There’s no better time than Christmas to hide away from the cold and crowded shops to explore a new world. You’ll be here in Thedas a while too; Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s world is gargantuan, but Michael Griffith-Dixon explores whether this latest instalment does enough to introduce new players to the series.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is out on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, but despite welcoming all consoles, it did release rather quietly and was shoved to the side by the more popular games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. These games were late to the party, having been to the gym and only really turning up to drink Dragon Age’s alcohol and steal his girlfriend.
This is a sad truth as Inquisition is one of the most ambitious and graphically impressive games I have ever seen, and I’m not just saying this because I’m the girlfriend COD and Assassin’s Creed tried to steal either.
Dragon Age is brought to us by Bioware, makers of the Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series. If you’ve played a Bioware game before then you know the drill; they are action RPGs with an emphasis on story and decision making. Dragon Age Inquisition is the third instalment in the Dragon Age series; the game continues the tradition of being a fantasy RPG in a rich and exciting world with interesting characters that you are actually made to care about through clever dialogue and meaningful interactions with your character.
Inquisition toes a nice line between the original Dragon Age, which favoured the classic RPG style of gameplay with pausing combat and lots of in-depth character menus, and Dragon Age 2, which focused on action, but was really brought down by a poor story line. Inquisition directly follows on from the events of Dragon Age 2, but manages to create an exciting story by having the entire world actually in peril.
The story is long and complicated, and unless you are a long time Dragon Age fan, then you will not know what the ‘Fade’ is or who the ‘Chantry’ are, but the point is that there is a hole in the sky, demons are coming through and only you can stop them. Also, there is a war between Mages and Templars (people who hate mages, not assassins), but this is less important than the giant death-hole in the sky.
Playing this game makes you actually feel like the hero who is the only one with the wit, intellect, skill and natural prowess to save the world, which is exactly what an RPG should do. Playing the game on PS4 meant that my eyes were subjected to the gorgeous scenery that exists in the world of Thedas. The world is vast and picturesque—despite the glowing hole in the sky— and characters look scarily realistic in cutscenes. Everything feels very real, adding to the immersion of the game.
As ever with Dragon Age, you can play the game in two ways. You can just wander through the story auto-levelling up your companions, always play as yourself and not pay much attention to crafting, or you can go full D&D nerd and spend hours hunting down ram hide to craft the perfect breaches for the glass-cannon Rogue in your party, so that she deals 3.8% more frost damage, and her ass still looks good in the tactical camera. Inquisition does a good job of simplifying some aspects of upgrading gear and levelling up to make the game more approachable for new players, but also adds the ability to upgrade weapons to keep more hardcore players happy.
The real pros and cons of Inquisition come down to if you have played a Dragon Age game before. If you’re like me and you have, you will love this game; everything is bigger and prettier. This is the first time we have really been able to explore the world of Thedas—in three countries no less—and the story brings back old characters who have meaning for the deep and world-threatening plot.
But, if you’re new to the series, you will likely not care about the world, its politics or the characters. This really lets the game down because it would still be a good ride even if it’s your first time. Although, if this is your first RPG, it can hurt because Inquisition is big and goes deep into Dragon Age lore. In order for you to invest the 90 hours required to reach the climax of the game, you will need to be committed to Inquisition.
Will you be marshalling your very own Inquisition this Christmas? Or are there other RPGs you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on everything else games and tech, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.