In the thralls of November 2014 releases ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ should be remembered as the mastery of epic RPG offerings. Players will take trips across Thedas, crafting a somewhat unique story-line in their adventures, exploring the cities and battles that are all around them.
Inquisition starts strong, just the first few chapters were enough to get me hooked into the immense story and characters that were introduced in the game. Just the visuals of the game itself are impressive, the lands feel vast and open, dotted with smaller missions and quests along the roads and hills, pushing you to keep exploring as you travel and leading you to the more interesting areas of each map.
Unlike actual Inquisitors of Spain, your goal is a bit more noble than simply torturing and exposing heretics in the world around you. An immense explosion kills a religious priest during negotiations, leaving a giant hole in the heavens from which evil forces begin to enter your world. You are tasked with sealing this tear, and others like it, as you save the kingdom from certain doom.
If you have played the first two Dragon Age games then you will have a leg-up in both combat and story, but you won’t be lost forever if you haven’t. The game does a terrific job of allowing you to read-up on characters, settings and details through a lore-book in the game. It came in handy when I couldn’t exactly remember why I knew a character’s name or location from a previous game, and it is simple to use and should come in handy for everyone.
How you design your character won’t change the central theme of the game, but it will alter the story and interactions found in the game slightly. The game reacts to your choices by cutting off relationships, or making new ones within the story and smaller missions. Each race offers just enough change that playing through again is enjoyable, and it was fun to see how a particular race was treated as I moved ahead, and to see the world through a fresh pair of eyes (even virtually).
Bioware has made terrific characters in the past, but I think that Inquisition may offer the most dynamic, and diverse characters in the library so far. The characters built into the world around you are fantastic, fun to discover, and often times hard to predict. You can grow your party by adding members, and I haven’t had this much fun seeking out secretive party members since my early days of finding Vincent in Final Fantasy VII.
A borrowed mechanic, but still a great one, is the ability to build relationships with your companions and learn more about them to unlock secrets. You will meet characters from your past, from other Dragon Age titles and from the lands you visit, and I think it will be easy for anyone to find a favorite among the choices offered. Who you bring along to each mission will unlock different dialog trees, a standard mechanic is recent Bioware games, and each playthrough could offer something different because of it.
Your war table offers a bit of a break from the standard game. Sending out agents that you acquire along the way will grant you items and reputation. It’s a side-filler and one that is enjoyable to use, and offers something extra in the game without ever having to be annoying or time consuming.
If you have three friends in your life I would also recommend the four player co-op missions. You will be assigned simple tasks like escorting NPCs through dangerous terrain, and will have to survive the onslaught that awaits you. All of it felt like an extra option just shoehorned into the game, but was enjoyable to play when you needed a break or wanted to play with friends. The fact that micro-transations were added to this section only solidified my theory that the option was an after thought, but it can be fun and isn’t the main focus of the purchase for any RPG fan, so it gets some slack.
The game could easily be a new standard for modern RPGs, offering a terrific story told across a gorgeous landscape. The extras and add-on missions help you explore new areas more than force you to backtrack again and again, and the combat design was only improved over DA:2 and DA:1. You could easily sink 80+ hours into the game, loving your party or hating certain members of it, and I think it could be one of the best Bioware RPGs the studio has released in a decade.