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Dragon Age Preview At Bit-Tech

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Dragon Age Preview At Bit-Tech

Preview - posted by Edward_R_Murrow on Tue 19 May 2009, 07:55:14

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age: Origins

Yet another Dragon Age preview has surfaced, this time over at Bit-Tech. It seems to be from the same demo shown to other members of the press that contained the possessed mage boss battle, though they do chime in with some additional information.
To offer a brief recap on the story though, Dragon Age: Origins is the story of your attempts to build an army. Players are cast as part of a secret society that exists to defend the high-fantasy world from demons – specifically a demon army called The Blight. Once a proud and well-respected group of warriors and paladins, your society of Grey Wardens has fallen into decadence and decay by the time you join up and all those kingdoms that once pledged allegiance to your cause have forgotten all about you.
Hmmm...find X amount of plot devices before opening up an end chapter? Where have I heard of that before?
As part of his revenge scheme/attempt to soften enemy forces, he’d pulled all the wizards under his control or into his grasp. It was up to us to end his thrall and decide the fate of the wizards and whether or not they could be trusted with the power they wield. Would it be better to take a handful of easily demonised wizards into battle with us, or a legion of anti-magic knights?
Hopefully this choice actually matters.
There are two main features which distinguish the combat of Baldur’s Gate from that of Dragon Age, with BioWare desperately wanting to focus on one of those two today. They are interactive environments and stackable spell combos, the latter of which was the one BioWare was pushing and both of which are laden with more buzzwords than a marketing executive drowning in TPS reports.
Interactive environments are pretty much just what they sound like and are something we’ve had a chance to fiddle with before in our last Dragon Age: Origins preview, but it’s basically the RPG equivalent of the explosive barrel. There are now specific items in the game world that players can take advantage of, like spilled oil that can be ignited to damage enemies or water-logged areas that can be frozen.

Taking advantage of these environments is never crucial to advancing in the game and, if we’re honest, they aren’t exactly easy to spot either. We’ve gotten so used to the static nature of the environments in RPGs that when fighting enemies at a river crossing our first thought isn’t usually to back them into the stream and hit them with a lightning blast to electrify the water.
And that’s how spells work in Dragon Age: Origins. Spells can cause reactions in the environment, as we mentioned earlier, but they can also interact with each other if you plan your moves carefully. Using a Grease spell to blanket an area in flammable and then setting the whole thing ablaze is only the tip of the iceberg too. Using spell combos you can steamroll and snowball your effects together in a number of different ways, none of which are listed when the game starts and all of which have to be unlocked through experimentation.
Still seems promising, but could turn out to be nothing more than gimmicks.
The issue of whether or not spell combos really belong in an RPG like Dragon Age: Origins is still a thorny one though, as while the effect is undoubtedly cool and unique among the genre, it also causes a bit of a disconnect between the player and the world. The world of Dragon Age is 3D, but it’s not fully interactive or physically realised, so when the cyclone blew we were admittedly left wandering why no books were flying off shelves or furniture toppling.
Good to see the gaming press is focusing on the important things...

And I may be wrong, but those interested may find what look to be new screenshots.

Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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