Dragon Age: Inquisition

Due to the fact that I’ve been living under a stone I’ve only just noticed that Dragon Age: Inquisition is due for release this year some time. I’m a big fan of the Dragon Age games, particularly Origins which I think is simply great: compelling story, interesting characters, the ability to play an arrogant Dwarf aristocrat…

Dragon Age II I was not so taken with for several reasons, though I think aesthetically it was very cool to look at. You have to play as a human for one thing, which makes me feel a little let down from the beginning. This is fantasy, with well-realized non-human cultures.  It seems a shame to make them off-limits to the player. I also didn’t like the overwhelming violence of the game. By that I mean that there was a lot of talking and interaction, as is usual for BioWare games, but it nearly always turned out that you had to overcome a problem by butchering someone. Often it was someone who was semi-innocent. I presume that the designers did this to darken the story and introduce moral ambiguity, but after a while it became predictable to me and left a bit of a bad aftertaste. I’m playing a cunning thief who I imagine is a hero at heart. I don’t want to overcome every hurdle by murdering someone.

So, Dragon Age Inquisition. No non-human hero, again, so I’m a bit disappointed at the lack of Dwarfiness. The few details that have been released sound promising to me though. Equipment will be more customizable in terms of colour and appearance, which is something I really, really enjoy in games like this. I like being able to control what my character looks like without it affecting the performance in-game. Otherwise at higher levels everyone’s game looks the same: some  unidentifiable man/woman in baroque gold armour made out of a dragon’s spiky bits.

I’m hoping for the aesthetics of Dragon Age II (updated of course), and the immersive story, strong supporting characters, and ability to solve problems in multiple ways of Dragon Age: Origins.

I feel – and this is just a personal opinion of course – that BioWare’s games were pretty much perfect around the time of Knights of the Old Republic I and II, and into Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect. But then they lost something. It’s hard to define, but I feel as though the designers messed with a good thing by trying to adapt elements of other successful games.  Probably just because if you’re a designer what else are you going to do? Designing the same thing over and over isn’t very satisfying I imagine. That said, I’m really hoping for a return to past form with this one.

All the best,

James

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2 thoughts on “Dragon Age: Inquisition

  1. aeria_gloris says:

    Guess you’re not the only one under a rock. I knew a third installement was in the works, but had no idea it was due this year.

    Like you I really dragon age: origins. I think I would have enjoyed dragon age II more if it hadn’t been called dragon age to be honest. “Hi. I’m a role-playing game and this is the role you’ll be playing. Have fun!” isn’t what I expected after the first game. The story didn’t really grip me either for some reason.

    I also agree that BioWare’s isn’t at it’s best anymore. Although I hope to be proven wrong in the near future 😉 I know you can’t just do the same thing over and over, but just cramming in stuff that is being done to death by others is really groundbreaking either. They seem to be playing things a bit too safe nowadays, at least for me.

    I probably sound pretty negative, but I still enjoyed the second game and I’ll be getting the third as well 🙂 I just hope BioWare is able to capture some of the brilliance (for me at least) from the past again.

    • beat ronin says:

      Hi aeria_gloris, glad to hear I’m not alone. Origins really was a great game, and II er . . . was OK.

      I think what I didn’t like about the story was just that it was a bit too dark and oppressive. It was all in this one city, mainly, and instead of dealing with a sudden incursion of Evil Darkiness into the world like Origins, it was all about trying to manage the political collapse of the city in the wake of the incursion. So it lacked momentum and desperation.

      And there was no way to resolve the collapse satisfactorily: pretty much everyone has to die no matter what you choose, and I just felt as though the whole story, rather than giving the player an opportunity to be a hero, instead just hammered them with the lesson that things just keep getting worse and there’s nothing anyone can do.

      That might be fashionably bleak and all, but I don’t think it’s a narrative well-suited to a fantasy RPG, which by its nature is about escapism. It’s just unsatisfying and felt, to me anyway, as though I was being told a story instead of participating in one.

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