Nobody expects the ‘Dragon Age’ Inquisition!
Dragon Age: Inquisition is Bioware’s latest outing into the world of Thedas, a direct sequel to the first 2 games but with a distinctly different feel. I immediately got the feeling that Bioware was trying to distance itself from the previous games which have gathered as much criticism as they did success, with Dragon Age 2 being a particular sore spot for fans. Has Bioware succeeded in making this series relevant again? read on to find out.
While Inquisition is in-fact available on previous generations of consoles, the game really has been built for next-gen consoles and the latest PCs as is apparent from the get go. I played the game on PS4 and it is absolutely gorgeous, Bioware’s typical level of polish and attention to detail shine through in everything from the character models to the environments, from the voice acting to the ambient sounds. While I cannot comment on the quality of the games on PS3 and Xbox 360, it feels to me like the games really were meant for PS4/ Xbox One as well as PC and if you have the means to, I would strongly recommend you play on one of those systems.
The game is once again set on the continent of Thedas, the fantasy world which has become famous throughout the series as a land as beautiful as it is deadly. Your character begins the game in the middle of a disaster movie, a huge magical explosion of unknown origin has torn a hole between the physical world and the ‘Fade’ the other worldly domain of spirits and demons. Amidst the chaos, your character is branded with a strange power which allows you to close the rifts in the fabric of reality. What occurs after that is a sprawling tale of politics, adventure and intrigue in which your character plays a vital role as leader of the newly formed ‘Inquisition’ a religious and military campaign to close the doorways to the Fade and drive the forces of evil from the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign and as someone who wasn’t impressed with the first game and skipped the second, I was greatly surprised how easy it was to get caught up with the story so far. Bioware has done an excellent job of peppering lore and story from the past games into this new entry into the series, another attempt I feel to make it as accessible for new players as it is for existing players.
The world of Dragon Age is huge – the world is divided up into a series of large open area maps and while the game doesn’t match the scale of a game like Skyrim, the areas feel large enough and are so full of things to do that I often found myself straying from the main story in order to complete all of the side quests and activities in an area. the sheer amount of content in Inquisition means that you are definitely getting your money worth.
Combat in Dragon Age is simple and complex at the same time. In addition to your character, you are accompanied by a number of companions that you meet throughout the course of the story. there is enough variety in the classes and class specialisations that you can custom tailor your party to suit your play style, for example my Dwarven Warrior surrounded himself with ranged attacking mages in order to deal damage from afar while he devastated enemies with his great sword. The combat for the most part is a real-time affair, however players can switch to a tactical mode which pauses game-play and lets you plan out attacks before resuming the action and watching as your strategies are carried out. While I appreciated the option of the tactical mode, I rarely used it save for the opportuity to scout the battlefield out before switching to the real-time combat mode. The AI for the most part performed well, however there were a few moments when a battle would become chaotic and the AI would abandon all common sense and run head first into the enemies attack.
when you aren’t out in the field completing missions, you are thrown into the role of leader – with tasks such as scouting areas, sending officers to perform various missions and basically running the Inquisition with the help of your War Council. I really enjoyed the down time between missions as it served to break the action up a bit. It also serves another purpose in that it gives you the chance to get to know your companions outside of battle with a series of conversations, you can even choose someone to romance as has become standard fare in Bioware games. In addition to the activities mentioned, you can also craft weapons and armour from recipes found in the field or spend time upgrading your existing equipment. Over all I really enjoyed this aspect of the game, it helped to ground the story and gave me much needed respite from the combat and exploration, especially if I had just completed a difficult mission.
Overall my time with Dragon Age: Inquisition has been very positive, despite a couple of annoying bugs or inconsistencies that took me out of the action for a moment. The story is fantastic and is populated by a cast of developed characters with real personality – all grounded in one of the most rich and full video game worlds I have ever experienced. I would highly recommend anyone who is a fan of the series or Fantasy RPGs to give this game a try.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is Bioware's best game to date with a combination of amazing gameplay mechanics coupled with an excellent story, this game is a must play for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of RPGs.