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Dragon Age: Origins – hands-on

We reckon Dragon Age’s real strengths will only become apparent when we get to venture out into its world proper and activate a few dialogue trees on the go. Greg Zeschuk has already claimed Origins conjures ‘the spirit of Baldur’s Gate’, so we’re hoping for stellar inter-party banter in which we not only get to romance a couple of choice witchy women, but also lock horns with love rivals and perhaps even come to blows with some of our more tempestuous recruits.

The omens are promising – we’re already digging henna-tattooed, testosterone-fuelled young buck warrior Alistair and super-evil, super-sexy sorceress Morgan. As to whether they’ll match up to legendary Baldur’s combo Minsc & Boo or Knights of the Old Republic’s psycho droid HK-47, only release date will tell.

Given BioWare’s unrivalled reputation in the role-playing arena, we’re also expecting some tricky moral dilemmas to rear up along the way. Greg Zeschuk is adamant that how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ these decisions are will be quite veiled in Origins, encouraging you to mess around with characters’ lives. You’ll also have the additional dilemma of having to manage inter-party squabbles that not only reduce your efficiency in combat situations, but actually threaten to rend your entire party asunder. This sounds deeply intriguing, but that’s all the spoilsport would let slip for the moment.

One thing’s for sure though; when it comes to the quality of RPG-related narrative and dialogue, BioWare aren’t just the best in the business, they’re the best by a country mile. As it stands, Dragon Age Origins is a frustratingly unknown quantity, but having played a little part of it, we can’t help feeling all kinds of excited.

Aug 28, 2009