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FEATURED VOXPOP maca2kx Metal Gear Solid was a watershed moment in gaming for me. The graphics, at the time, were phenomenal; the story was winding and engaging; the gameplay was sharp and not above breaking the fourth wall when appropriate. It’s one of the few titles where the number of times I’ve...

Dragon Age 2 Preview

Josh_Laddin By:
Josh_Laddin
02/08/11
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action RPG 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER EA 
DEVELOPER Bioware 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Content, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

This is not Sparta! But, uh, you can fight like it is, if you want.


As some of the more astute of you out there may have observed, I am not Nick Tan. A strange statement to make, perhaps, but one that I feel obligated to make just the same, considering the game we’re talking about here. No mere Dynasty Warriors or DDR, Dragon Age II is the kind of game that, to the best of my knowledge, gets Nick out of bed in the morning and is the last thing on his mind when he goes to sleep. [Dynasty Warriors and DDR do the same thing... just for scarier reasons. ~Ed. Nick]

click to enlargeThis is relevant because, on any other day, these would be his words you’re reading right now. Through some sick twist of fate, however, Bioware scheduled their event to show off Dragon Age II at the same time that Nick was on a much-deserved vacation, leaving me to fill in. And while I have no illusions that I’ll be able to match Nick’s gusto for the sequel to one of his favorite games of the last few years, the demo to which I was treated (which will become available to the public later this month) was more than enough to set an epic and exciting tone for the full game to come.

Like the first game, you will fight as one of three basic classes: Warrior, Mage, or Rogue. Your character’s race this time around is fixed, but this has the benefit of allowing for full voiced dialogue from the hero himself (or herself). A bit of a fuss has been made over Bioware’s slogan about the combat: “Think like a general, fight like a Spartan.” But it’s more like Origins than anything else, really – you’ll be commanding your party members to take aim at the enemies of your choice, and what we’ve seen of the AI is smart enough to dispatch those enemies effectively. But you will also get your hands dirty in the fast-paced combat with some crazy, 300-esque moves; warriors can make leaping overhead smashes that clear spaces in a hurry, while rogues teleport behind victims in a puff of smoke and backstab them with both hands.

click to enlargeThe story is told through an engaging plot device – at some undefined point in the future, a woman has captured a dwarf and forces him to tell the tale of the “champion’s” (that’s you) rise to power. The dwarf in question is a friend of the champion, and indeed serves as a party member during the game. The woman apparently has need of the champion for her own mysterious ends, and believes that by hearing the story she may find a clue as to his or her current whereabouts.

The story thus unfolds in two ways: through the banter of these two figures in the future, and the flashbacks that comprise the dwarf’s recollections of your adventures together. These flashbacks follow our hero’s journey from a Blight-fleeing refugee after the events of Origins to a battle-hardened living legend over a period of a decade. How the champion survived, grew strong, and (presumably) where he or she ended up will unfold over the course of the game through both the gameplay and the future-narration. Oh, and for you Bioware nuts – yes, the choices you made in your save data for Origins and Awakening will have an impact in the story should you choose to import it.

Dragon Age II hits in a month, with the demo arriving in roughly two weeks so you can experience all of this medieval bad-assery firsthand.
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