By Matt Welwood / December 1st, 2014
|Title||Dragon Age: Inquisition|
|Release Date||November 18, 2014|
|Platform||PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Mature, PEGI – 18|
Note: This review contains some spoilers!
Dragon Age: Inquisition is without doubt a big game. It kind of has to be, with the weight of the two previous games’ worth of storylines to wrap up. It also has a lot to lose. BioWare got a lot of flak for Dragon Age 2 not living up to the original, not to mention the controversy surrounding the Mass Effect 3 ending. The problem wasn’t that either, on their own, would be considered horribly bad. The problem is that they didn’t live up to the standard BioWare is held to by its fans (and by its past games). So, is this game the death knell for the BioWare of old, or the triumphant return to form so many were hoping for? After 50 hours of play time, I think this may just be the return to form the company needed.
Dragon Age: Inquisition literally starts with a bang. BioWare wastes no time getting the ball rolling in this one. When you start the game, the first screen you see is your standard list of New Game, Continue, Load, Options and whatnot. Underneath and around that, the game fills your screen with two lines of people all marching single file toward a distant temple. On one side you have Templars, on the other you have Mages. If there’s one thing this series makes very clear over the first two games, it’s that those two groups don’t really care for each other at all. Then you hit New Game, and it all goes to hell. The temple in the distance is rocked by a massive green explosion, and the next thing you know, you’re in the game.
First thing, character creation has been updated. You now have the Qunari as a playable race, as well as the series mainstays of Human, Elf and Dwarf. The classes are the same — Rogue, Mage (which is unplayable if you pick Dwarf as your race) and Warrior. The big update to the character creation is the way you alter the shape and size of various face parts. Instead of a slider, there’s an overlay with an x and y axis. You slide your mouse around in that grid, and you can see instantly what changes are being made. It’s a bit finicky with a mouse, since the grid covers the entire face, and you need to click out of it in order to rotate your character. Not the most intuitive, but fairly effective overall.
As soon as you’re satisfied with your character, the story kicks in. You’re trapped in a strange place known as The Fade. You’ve no idea how you got there, but before you can even think about it a horde of monsters starts converging on you. You run to a nearby tower where a glowing figure is beckoning to you. You climb to the top, barely making it in time to jump out of the nearby portal.
Cut to a jail cell. You’re on the floor in chains, and, as you glance down, you notice a glowing green energy coming out of your hand — the same colour of green as the explosion at the start of the game, strangely enough. As you learn during the next bit, there was a meeting going on at a temple, when a massive explosion rocked the building. You were the only survivor, so, thanks to that fact and the green mark in your hand, they assume you are responsible. If I go into more detail on the story, this review could very well take ten pages, so I’m going to condense the basics here now. The explosion tore open the barrier between The Fade (the realm where demons live and where magic comes from) and the physical Thedas. The rift in the sky is causing similar, much smaller breaches to open up across the land. The mark on your hand is related somehow, and can be used to seal those breaches.
So, with the leader of the Chantry apparently killed in the explosion, you’re thrust into the role of Inquisitor, and your job is to save the world. You gather your forces, gain as much power as you can, and close as many breaches as possible before mounting a final assault on the original rift. I won’t go in to too much detail on the events that happen after the rift is closed, but I will say that it is, in fact, closed by the end of the first act. What happens after that is one of my favourite moments in the game. The reveal of the true antagonist, the fight that ensues and the moments between the end of Act 1 and the start of the second act are masterfully put together.
So, now that we have the basics of the story out of the way, lets talk about the rest of the game.
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