The Dragon Age series has been a mark in the RPG genre, casting a very large shadow on the video game industry. While the first game in the series, Dragon Age: Origins, proved to be one of the best RPG’s made in the last ten years, the second installment didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, doing everything the other one did, but on a much smaller and shallower scale.
Now, it is time for the third one called Dragon Age: Inquisition, but will it surpass the other two? While it does look so, there are still some things that bother my mind. But let’s look at the sunny side of the street first:
The gigantic explorable world is maybe the most noticeable feature of the game, especially after the second title’s small and static setting. Players will be far from stranded inside the same walls, or even the same region and this makes exploring the game’s gorgeous setting much more fun, diverse and dynamic. It creates a truly believable world with an incredibly rich environment. Just think of the sheer number of side quests, events, and secret loot locations that may be spawned inside such an immersive world. Goosebumps!
This is greatly enhanced by the game’s beautiful visual design. Just judging by the video trailers (and there’s a whole bunch of them) you can see just how much the game evolved its eyecandy graphics; and in a fantasy universe such as this, that proves to be quite an important factor.
A new and totally shocking addition to Dragon Age is the multiplayer component. Usually, when a story-driven video game like Dragon Age gets a multiplayer mode, that’s bad news, because it ultimately proves to be a poor mechanic whose sole purpose is to appeal to the multiplayer fans and this getting more units sold. But in DA: Inquisition’s case, that doesn’t look so bad, especially after following Mass Effect 3’s successful multiplayer system. It does not feature competitive mechanics, and that’s ok, but it’s all about cooperative dungeons and applying tactics and teamwork, all of these while benefiting from the game’s loot and crafting system.
The first Dragon Age games, just like the other Bioware creations, had a very diverse and compelling cast of characters. I’m talking, of course, about the ones in the player’s party. And in this third instalment of the series it looks like we have quite the fellowship. This comes as a great thing, but it can also be quite the pain. An issue I’ve encountered in the other titles was that I couldn’t get myself to play with all the characters and thus not getting to know them all that well, even if they each had their own personal quest. I didn’t need them in my party because I already had some favorite ones of the same class. For example, I always kept Morrigan at my side because I just loved the way her character was done. So it’s clear that I didn’t need or want the other mage-class characters in the party. I’d really like to see some sort of solution to this, like a lot more character-exclusive quests that oblige you to team up with everyone and experience everyone’s companionship and even witness their reactions to each other, while also getting attached to the more resonant ones.
One of the things I don’t quite fancy is the idea of a new protagonist. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the Inquisitor, but if you look at Mass Effect, Cmd. Sheppard was one of the best characters ever, and it’s you who created him and gave him purpose. It’s the fact that you carried him over three different games that made him who he is, so this time, I’d love to stick with my character for the future Dragon Age Instalments. I want to see it evolve and become part of me and my visions. I want this legacy to continue, and while it’s not a flaw for DA: Inquisition, it may be for the future titles.
The last thing I can think of, that I’m afraid would not have the impact I’d like to see, is the choices you’ve made in the previous installments. Again, in Mass Effect, you witnessed direct consequences to the choices you’ve made in previous games, but that wasn’t the case in Dragon Age. I would like to see that scale of action-reaction system reflected here as well. I want to know that I influenced the world, that I changed it with my own hands and to have to live with my own actions’ consequences, not just some mere references here and there, but actual, thick changes. This adds a lot to the immersion and would also create a huge desire of replayability.
So it is without a doubt that Dragon Age: Inquisition will be better than its older brothers on all levels, but there are still some things that could be improved. But we don’t know that they aren’t, who knows, maybe my fears are unjustified and the game will check all the right boxes and satisfy all of these criterias, and more. And if not, well… it can’t get worse than Dragon Age 2. So we have that going for us.