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Dragon Age Combat Hands-On and More!

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Dragon Age Combat Hands-On and More!

Preview - posted by Edward_R_Murrow on Tue 12 May 2009, 06:28:23

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age: Origins has a preview of Dragon Age up that focuses on a demo of a combat scenario in the game, namely an encounter against a mage who entered into some Faustian bargain that is described as "one of the hardest bosses in the game." Probably spoiler-ific.
The villain in question was Aldred, a warped magician who has sold his soul to a demon in exchange for some form of evil power. I'll never understand why bad guys insist on making these occult pacts, since they always seem to end badly. In any case, Aldred seemed pretty pleased with himself by the time my party of warriors had caught up with him, gloating and posing in the usual manner of tyrannical bald-headed magicians. A BioWare representative warned me that Mr Aldred was not to be taken lightly, since he's one of the hardest bosses in the game, but luckily I was rather in the mood for a scrap.
The confrontation with Aldred took place on the top floor of the Tower of Magi - home to a faction of important magi(cians). Aldred had been turning the local wizards into grotesque mutants known as abominations, and our heroes were hoping to rescue the pointy-hatted peeps from this predicament in order to secure a bit of future support. As is often the case with BioWare's RPGs, the conflict began with a good bit of chatter, offering the chance to express righteous indignation, a bit of cutting sarcasm or perhaps just a bit of cowardly mewling. Gone is the innovative dialogue wheel from Mass Effect, back is the pure-n-simple list of potential questions and responses. It feels rather old-school, recalling memories of Knights of the Old Republic.
Eventually, the big man went down - leaving my party to lick their wounds. It wasn't the most graceful of battles, but my gang got the job done. Of course, this was only my second encounter of the game, and once you've got a bit of experience you should be able to handle these scraps with a lot more flair and style. During BioWare's own run-through, the demonstrator showed off a technique called "spell stacking" whereby multiple magic attacks are combined to form a single enchanted onslaught. One of these, branded Storm of the Century, seemed to result in the entire room being swirled around in a howling tempest of death (and increased elemental damage). It looked pretty impressive, and I'm looking forward to seeing more.
Having completed the main challenge of the demo, I decided to have a bit of banter with my other party members. From what I can tell it seems as if it will be possible for a romantic sub-plot to develop between you and the foxy Leliana. In typical BioWare fashion, it seemed as I was free to engage in a bit of relationship banter when chatting to the rogue after the fight - either affirming my love for her or explaining that I needed to "take a break".
I sure hope they were lying about this being "one of the hardest bosses in the game", because it doesn't seem so with a guy who has only played the game twice beating him in three tries.

Also, it looks like Dragon Age may be jumping on the canine companion bandwagon with Fallout 3 and Fable 2.
Dogs are an essential part of Ferelden culture, and no dog is more prized than the Mabari. The breed is as old as myth: Said to have been bred from the wolves who served the legendary hero, Dane. Prized for their intelligence and loyalty, these dogs are more than mere weapons or status symbols: The hounds choose their masters, and pair with them for life. To be the master of a Mabari anywhere in Ferelden is to be recognized instantly as a person of worth.
Could just be me jumping to conclusions though...but take's in the characters section, not the creatures one.
Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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