Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition Preview for Xbox One

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Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshot
Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshot

To this day I think Dragon Age: Origins is one of the best RPGs in the history of games. The sequel, however, didn’t strike the same chord. It wasn’t a bad follow-up – far from it – but the change in lead character and lack of influence from the first title meant in many ways it felt like a brand new experience. If you had never even heard of Dragon Age, II could’ve easily been your starting point. Because of this, Inquisition is suffering from the successor's hangover.

The third Dragon Age's major trump card is how visually impressive it is. BioWare is clearly aware of this, too, if the amount of camera pans that took place during my hands-off demo (because why let anyone play your game at E3?) are anything to go by. It makes the previous entries look laughable in the looks department, showing off a stupidly big world (the area rolled out here is bigger than the entirety of Origins) that is absolutely packed with missions to take on, and side quests to lose yourself in. If there’s a better advert for DICE’s Frostbite Engine, I am yet to see it.

Even with the glut of open world games it effortlessly holds its own, and, thankfully, there are still some nods to the franchise in general. The breach – a rift open that has allowed the human world to be infected with demons – feels very much like The Fade, and the sheer amount of options when it comes to how to create and customise your character will keep even the most meticulous gamer happy.

The same can be said from a combat perspective as well. A mixture of real-time and tactical battles return, allowing you to fly forth with absolutely fury, or freeze events, take a look at the field and then slowly decide what actions to take. It’s what the franchise has been doing since day one, although now it’s all very much refined and, seemingly, far easier to use.

Unfortunately, Inquisition does feel very much like the Canadian studio having to start all over again. The promise of returning characters is a welcome one, but by this stage I’d have expected them to have been front and centre, hours of choices and branching paths evolving them into entirely different people. Mass Effect was a great example of how to make that work and knowing that, potentially, the likes of Alistair and Morrigan won’t have a great impact on events is a little disappointing. It’s also, one would assume, the reason why the number ‘3’ has been ignored in favour of a subtitle. The stories may be linked, but this is BioWare’s attempt at redeeming Dragon Age.

Ultimately, you'd have to be a brave individual to expect it not to succeed. Origins, along with countless other games, have proven that the developer knows a thing or two about making you care about a cast of characters, and as long as that’s achieved here it could easily mimic the first in terms of how successful it becomes, even if the emphasis is mostly on unfamiliar faces. It’s just a shame that my Grey Warden – Hunter Levesque – was alienated for the sake of Hawke. That guy was an asshole…

Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshot

With the addition of mounts, the ‘war table’ - where you control the direction of the narrative along with a host of other activities (such as scouting and expanding your inventory) – and the fact you can “go anywhere” puts Inquisition in good stead. There’s also the ‘master system’, an in-game mechanic that sees an area’s population directly influenced by your play-style: Kill all the bears in a region, for example, and you’ll wipe them out. You’re evil…

There are still some staples hanging over from the past, however, which remind you how ridiculous life really is. A boss fight with King Mage* - and BioWare has promised that the Mage/Templar war will come to an end here – sees him screaming catchphrases at you as he’s utterly destroyed by knives and fire. Such quips never make any sense either:

”Your death will be my apology!”

What?!

Still, Dragon Age’s real delight will come when you craft your own story, leaving you with memories and digital scars that genuinely weight heavy on the brain. Inquisition has the promise to ensure that what’s here is genuinely immersive and provocative. Maybe even emotional…

The main character (in this instance) did look like Dan Akroyd, though…

*Not the character's real name.

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4 Comments

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KamSage's Avatar

KamSage

I'll treat this as I treated the last two games, a new game set in the same universe. I think once you get over the hump of not having the same character each game like Mass Effect, half the complaints are gone. I like that Bioware re design their gameplay and visuals for each game , it shows that they put some effort into their originality and commitment to making the games feel greater.

This whole complaint that Bioware lost their way has always baffled me. I think that ever since EA bought them, they've simply had the funds to finally do stuff they've wanted to experiment with. Success and failure is simply a part of that all. Better that than another stale repetition of the series.
Posted 08:28 on 11 June 2014
BombaLuigi's Avatar

BombaLuigi

Yeah, I have Zero interesset in this Game. Because of exactly that: " Inquisition is suffering from the successor's hangover."

I just don't have any trust in the Bioware Name anymore. That said, when it turns out to be good, and People I trust tell me that, I'm all in for Playing that Game.
Trust can be rebuild, its just hard Work.
Posted 08:07 on 11 June 2014
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller

Just from how big and expansive it is. It could be awesome.
Posted 01:32 on 11 June 2014
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Sounds interesting and visually impressive, but I'm not sure why the title says it's destined to be special - I didn't really get those impressions from this preview.
Posted 23:33 on 10 June 2014

Game Stats

Release Date: 21/11/2014
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: EA
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 718 132
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