|Release Date||November 18, 2014|
|ESRB||Mature [Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language]|
|Reviewer||Jason Jasicki (Site)|
It’s been over three years since we last explored Ferelden and the world of Thedas, and gamers have been yearning for a game to cleanse their palate of Dragon Age II. With the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare has made up for all the wrongdoings of its predecessor by creating a real, breathing world on the brink of chaos, as well as a complex and satisfying gameplay experience.
A breach in the sky has torn a trans-dimensional hole in the world, spewing out Darkspawn and demons to wreak havoc in the lands. As the only one who has the mysterious ability to seal these voids, your goals to bring peace back to the world are lofty, ambitious, and a bit cliché. At times it’s difficult to follow what the hell is going on in Dragon Age: Inquisition; there are so many characters, regions, titles, and confusing plot devices all happening at once it can be easy to get lost. But after a dozen or so hours you can start to pick up the finer details—events and names start to make sense—and it’s here that Inquisition really takes off and becomes the RPG we always wanted to see from BioWare and the Dragon Age series.
A full cast of playable and non-playable characters create a living, breathing world with different factions aiming for vastly different goals. As with past games in the series, you will be asked to make decisions that will please one group but totally alienate the other. Though scarce, these moments create some of the more riveting moments in my recent gaming memory. Overall the scope is much greater than in previous games, and that makes for a much more enjoyable experience.
Real-time combat presents the game’s greatest challenge and most satisfying rewards. At first you can easily run into a group of enemies with just your weapons drawn, but eventually you’ll need strategy to come out victorious. Using your party’s skills and defeating a particularly nasty boss is deeply gratifying. Each class has a specific role in combat that will take some getting used too, and orchestrating your team takes patience and planning but it’s worth it in the end. Compared, Inquisition’s combat feels the most fluid and engrossing.
Though there’s a constant reminder of your impending doom just hanging in the sky all Majora’s Mask style, exploring your surroundings and taking in the scenery has its benefits. Herbs and ores are scattered across the land, which can be used to create provisions for the war effort or new armors and weapons for your group. The adventurous types who like to explore every mountainside and pond are usually graciously rewarded. BioWare delivered on creating a much more open world than in previous games. Though zones aren’t to the scale of, say, Skyrim, there are miles of land to explore and plenty of quests and curious folk to meet.
Alas, quests are unfortunately one of the low points for the game. Many quests are simple fetch quests, while others have you meeting specific people or collecting a requisite number of kills before completing. It was a bit of a letdown to see your character, the leader of the Inquisition, gathering a potion to cure some guy’s sick wife. The main quest line however is much more exhilarating, with memorable arcs and deceitful foes. Just be prepared to do less meaningful tasks in between.
The visuals on PC are astounding. A large amount of work went into detailing the world and it pays off: Cities are bustling with well-dressed nobles and ragged peasants; lush landscapes are begging for you to explore; and characters’ facial expressions are actually convincing. There’s some strange lighting with characters’ hair but it’s only a minor visual hiccup in an otherwise good looking game.
A multiplayer mode has been added to the mix this time around. There are predetermined classes and objectives for you and your team to accomplish. Working together and using each other’s abilities wisely will lead to victory. This mode is completely unrelated to anything accomplished in the main story mode, but it does offer its own leveling perks and benefits. Though I didn’t find it near as captivating as the main game, it is a fun diversion that does let you see what you’re missing from other classes.
Though the learning curve is steep and the heavy RPG elements and high fantasy setting can be hard to get into right away, those that stick with Dragon Age: Inquisition will find not only the best game in the series, but one of the better RPGs out there. BioWare has completed their trilogy and improved upon nearly every aspect of the previous titles to gave us the game we’ve been wanting for years.