Well it’s time for another game review and since I have been on a major Dragon Age Inquisition binge I thought I would put out a review for the game because it is amazing and it honestly got me out of my Mass Effect induced depression that I fell into after Mass Effect 3….yes it’s 2016 and I am still mourning my Shepard but let’s move on to the actual review.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and the game was released worldwide in November 2014 for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One and the basic plot starts with the mage-templar war (started in Dragon Age II) being temporarily halted thanks to the Conclave, a peace conference orchestrated by a woman named Divine Justinia but during the negotiations, an explosion destroys the Conclave, killing the Divine and many senior Chantry clerics, along with many mages and Templars.
The explosion creates the Breach, a massive hole in the Veil which is the magical boundary between the physical world and the Fade, the world of spirits, as well as many smaller rifts allowing all sorts of demons and other creatures to enter the physical world and the only survivor of the blast is your character, who emerges from a rift with a mark on their hand capable of closing the rifts, but no memory of what happened.
This leads to your character being interrogated by some familiar faces or more specifically by Cassandra Pentaghast from Dragon Age II and Sister Leliana from Dragon Age Origins and since you are the sole survivor you are apparently guilty by default because reasons however after helping close several rifts they declare you innocent and claim you are the key to stopping the breach but when things ever that simple.
After sealing the main giant gaping hole in the sky temporally, the people of Thedas begin to call your character “The Herald of Andraste” and together with Cassandra, Leliana, Knight Commander Cullen who was a former Templar and a diplomat named Josephine, you carry out one of the Divine’s last orders and establish the Inquisition, an organization that can act independently to address the crisis, close the Breach for good and defeat the one who created it while restoring order to the chaos.
Character creation starts at the beginning of the game when you are stuck in the Fade and as character creation systems go the system in Inquisition is pretty damn good although I wanted a lot more options but anyway you can customize your Inquisitor’s race as a starting point since you have a choice of making him/her a Human, Elven, Dwarf or for the first time a Qunari.
After a race and a gender is picked for your inquisitor, you can then begin to customize said character’s physical appearance and you can honestly do quite a lot here and if you don’t feel like playing around with various sliders for hours there are presets available but I personally like playing around with customization options in this game quite a bit and the above image of one of my main characters is a result of playing around with the system, you can customize everything from hairstyle, hair and eye colour, eyebrows, mouth and half a dozen other things to make your inquisitor unique.
Once you finish customizing your character, you have to pick a class and there are five classes in the game, they are Dual Wielding rogue, Archer, Shield and Sword Warrior, Two Handed Warrior and the Mage and they all play differently with the own strengths and weaknesses but I will get into that more later along with some other things.
So after you complete the introduction and tutorial you awake in a place called Haven which is the starting area and your early game base of operations and just note that Dragon Age Inquisition is far larger than both its predecessors with some areas stretching on for ages before you reach the edges of the map so the road you must travel is indeed a long one.
Speaking of gameplay, Haven and Skyhold serves a few functions; from these two hub areas you can craft new gear and weapons in the blacksmithing areas, talk to various NPCs and your companions like Cassandra, Blackwall and Sera for example then there is the War Table.
The War Table is a rather cool addition because you feel like you are commanding a entire force of people, from it you have three advisors, Spymaster Leliana, former Knight Commander turned Inquisition general Cullen and Lady Josephine Montilyet who is the ambassador and chief diplomat of the Inquisition and just so you know, Cullen and Josephine are romanceable.
As you can see from the screen above each mission has a required time for the task to be completed and there are your three advisors, Leliana is your go to person for what I like to call “Cloak and Dagger” tasks which means spying, assassinations, blackmail you get the idea while Josephine is a diplomat, she uses her words and her various connections to get the job done and finally there is Cullen who uses brute force.
Curtain missions sometimes requires a specific advisor like Leliana or Cullen for scouting a new game area leaving Josephine free to deal with other tasks and there are other missions that give you a choice on you to send and each advisor can complete the same missions in different times so choose who is best for the job.
From the image above you can see Power and Inquisition perks and I will get into those now before I forget and I will start with Power because that is the easiest, so you use Power in the game to gain access to new missions at the war tablet and this means, mainly, the missions that are connected with the main storyline and those that allow you to unlock new locations in the world map and they are quite important because while the first few missions roughly cost a Power cost of 8 to 10 the amount gets higher so its best to stockpile Power.
