Dragon Age is Back in a Big Way with Dragon Age: Inquisition

Justin Clouse | 3 Nov 2014 08:00
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Developed by BioWare. Published by Electronic Arts. Releases on November 18, 2014. Available on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. Travel accommodations provided by Electronic Arts.

Dragon Age Inquisition 3x3

Dragon Age and I have quite some history together. If you've been on the site long enough, you'll know that I'm unabashedly a huge fan of the Baldur's Gate series - and even that might be an understatement. So back in the early 2000s, when it became known that BioWare was going to be making a spiritual successor to the franchise, I was just a little bit excited. I ate up every bit of preview coverage available for Dragon Age: Origins and sunk even more time into the game itself. I still remember getting the "Easily Sidetracked" reward for doing most of the sidequests before I had even ventured to Orzammar in my first playthrough. Easily one of my favorite games in recent memory, and then there was Dragon Age II.

Granted, I didn't think Dragon Age II was that bad. BioWare is still the best in the business when it comes to developing interesting and entertaining companions, but I certainly had my disappointments with it. The moment I keep coming back to was where Hawke and party were exploring what was supposed to be a mountain where no one ventured and I was really intrigued to spot a camp setup in the caves. I ran over expecting some little interesting journal entry for why someone was up here, but there was nothing. The camp was just a recycled asset.

This has perhaps made me not as vigilant in keeping up with developments of Dragon Age: Inquisition. The trailers have looked decent and I had heard that it was going to feature larger environments, but despite that promise I just hadn't been following it that closely. Until this preview event the only live gameplay I had even seen, let alone played, was the tail end of Greg Tito's session at E3 before we filmed an interview.

Much like my experience in the first two games were encapsulated into single moments, Dragon Age: Inquisition changed all my expectations with a prompt. "You have discovered region 6 of 29." Dragon Age: Inquisition is massive and I'm suddenly eagerly awaiting its release. Earlier this week was my first time getting hands-on with Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the folks at EA and BioWare gave us an extended six hour session to really delve into the world.

First up, as typically for RPGs, was character creation and thankfully it's back in full form. While you won't get to select a specific origin, you're free to choose from the three classes, warrior and rogue are subdivided here as well, and four races provided. The qunari finally join the ranks of playable races along with human, dwarf and elf. Facial customization is suitably impressive with all the little fiddly bits of adjusting everything from cheek bone depth to facial tattoos. Though while I do greatly enjoy Dragon Age: Inquisition's aesthetic of being the half-way point between the style of Dragon Age II and the more gritty look of Dragon Age: Origins, I do admit that I find something subtly uncanny about the faces in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I haven't been able to put a thumb on what exactly.

You're then promptly thrust into the world of Thedas, which frankly is going to shit around you. After the events of Dragon Age II, the mages and Templars have gone from a seething hatred of each other to flat out open warfare. You commonly come across groups of them fighting each other when traversing the maps. I don't want to spoil too much of the story, but the event that prompts the characters to form the Inquisition also neuters basically any chance for someone else to peacefully resolve the dispute. It's all on your shoulders now.

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