Wow, what a roller coaster of a day for this game.  I can honestly say I was about to give up on it and cancel the order off my credit card – that’s how horrible their web-site was yesterday.  It wouldn’t recognize my game-code and the various pre-order codes I had came up with both a success and failure.  Not to mention my online profile was all sort of messed up.  Thank goodness the Direct2Drive system worked flawlessly, once I realized I needed to re-click the download link to get all my codes 😉  After banging my head against the wall for a bit I figured I might as well try to install and see what happens.  Sure enough, the install accepted my code so there was hope.  At the end of the install it prompted me to log-in – which again I had issues with.  This was the second to last straw for me – luckily there was an option to manually enter my game key, which worked.  The game finally launched!!  On the main launch screen there’s also a log-in option, so I figured I might as well press my luck – but shockingly this one worked.  Even more amazing, all my codes, pre-orders, and items from the Dragon Age Journeys flash game were there and downloaded more or less ok.  I had to finish up the 2 additional zones this morning, but they weren’t necessary to start the game.

With all the chaos behind me – I started in the game.  Holy cow is it an amazing story – I figured it would be good based on Bioware’s other games but so far (I’m just through the origins on 2 toons, and have joined the Grey Wardens) it is by far the best RPG story I’ve played.  I’ve never been this pulled in so early in the game.

I enjoy the graphics, and the splatter effect of the blood is a nice option as it makes it feel a little more real.  Also, on crit kills you can execute a finishing move which can be pretty darn spectacular – think of the moves you see in the trailers.  The game does use a lot of cinematics but they’re interactive in that you still have conversation options during them so it makes for very smooth transitions.  I’m playing it on my laptop (pretty beefy Dell) on High settings (one below max) and I don’t have any performance issues at all.

As for the gameplay mechanics, I’m still getting used to them.  To be honest, I’m wrapped up in trying to advance the story that I’m not checking out all the options enough.  It used the standard WSAD controls and the UI is pretty standard.  What I haven’t dug too deep on is the tactics system which allows you to control how your companions react in combat.  Each companion (you can have up to 3 in addition to your toon) has a series of options and roles that you can pre-define in addition to some pre-built ones for you.  The depth here is pretty amazing, you can have it trigger off their health, friendlies health, enemy health, etc. and then kick off some action.  One of the first ones I added was to have my companions use a health potion if their health dipped below 25%.  There’s also a similar system to KOTOR 2 in that you can gain/lose influence with your companions to unlock other options but I’ve just started that system.  And like other games, there’s a deed/badge system that keeps track of all the things you do and unlock in game which is tied to their online system and can keep track of things like %completed, kills, etc.  Another neat feature is that while you can take screenshots the game automatically takes shots for you during key points or

So far, I think my favorite companion actually is my dog 😉 as he has an AoE stun that’s just awesome.  And he can take quite a bit of punishment which is good as he likes to run into large groups of mobs.  Although, I will admit at times he can get my real-life dogs a bit excited!

Overall, I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here as I really haven’t gotten too far into it.  But what I’ve seen has blown me away.  And it is perfect timing as for the next month or so I’ll mainly just be raiding in LOTRO so I actually have gaming time available to enjoy it!  So, for those of you who like single-player RPGs, I highly recommend checking this game out if you haven’t already – although you might want to wait a couple days for their web-site to calm down.