Each time you amass a required number of points, you progress to a higher level of Influence and you receive a Perk point which can then be spent on unlocking the perk of your choice from four unique trees which are Forces, Secrets, Connections and finally Inquisition and each tree has specific perks with various bonuses.
For example the Secrets tree which is totally Leliana’s tree has a perk called “Deft Hands, Fine Tools” which allows all the rogues in the party to open master locks and there are a few that has some really good loot so it’s a useful perk if you are the type to explore the environment thoroughly like me, another example of a great perk is called “Sterling Reputation” which is in the Connections tree and that one has the lovable Josephine written all over it because once unlocked will make you receive 10% more gold from merchants for the goods that you sell them.
More advanced Perks become available only after you unlock the earlier ones in a given group but be warned it can be quite slow to obtain Perk points so it is best to think carefully how you want to spend them but let’s move on to other things like the rest of the gameplay.
Above is some of my own recorded gameplay of one unlockable areas named Storm Coast and it is one of the first areas you unlock from the War Table so give this a click to get a general look of the gameplay because its got a bit of everything, hell I managed to get lucky and capture a fight between a giant and one of the numerous dragons at the end but anyway I am going to now move on to the character upgrades, party members and crafting system.
After doing various quests you and your party members will level up and in doing so you will earn a single point to put into your various skill trees or theirs and honestly Dragon Age Inquisition put a rather heavy emphasis on building your character and party members accordingly and I will explain from the beginning because it will help.
As you know there are three main classes, Warrior, Rogue and Mage and each have their own skill trees but just so you know both Sword and Shield warriors and Two Handed warriors have the same skill trees, as with the Dual Wielding rogue and Archer.
Each class has four trees each and I will start with the Warrior class because I am working on that class currently in game so anyway both warriors have the same trees and they are Two Handed, Weapon and Shield, Vanguard and Battlemaster, each tree has unique passive and active skills that will make your character a powerhouse.
But that isn’t all because after you reach Skyhold you can specialize your character class further with three more subclasses and they are the Champion, the Templar and the Reaver but I will leave them up to you to discover and each class have unique trees so its a case of getting the right skills and gear to survive Thedas and lead the Inquisition and don’t worry if you screw up and spend points in the wrong trees you can buy a fancy necklace to completely refund the points so you can start over.
Moving on from character skills its time to talk party members because you will be spending a great deal of time with some of them and just so you know the game offers nine companions to join you in your quest to save Thedas.
Like the two previous games you can romance party members and in Inquisition there are gender specific romances, Cassandra for example can only be romanced by a male Inquisitor but she can however be flirted with if you are playing a female character, Dorian can only be romanced by a male Inquisitor because he is the first purely gay male companion in Dragon Age so sorry about that one ladies.
Solas can only be romanced by a female elven Inquisitor, Blackwall and Sera can both be romanced by a female inquisitor but in Sera’s case its better if you are a Qunari female because I am guessing from her dialog that’s her preference and finally there is the Iron Bull and well he can be romanced by everybody, you can romance the hulkish Qunari as any race or gender.
And if you are wondering if you can do the horizontal tango with Varric, Vivienne or Cole I am sad to say that you can’t, Varric has no interest in any one due to being pretty much married to his crossbow, Vivienne will shut you down hard if you try and romance her, basically she’ll laugh at you and point out there are no advantages for her by dating you…yeah harsh and then there is Cole who has no sexual desire what so ever.
Cullen and Josephine can be romanced even though they are not companions and as for Leliana well she is far too busy being Theda’s version of Ezio Auditore to find the time but you can flirt and have somewhat of a relationship with Scout Harding, the dwarf who you meet when you enter a new area for the first time but dating woes aside I think it is time to move on to one of my favourite things in Inquisition and that is the crafting system and the hunting.
Now for those of you who don’t know I personally love hunting and looting things in video games if it a major mechanic and since you actually need to hunt and collect various resources in Inquisition to get better gear I love this game but I will just go into the basics about the crafting system because you will soon get the hang of it after some practice.
Below is one of Inquisition’s crafting screens and while it might seem a bit confusing at first glance it is rather simple, basically to craft new armour or weapons, the player needs a blueprint and a sufficient amount of crafting materials to actually craft the item.
The schematic determines the appearance and potential power of the crafted item and it pretty much amounts to putting a set number of leather, metal, or cloth pieces into specific slots in the recipe but there is more to crafting than that when you factor in the bonuses and effects that various materials will give the item.
