Only PC Dragon Age Has Baldur's Gate CameraS

Dragon Age: Origins controls well on a PlayStation 3, BioWare proved to Kotaku yesterday — mouse and keyboard not required. But if you want the overhead view seen in this game's spiritual predecessor, a mouse (and computer) is a must.

I got a chance to try a PlayStation 3 build of Dragon Age yesterday at an EA showcase of its late 2008 and early 2009 games. The single-player party-based role-playing game controlled just fine with a PS3 Dualshock 3. I was using shoulder buttons to swap through my four on-screen party members. I was using face buttons to activate default and special attacks, and holding a trigger to give me access to three more. I was running with the left stick and swiveling the camera with right stick.

I was tilting the right stick back to get a different camera view and then... blocked.

Dragon Age: Origins is being billed by publisher EA and developer BioWare as a spiritual successor to the studio's beloved Baldur's Gate games. But the ability to back the camera out and up, to go from behind-the-back action-gaming perspective to top-down strategic-perspective has been dropped from the console versions of the game. A BioWare rep told me that players who will want to zoom out will need to do so via a mouse scroll wheel. Then they'll get that Baldur's Gate look.

On the console, as far as I could see, the view will be much closer and into the action. It fits the platform, but it's a difference consumers with options should note.

Dragon Age: Origins ships on Xbox 360 and PC on November 3. The PS3 version will be out later in the month.