Scotty and I picked up the new game Dragon Age: Originsthis past week. It was developed by BioWare, who also developed the fun game Mass Effect. While Mass Effect is a science fiction game set in space, Dragon Age is a fantasy game set in a fully developed medieval-era world.
I really wasn't expecting to love the game as much as I do! I started playing a few days ago as a human rogue with a Mabari war hound (or, as I call him, "my puppy"). I had heard the game was hard so I set the difficulty to Easy (I tend to be kind of a wimp about difficulty in games) and I've had no trouble so far, especially after the recent patch that made Easy even easier.
The game is subtitled. You have the option of no subtitles, subtitles only during the game's cinematics, or subtitles for everything. The subtitles appear at the top of the screen, with a slightly shaded bar stretching across the top of the screen as a background for much easier readability (though the text size is a bit small). They don't intrude on the action, but having subtitles at the top is kind of weird and I keep catching myself looking at the bottom trying to figure out where the subtitles went. It is necessary, though - during conversations you can choose your character's response, and the options are along the bottom, so that would crowd out the subtitles.
There are two caveats to the subtitles: dialogue during battles (which is very short, not that frequent, and not necessary to the game) is not subtitled at all, and occasionally characters will engage in random banter or conversation without the standard subtitling. Instead the game puts their words in a paragraph above their heads - very annoying if you happen to be turning at the time and miss what they said, or if a conversation is occurring behind you.
Despite those two drawbacks, I'm really impressed with the way the game's developers drew everything together and created a flowing, unique world where everything just "makes sense." Even the subtitles are unobtrusive and subtle, not infringing on the graphics at all. Can't wait to get home to play some more!