Dragon Age: Origins Preview

The guys at GameInformer managed to get their hands on the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins, and have kicked up a brief hands-on preview based on their experience.
The most impressive aspect of Dragon Age thus far is BioWare's continually refined storytelling abilities. Usually, the more narrative freedom a game offers players, the more diluted that story becomes, with generic cutscenes and a series of isolated plot points. Dragon Age seems like a prime candidate for such a problem, with its six different introductions to the game via the Origin stories and the continued effects that your race and class choices have on your interactions with NPCs not to mention the innumerable decisions you make throughout the game. But in our time with Dragon Age, something strange happened; BioWare somehow kept the plot potent, the characters unique, and cutscenes cinematic all to a level usually reserved for highly linear games. We've yet to see everything Dragon Age has to offer, but ultimately the game's biggest success might be the balance between telling you a story and letting you meaningfully affect that story with the choices you make.

Which is not to say that the gameplay disappoints; although combat seems deceptively simple at first, the complexity multiplies as you unlock new talents (moves) and acquire items. Battle Tactics add another layer to the strategy, allowing you to select basic behavior patterns for party members or script your own individual actions. This helps take advantage of spell combos, and allows for you to tweak your approach for specific skirmishes.