Dragon Age II Out Now, First Downloadable Expansion Released

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Like you, I won't lay hands on Dragon Age II until later today, once the post arrives. Something funny happened on the way to a review copy, which just means I'll be probing its occasionally bucolic (but mostly metropolitan) vistas same time as you. Professional expectations aside, I kind of prefer it that way.

It looks like the first downloadable content pack's also out today, something titled "The Exiled Prince." Said prince's family was "brutally murdered," and you're invited to help him avenge their deaths, after which you'll either set him up as prince-once-more, or compel him (hey, he's a crackerjack archer) to accompany you on your quest. You can pull down the expansion for 560 Microsoft Points, or $6.99.

The rest of BioWare's press release is filled with predictable Dragon Age II plaudits. You've got your magazine panegyrics, including a bit of puffery from PC Gamer crowning the game's new action-angled battle system "the best RPG combat ever." Ever ever? I've only played the demo, but combat felt awfully spammy. Better than World of Warcraft? Valkyria Chronicles? The World Ends With You? Resonance of Fate (my current favorite)? We'll see.

In any event, the game launched last night, though not without some hiccups. One gamer in Austin, Texas snagged a PC version Signature Edition, got home, sat down with a cup of coffee, launched the installer, and received an error message warning the game wasn't out yet. BioWare apparently set the activation time to midnight Pacific time.

"Please wait until the official release date and restart the application at that time," reads the error box.

"Yeah, because that was worth me waiting in line and pre-ordering a game I could have digitally downloaded Tuesday morning instead," wrote the user. "The gaming gods doth frown upon us, my friends!"

Another odd move: BioWare's released a high-resolution DirectX 11 texture pack for the PC version of the game. Like it sounds, the pack enables "higher detail replacements for most textures in game." BioWare claims "a big difference will be noticed on level art especially," though cautioning "[m]ost of the benefits from the Hi-resolution textures will only be seen if you are able to run the game in DirectX 11."

You can download the 1.08 GB patch direct from Bioware.

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