** The following is a discussion of the EA Bioware game Dragon Age: Inquisition. It is likely to contain spoilers and storyline progressions, so you may want to take care at what you’re likely to read. **
What can I say about Dragon Age: Inquisition that you’ve not already read or heard? The graphics are breathtaking in the highly detailed world you step in to. Rivers, rain, ruffling trees. The story is not only of a fantasy nature, but at its heart is a political tale set amidst familiar struggles of power and influence. Secret dealings with your whispering shadows are just as powerful as the full force of the Templars out to bring justice to the world. Political influence, shadowy dealings and military might are all players in a fantasy tale of a Fade demon who would be a God. And of a simple mage who may be humanities last hope for survival.
Dragon Age: Inquisition begins your tale right from the title screen. You see two lines marching across the screen. Once you press the Options/Start button, all hell breaks loose as a massive explosion and wave of debris takes out pretty much everyone. Cut to the character selection screen, where one lonely and wounded figure lays upon a chunk of earth. They struggle to standing and … it’s you. Or rather, the representation you’re about to create for the journey ahead. The customization of your on screen avatar is detailed. Highly detailed. It’s like creating a Sim it’s so detailed as far as every detail and feature on the hero’s face. And take care because you will be seeing much of yourself in cutscenes. You are, after all, the star of the show.
Afterwards, we’re throw right into the story. Dragon Age: Inquisition offers a lore rich story and deep history for your character to learn. Factions, actions, battles and places that span ages in the Dragon Age universe. You can even, via a website known as The Keep, import decisions made in previous Dragon Age games that will alter your world to match what you’ve played through in the past. Sided with mages at a particular point or killed off a certain character? That change will be reflected in your Inquisition game.
Even if you haven’t played prior Dragon Age games, you can still access The Keep and it will walk you through every important decision available in those games, which will then be saved and imported into your Inquisition world. The main choices you’ll make through the main quest line can be difficult at times. I’ve only completed the 5th main story quest and have resorted to scouring the internet in a few instances just to see what the different choices would lead to. It can make you insane, in my personal opinion, especially if you’re really hardcore on making only the best decisions. But that’s one of the catches, in a game like DA:I, there may or may not even be a right or wrong decision.
Mage or Templar? Kill X or let them live? Tell Y a secret or keep it from them. The War Room allows many of these to be done off screen by liaisons, spies or soldiers. You choose who best to use and then send them on their way to work on the task for a set period of time. When they’re done, you receive a message to reconvene the War Council and collect your reward and see the results of your decision. It’s a brilliant way to give you the effect of controlling the large forces of the Inquisition. Your command and control and influence spans further than your four-member party that ventures out into the regions.
And that brings me to my biggest gripe – and pretty much my only gripe – with the game. The world is huge, your influence spans the map you’re given a view of. But, you’re only given specific areas to adventure in. And when you go from region to region, you don’t walk/ride/run there, you simply fast travel by selecting the new location on the map. For example, you can walk all around the Hinterlands, but if you want to leave the Hinterlands and travel to The Forgotten Shores, then you have to go to your map, escape out to your world map then select The Forgotten Shores and select a camp to fast travel to.
The world is large but you aren’t allowed to feel that vastness as you are in games such as Skyrim or an MMO such as World of Warcraft, where you actually walk/run/ride to each location no matter where it’s at. I’d like the option of walking out of the Hinterlands and having to actually traverse my way to The
Forgotten Shores. Venture past ruins, small towns and the dangers of the wilderness. That would add so much more depth to the game than just selecting a location and teleporting in.
I’ve not dabbled in the romance system or with controlling combat for each of my party members. I have the other three set to automatically react, which in itself can be fairly detailed as you can set how often and at what point they’ll use a potion to heal and a few other options. I’ve also not delved deeply into the spec’ing system. I started to, but then the trees started branching out and little sub-options were behind some of them to boost the original spell, and I finally gave in and started selecting the auto point assignment system.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is impressive for what I consider to be the first big RPG game of the next generation console. The depth of the story, character creation, party control and beautiful environments is staggering to a simple gamer like myself. This is one of the few games that deserves each and every high review the real, paid reviewers have given it. If you’re ready for a next generation role playing game to suck up your time, then it’s here, folks. If you haven’t picked up Dragon Age: Inquisition yet, then you’ve already waited too long. Go now!