readers will be spared the innuendo heavy dialog, it's obvious that players will be permitted to go pretty far with their party members in this game. And of course, as all choices have consequences, the demo hero got to go have an argument with his second girlfriend, who is well aware of what happened in the tent on the other side of camp.

After dumping her, the player in the demo jumped back in time to show how the quest item allowing all this domestic drama was obtained: by fighting an 800 year old witch. Who can shapeshift. Into a dragon. She was an unpleasant woman voiced by Kate Mulgrew of Voyager fame. It's always sad to see a starship captain die, but at the same time, being eaten by a large dragon is even more unpleasant. So down she had to go, though after already eating several party members. Combat worked as most players of the series would expect, with the player selecting each character in turn, choosing some skills to use on the dragon, and then waiting for any major issues that came up in combat that require the use of more interesting spells or items. In this case, the dragon's many sharp teeth necessitated choosing the mage and casting the raise spell on a fallen member. Oh, and while the witch could turn into a dragon, after the raising of the fallen the mage was able to shape shift into a large spider to poison the dragon. Eventually, even dragons fall, and this one was no exception. As the dragon went down, the main character was able to jump up on her head and run her through with his sword several times, demonstrating the cinematic presentation players can expect when they take down the bosses in this game.

Mmmm, tastes like Baldur's Gate.

After all of this, we were given a chance to get some hands-on with the 360 version of the game. While the demo was nowhere near as interesting as the one that just played in the theater, it did provide a chance to check out the game's controls and look on the 360. The basic flow of combat was cycling through enemies, choosing one to target, and then either just hitting A to go do an attack or picking a special skill with one of the other three face buttons. Then, you could optionally cycle to another party member and do the same while the first character kept working on the monster. You could also just worry about one character most of the time, only switching around when a circumstance called for careful use of a ranged attack, spell, or item.

The game is obviously better looking on the PC that was used for the theater demo, but it's still a fine looking experience on the 360. And while we haven't seen the PS3 version yet, this title is no doubt one RPGamers will want to highly consider picking up on launch day: October 20th 2009.

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· 10.20.2009

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