Get an early taste of Dragon Age (for free)

One of the holiday season games we're most bullish on is Dragon Age: Origins. We saw two early tastes of the game this morning (one very literally). The first is a browser-based flash game spinoff, called Dragon Age Journeys.

One of the holiday season games we're most bullish on is Dragon Age: Origins. While this nerd-tastic tale of dragons and elves and guys wearing chainmail armor isn't for everyone (or even usually our cup of tea), the large chunks of the game we've played have had a mainstream Lord of the Rings epic action movie vibe, rather than rolling a 20-sided die in your parents' basement. Plus, it's one of the only big budget games in recent years developed first for PC gaming, and then ported to living room consoles, rather than the other way around.

We saw two early tastes of the game this morning (one very literally). The first is a browser-based flash game spinoff, called Dragon Age Journeys. Billed as an "EA 2D Production" it's a surprisingly faithful recreation of the full game, from the menus and interfaces to the dialog system -- just recast as cartoonish 2D animation. Combat has a similar feel, with plenty of special attacks and powers to use, but it's more strictly turn-based in the browser version.

Unfortunately, it's not embeddable, but the dragonagejourneys.com Web site does allow you to save your game and even create multiple characters.

Coincidentally, moments after we logged into Dragon Age Journeys, a promotional package for the game hit our desk. The box contained a pile of hay-like material and a small wooden box. Inside the box was a vial of red liquid and a wax-sealed note written in the game's arch-geek style, warning us that "Some master the blood of the darkspawn, some perish."

Our promotional vial of demon blood actually had a handy (and probably legally required) list ingredients attached, which included taurine, caffeine, ginseng, elderberry juice, and, of course, sodium benzoate and FD&C Red #40. We haven't dared touch it...yet.

We're not drinking this stuff...

Update: Our buddy Russ at MTV.com actually drank the stuff, and filmed himself doing it.

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