The Dragon Age series is a bit of a hit and miss with me. While I loved the story and general dark tone of the first game in the series, combat felt too much like a table top RPG and that I had no control over it, meanwhile, so much was taken out of Dragon Age 2 that I ended up despising 3/4 of the game because I was most likely going to the same dungeon again, but the combat was quick, hectic and fluid.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is different though, fluid combat mixed in with a great story, while borrowing a lot from RPG greats like Skyrim. Still it wasn’t until I got past the first act that I really got into the game, a feat that took well over 35 hours to accomplish.
The story for Inquisition follows shortly after the events of the 2nd game. After the destruction and chaos that befell Kirkwall, the Mages and Templars attempt to patch things up only to have their peace meeting interrupted by a massive explosion which opened a breach in the sky which caused demons to crawl out from it. You are found falling out of the said breach with a rip in your hand that allows you to close these rift portals. Thus beginning your career as the leader of the Inquisition who are tasked with closing the breach.
Of course this means winning the people over, building an army and finding the right people to help. For the first act of the game this is the major point, it isn’t until we get to act two that things take a twist that leads us back to having a full fledged villain who is hell bent on breaking into the heavens.
Dragon Age: Inquisition feels like it plays differently then the previous titles. First the combat is much faster like in Dragon Age 2, but it feels like there is more being done, with basic attacks set to your triggers, special moves mapped to your face buttons and the ability to pause and control your party mid battle gives you more control of your fate in the game.
Another big improvement is that the areas are massive, with each map having several missions, and in some cases dozens of missions. Doing side missions will not only grant you extra experience, gold or other loot but also power points which can be exchanged for unlocking other levels and story based missions at the Inquisitor’s stronghold.
The Strongholds is very similar to Mass Effects Normandy, which gives you a base of operations allowing you to take on missions, talk with the Inquisition crew and rest between battles. The Strongholds don’t get to in depth until the second act, which gives you access to castle, this allows you to judge people who were arrested during fights, customize the castle, have shops and craft armour and weapons. The Strongholds also allow you to have your advisers, Liliana (Spy), Josephine (Politics) and Cullen (Military) do time based missions that can gather items, gold, and influence for the Inquisition.
As always, Bioware’s strength comes form the characters that inhabit the world and Dragon Age Inquisition is no different. Every character is unique and intriguing in their own way, from approving and disapproving your actions (in a mechanic that feels borrowed from Telltale games) to their own backstory. While everyone will have their own favourite characters, I especially enjoyed the performance from Freddie Prinze Jr. as Iron Bull who brought a surprising amount of comedy to the character and Ramon Tikaram as Dorian who has a very intense scene during a character mission that was well done perfectly.
The new addition to the game is the multiplayer mode, while I didn’t spend too much time in this mode, I found it played very similar to Mass Effects 3. Multiplayer missions consists of 5 rounds which have different objectives, players earn experience and gold by helping each other out during the raid, this leads to better equipment and access to specializations. Multiplayer gives you nothing for the single player campaign or vice versa, which is both a blessing and a curse to the mode as it would have gave some incentive to play through it, but this is definitely the weaker part of the game.
My time in Dragon Age: Inquisition is definitely not over, as I actually do want to go back, possibly play smarter then my human warrior and try to really see what the game had to offer. It’s massive and a giant time sink but fans of genre and Bioware should give it a shot, there is plenty to do and plenty to keep you occupied.