BioWare Releases Dragon Age II Demo

BioWare's Dragon Age II demo just went up on Xbox Live, for those curious to sample the roleplaying sequel's new action-slanted battle engine. The PC and PlayStation 3 versions weren't available at the time of this post, but should be available later today.

Microsoft's description of the demo doesn't tell much, just the standard ballyhoo about new combat techniques and better graphics. BioWare's definitely playing up the whole "experience...shapes itself around every decision you make" angle. We can hope. Dragon Age Origins only adapted to your "decisions" superficially. The trunk story was pretty much unassailable.

Actually scratch that, there's a better demo info page here. Looks like you'll be poking around the game's prologue, choosing from three character classes and learning about Hawke, the guy you'll play in the full game. Once you complete the prologue, you'll have a chance to explore a new locale dubbed Kirkwall and meet one of the game's romantic interests, a smuggler named Isabela.

Polish off the demo and you'll unlock Hayder's Razor in the full game, a two-handed dwarven blade that buffs its wielder's health, mana, and combat stats.

Bioware's also promising to unlock two in-game books of poetry if the number of demo downloads across all platforms surpasses a "monumental" 1 million prior to March 1st. Yeah, it's a stunt, and the chance the game won't rocket past a million downloads today or tomorrow alone given anticipation levels seems pretty slim, but hey, it's an excuse for BioWare marketing to push another presser out the door in the coming days and keep the Dragon Age II coverage-love flowing.

Xbox 360 "Gold" members can pull the demo down now for just under 2 GB. The full game ships on March 8, 2011 in the U.S. and March 11, 2011 in Europe.

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