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Dragon Age: Origins - PAX Impression

Dragon Age: Origins
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 11.03.2009 (PC/360)

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Welcome to the Grey Wardens

Despite multiple game impressions already posted on RPGamer, BioWare continues to lure us back with all new experiences. For PAX, it was clear that this wasn't your typical demo. We knew there would be a line as soon as the doors opened, so Chris and I took advantage of the media time to try out Dragon Age: Origins for ourselves.

"We already knew the game would be good, but BioWare took it that extra mile to make the entire experience memorable."

We were ushered into a dark room where a Grey Warden stood before us. He welcomed us, but could not allow us to join the ranks of the Grey Wardens until we proved ourselves worthy. We must collect three vials of darkspawn blood, then hurry through the area to the camp. We had thirty minutes to complete the quest. If successful, we would be welcomed as one of the Grey Wardens. Failure resulted in quiet expulsion from the camp to try another day. Chris and I exchanged a look, then accepted the quest.

We were allowed to enter the game room and sit down at the Xbox 360. As soon as we started, the clock began. I dove right into it, leading my group down the path. We quickly took care of the wild wolfs and the mindless darkspawn who couldn't even raise a challenge. I quickly gathered up my three vials and proceeded along the path to camp. I came upon a bridge and crossed without thinking. I was quickly snared into a trap. Without mobility, I was cut down by archers and mages. My inexperience handling multiple characters made me an easy kill. I put the controller down and turned to the BioWare representative. He looked at the screen and smirked. "You have fifteen minutes," is all he offered for advice. I had to start over, but I wasn't done just yet.

As I started again, I was given a few more tips for controlling my characters. Pressing both shoulder buttons allows me to control everyone at once, allowing for focused attacks. This was very helpful. He then explained how to quickly swap and heal my characters; also very helpful. Since I knew the way, I rushed down the path, cutting down anything in my path. I got to the bridge and took out the archer on the left, then went after the mage who started to run. Since I had no way to call my team back, I simply followed behind as my two melee characters took down the mage and were then taken out by a heavily armored dark knight. Playing a quick game of cat and mouse, my rogue and mage took out the knight and then gathered on the other side of the bridge. Our melee got back up and we healed. I asked for a time check and I had eight minutes. The only problem was, I didn't know where to go.

I took off, running up the hill, hoping it's the right direction. I've heard I've completed the hardest battle, so I'm confident I can win--maybe too confident. I am ambushed from both sides and again my melee members go down quickly. I look around and see two darkspawn, so I charge them while sending my rogue to charge the other two. We make quick work of them and rejoin on the path, where once again our fallen comrades join up. We're covered in blood and look rather sinister, but we are victorious. I enter the camp with my head held high; and with five minutes to spare. I turn and see Chris next to me, having finished only minutes before.

We were lead to a room where the same knight as before greeted us. He asked if we were willing and able to become part of the Grey Wardens. I eagerly accepted the honor and donned the colors of the Grey Wardens. He marked our foreheads with blood and we were escorted in front of the dragon statue, where we could finally be accepted as a Grey Warden.

We already knew the game would be good, but BioWare took it that extra mile to make the entire experience memorable. This makes me want the game all the more, but we'll have to wait until November.

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