Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.
Dragon Age: Origins
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
MSRP: $59.99 (Console), $49.99 (PC)
ESRB Rating: Mature
What kind of game is it?
Dragon Age: Origins is a 3D role-playing game for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Combat is based on animation instead of a number-based ruleset, so it's a little more friendly to people unfamiliar with traditional Western RPG design. You can either hack it out in real time or pause the fight and strategize your next moves.
While Dragon Age doesn't have any multiplayer, you do fight alongside game-controlled allies. You can adjust their fighting strategy and tactics based on pre-set rules, so that they're almost fighting on auto-pilot. But your party members can also leave your party based on a loyalty system, so be sure to treat them right.
Who's the Developer?
BioWare was founded in 1995 by Dr. Ray Muzyka (General Manager, CEO), Dr. Greg Zeschuk (VP, Development Operations of BioWare), and Augustine Yip. (Muzyka and Zeschuk are commonly referred to as "The Doctors.") The primary studio is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and there are additional studios located in Montreal and Austin, Texas.
Bioware's first game was for the PC and Macintosh, a mech game called Shattered Steel. They made their name with the acclaimed PC role-playing games Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights, then proceeded to win over the console crowd with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic ("KOTOR"), Jade Empire, and Mass Effect. In addition to Dragon Age, BioWare is currently working on Mass Effect 2, and the Austin studio is hard at work on Star Wars: The Old Republic (an MMO follow-up to KOTOR).
They also made an RPG based on Sonic the Hedgehog for the Nintendo DS -- Sonic Chronciles: The Dark Brotherhood. It is still very weird that they did this.
What's the story?
As a member of the "Grey Wardens," it is your duty to fight against your enemy, "The Blight." Ultimate objective: resolve a border dispute over the right to mine natural resources. (Kidding, you're saving the world again!) It is assumed that dragons will also make an appearance.
How many hours of my life must I surrender?
Such numbers are always unscientific estimates, but lead designer Mike Laidlaw promised "an average of 80 hours of gameplay, with much more available to gamers that want to experience everything."
Sorry, young adventurer, but this is one challenge that you must face alone. I cannot help you.
What'd we say?
Stay tuned for our review, coming very soon!
See it in action: