When I first started up dragon Age I was starting to smile. I smiled all the way to the first little town - there I realized that outdoors was still very much like KOTOR. All in all that may not be a bad thing, but I didn't really like the KOTOR format - feels too much like they are trying to make an interactive story rather then a good solid game. Anyway, Dragon Age has the same things like exploring and 3rd person running around like KOTOR and Mass Effect, but also on PC you have a strategic mode, don't expect to pick off any enemies with a long longbow shot in this mode...
Character making is rather simple, you have a few presets for looks, and then the complete Bethseda Oblivion setup to change them. Nice. Generating a character is simple, you have talents and skills - they are based on one of the three classes and then it is like a progressive tree. Bad thing about this is that it all becomes very static. Typical level play and you can't have a warrior with a nasty background that can pick locks... nor can be use his über-mega-big-sword/axe/maul to make a dent into a small locked cabinet... Er sorry but this is just stupid.
Anyway, buying this and progressing into the game the startups are really the best part sofar. You have to play through these backgrounds, one for each class and race more or less. These are cruel, dark and you realise that for once you will not hav e a hampered lawful stupid meter telling you that you are evil or good... Really refreshing.
Inventory is generic and is very KOTOR/consolly to me, but OK, it is a bit better handled then before but I don't really like it that much. Same thing with the upgrade, feels like the lightsaber upgrades from KOTOR too. OK, I know a lot of people loved KOTOR - but the mechanics sucks, espacially since this is supposed to be the spiritual follow up to the behemoth of RPG's baldur's gate series. Is it? No, you wouldn't be able to tell that actually, this is Knights Of The Old Grey Warden. Sadly, but still OK.
How come you may ask? Well because the guys and gals at BioWare has cooked up a decent story. The main story line is by far more interesting then the side-quests and here you can note some more ingeniously made plots that actually feels a bit on par with BG2's greatness. A simple story and place that with few means make a great impact.
All in all, the game is good, really good to be anno 2009 - and I mean that as an old whiny gamer. I have most likely already played too many games to be easily impressed ever again.
dragon Age is a solid game, but overhyped - skip the hype and skip the sell talk and you will find a game that delivers a nice experience. It is well made, it has many good characters and some good quests. but don't expect to be dazzled by a new ingenious way to handle the RPG bit in a game. Under the surface of it all - it is a game mechanic that is based on the rinse and repeat of the old game engines.