First of all, I like oranges. They're good and good for you. What does that have to do with Dragon Age? Nothing. What's wrong? I'm not allowed to share useful facts all of a sudden? Well, same to you, pal.
It's been a bit since I played so I'll only cover the stuff that has been requested.
"Character Development, what to expect in regards to combat via comparison to say Oblivion, is it open world? stuff along those lines."
The following are my personal opinions. Any others who have played this can feel free to disagree, or if I was vague then go ahead and elaborate. Sey, I know you've been through this too. Any additional thoughts?
It isn't as varied as you might hope, but there is enough to keep things interesting. Fighter types fight up close via 2handed weapon/weapon & shield/dual wielding, Casters have a bit more to chose from with multiple elemental trees as well as healing and nonelemental magics, and thieves are, well, sneaky. What all you can do depends largely on what character type you choose. You can decide where your stat points earned at level up go, which determine things like what weapons/armor your character can use, as well as the standard things like damage, HP, etc.
In addition to your starting class' talents you can also learn Specializations at levels 7 and 14, unlocking four new abilities apiece to be learned. These can greatly alter your playing style. Provided that you've obtained training or manuals for them.
There are various skills as well, but not a whole lot gets done with them. Persuasion didn't get as much as it has in other games, but still could be useful. I did kind of like how it was split into Intimidation (based off of Strength) and Coercion (based off of Charisma). Potion making was used a lot. Like, a LOT a lot. You can also make poisons to coat your weapons, pick locks and pockets (Warning! There's a glitch with stealing from people. It doesn't always give you anything even when you succeed.
), make traps (which are of limited use, imho), and a couple others which escape me at the moment.
Example Character (aka, My Character):
Origin: Human Noble, male
Base class: Rogue
Specializations: Duelist and Assassin
Weapon Spec: Duel Wield
Stats: (Can't recall specifics) High Dexterity (for attack/damage), Charisma (for persuading), Strength (for wearing good armor). Mediocre other stats.
Skills: Focus on thievery skills and coercion.
To be honest, this guy was designed a bit clumsily. I started out with a thief and ended up with a tank. lol
Next playthrough I intend to try out the mage spec combo of Arcane Warrior/Blood Mage.
In short, there should be enough variety to keep you happy, especially seeing as you also control the development of all your party members. Which brings me to....
Not so much Oblivion as it is KotOR wearing an Oblivion suit. Not surprising as it is a Bioware game.
You control one character at a time in a party of up to four. You can set their behaviors, or you can switch to them at any time and give them commands directly. I had to do this only rarely as the AI is pretty good.
Again, like KotOR (or FF XII for that matter) you control where you are during an encounter so you can maneuver to an opponent's flank to get in more damage, or try to get out on an enemy's attack range.
Not open world. You travel from one set piece to another via a map screen, though you will often get in random encounters (again in other set pieces) along the way. When and where you get an encounter may be random, but the fights and such themselves are all scripted. Not a bad thing really.
Nicely done, but again it is a Bioware game, so not a big surprise. All origins merge after the opening chapters, but that doesn't mean things aren't any different after there. I believe you even get different party members depending on who you start as.
Other things to do
Lots of side quests ranging from Marks to fetch quests to a couple extra dungeons.
Of the most interest to the one who initially requested this info is likely to be the fact that you can romance your followers. Giving them gifts and selecting the right conversation options will advance your relationships with them. (Hint: If you liked that one trophy from Heavy Rain, then you'll be pleased to hear there are four similar ones in this game.)
Despite the relatively early hour I'm actually beginning to nod off. If there's anything else you'd like to know, then post up and I'll reply when I'm awake.