Dragon Age: Origins E3 Preview

GameSpot’s E3 coverage continues with a detailed preview of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins.

We’re not sure how Dragon Age’s storyline is going to play out at this point, but what’s clear is that at the start of the game you’ll be assuming the role of a recruit signing up with the gray gardens–a group of paladin-like warriors tasked with defending humanity from enemies such as the orc-like horde they refer to as the blight. The demo got underway at a picturesque though somewhat ruined city that appeared to the wardens’ headquarters. The heavily tattooed player character (you’ll undoubtedly get to customize your appearance before playing) was being shown around by a high-ranking warden named Marcus and was even introduced to the king–a would-be hero who likes to fight on the frontlines alongside his subjects–at one point.

The gameplay proper kicked in when Marcus instructed the player to meet him at a tent on the other side of the city to undergo some kind of initiation, but encouraged the guy at the controls to explore first. Given that this is a BioWare game, it came as little surprise that it wasn’t long before a moral dilemma presented itself. A starving prisoner being kept in a cage awaiting sentencing pleaded for help as the protagonist approached, and offered to exchange the stolen key that put him in there for food and water. After some interactive conversation, three options presented themselves; help the guy out, ignore him, or kill him and take the key. Our BioWare rep opted for that last one and, after a somewhat heated exchange with a guard who witnessed the act, walked away with the key. Having seen what was in the chest that they key unlocked on this occasion we can tell you that it was well worth the effort, but we won’t spoil the specifics for you.

Next up we were treated to an in-engine cutscene in which Marcus, the King, and a couple other characters were planning how to deal with an imminent blight threat. The cinematic camera angles did a great job of showing off the detailed character models, as well as how great the lip-syncing in the game is already. The upshot of the meeting was a plan involving the lighting of a beacon at the top of a tall tower, and the protagonist was among those chosen to do it.

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