Leather can be looted from various creatures, metals can be gathered almost everywhere and cloth is looted from enemies but if you aren’t so keen on spending hours collecting resources, some materials can also be purchased from merchants or rewarded for completing war table operations and just so you know crafting materials can be collected without limiting the player’s inventory space which is a absolute godsend because there is a rather neat exploit you can do with unlimited space.
There are five different types of crafting slots and they are; utility, offense, defence, damage, and armour with damage and armour slots being unique to weapons and armour respectively and higher tier schematics can have more than one of the same slot like the above image which has one primary slot which is the slot in the centre, one utility slot which has the gear symbol above it and two offensive slots which have the symbol of two crossed swords.
So I think I have covered most of the interesting aspects of gameplay like the crafting system and combat so lets talk graphics, sound and the usual because if you have to spend almost a entire month running around about two continents they might as well look pretty and the people sound awesome.
Graphics wise Dragon Age is a gorgeous looking game, the character models are really good for an example just look are Cullen up top but anyway the cut scenes are also done really well which is good because there are quite a few of those, just make sure to rest your eyes when you get to the Emerald Graves because well it’s giant forest and the sheer amount of various and vibrant greens will make your eyes go a bit funny.
Sound is also good because the numerous voice actors did a amazing job voicing their respective roles and yes Leliana does sing in this instalment even though she doesn’t have her perky friendly demeanour anymore which is one thing I don’t like but moving on but if you liked Leliana’s song from Origins then you will love when Leliana and co sing “The Dawn Will Come”.
“The Dawn Will Come” is the absolutely gorgeous song as is most of the music in this game but I posted a video of the song in game above for your enjoyment and just so you know the video isn’t mine, I completely forgot to record that cutscene the first time around and I haven’t gotten to that point on my other playthroughs yet but I will replace it because my Inquisitor is damn gorgeous…totally not bragging…okay I am but its my review so suck it.
So lets talk replay value because like every Bioware title one simply does not only do one playthrough and Dragon Age Inquisition is no different and take it from me speaking from experience you will need to do multiple playthroughs to get the full experience of this behemoth of a game.
Why must you make multiple saves and characters you say, well Inquisition’s game world and its inhabitants will react to you being a certain race or class, every decision you make will change the world on a huge scale, for example you have to decide the fate of an entire empire so this game goes all out.
In my honest opinion, The Keep is a bad system and here is why, so Dragon Age Keep is a free website/app that allows players to tailor decisions made in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and import them into a new game of Dragon Age: Inquisition and I mean tailoring all 300 decisions throughout both previous games.
Basically The Keep scans a linked account to check for any pre-existing Wardens or Hawkes and it will go from there but if there aren’t any, there will be an option to choose from a selection of pre-defined heroes and once the protagonists from the previous games have been selected, an animated video narrated by Varric will play describing the events of the previous instalments and any time the story branches, the user will have the ability to alter what happens therefore creating a unique gamestate.
You can have up to 10 different World States saved in the Keep at any one time and you can edit or delete them at any moment although you must have at least 1 World State saved, so after creating a unique game state when you go to create a new character you can use that set of decisions for your new playthrough it seems just a bit too much…like honestly what happens it you can’t get to The Keep?
Speaking of collectibles there are quite a few and to be honest they are rather odd, you have landmarks, regions, hidden bottles called the Bottles of Thedas which are pretty much rare wines and spirits hidden around the world, mosaic pieces that are quite a pain in the ass to find, Astrarium puzzles which are basically constellations and just so you know, most of these you will end up getting as you play through the game but you might need a guide or two here and there to collect everything if you are a completion addict like I am.
Dragon Age Inquisition has a total of 69 achievements with a grand total of 1570 Gamerscore and you will earn most of those by playing through once while some might take multiple playthroughs to actually get like the “Well-Funded” achievement where you have to earn 50,000 or more gold across all single-player playthroughs but don’t worry its easier to get once you know a few exploits here and there.
So all in all Dragon Age Inquisition is a great RPG, it combines the best out of Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age II into one massive experience that will give you hours of enjoyment, I myself has numerous characters and I am still not done with this game and I have been at it for months, I am thankful In didn’t buy the GOTY edition or otherwise I would never get this review out but anyway that’s all I can say, its great solid game and it is a must buy if you are a Bioware fan or a fan of massive RPGs like the previous games or The Witcher series so with that I will end this review so please like, comment down below and share with the hashtag #Slay3rNation so other people can read it and I will se you in the next post.