With incredible fantasy RPG series like The Witcher, Final Fantasy, Fable, and of course The Elder Scrolls, it would appeared to some that fantasy setting RPG’s reached their pinnacle in the gaming world; But to others, including me, Dragon Age: Awakening showed there was much more that could be brought to the table. I believe that in October, Dragon Age: Inquisition will show us this again and redeem the Dragon Age series.
Bioware has proven to us time and time again that they are well versed in the making of RPG’s, and with Dragon Age: Origins release in 2009, we were shown their incredible talent yet again. The game received many praises and positive reviews, and even those who didn’t like certain elements of the game such as the combat, they enjoyed the beautiful fantasy universe that was created for the game. To this day I believe the Dragon Age universe is probably my favorite fantasy setting universe that has been created, simply because it was well thought out, each setting flowed with others, and the worlds conflicts and problems as well as accomplishments seemed believable and meaningful to me. Unfortunately, in March 2011, a sequel was released that almost ruined the series for me and countless other fans.
For whatever reason, Bioware decided to take a different approach with Dragon Age 2, that not only changed many of the gameplay mechanics that were given praise in DA1, but made fantasy world & stories in the game seem stale. The game was incredibly linear, the quests seemed more as fillers instead of side stories that helped flesh out the world, the characters were boring and almost out of place, the combat was tedious, and to top it all off the beautiful fantasy world that was created and all the things attributed to it were stripped away and barely spoken upon, leaving you stuck to hear a boring story of one city in a huge world. To be fair, many great games were released in 2011, including Bethesda’s own Fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (which is highly regarded by many as the best game of its genre to this day) which may have contributed to the poor reception of the game, but no matter which way you slice it, the game just didn’t feel like how a fantasy RPG in 2011 should feel; especially not how a sequel of Dragon Age: Origins should feel.
After 3 years of waiting for some sort of redemption for the series and for a Fantasy Role-Playing Game to be released that gives Skyrim some actual competition, this fall Dragon Age: Inquisition will attempt, and succeed in doing so; and there are several reasons I believe this.
Return of familiar and new interesting combat mechanics
One of Bioware’s trademarked RPG mechanics & perhaps Dragon Age: Awakenings most interesting was it’s combat. It allowed you to pause combat and make critical choices for your characters actions, but still give you some feeling of real-time action. Dragon Age 2 saw a faster and less tactical real-time combat. In Inquisition, game designers have decided to go with a blend of both which will make it able to switch between either mode whenever the player chooses, which allows the player to handle the quicker combat that’s akin to DA2, but incredible strategic like that of DA1.
Difficulty in Inquisition combat will see an increase as well, due to more complex enemy battle scripting, loss of regeneration health after battles, and restriction on the amount of heal spell and potion usage.
Exploration and economic decision increases
Inquisition will have a return to the world outside of a single city, but will do so in a much larger scope. Instead of the game being restricted to one particular region (i.e. Ferelden and the Free Marches) you’ll be able to visit five. And in each of the five zones there will be multiple zones that Bioware are claiming to be THREE times the size of the largest map in any Dragon Age game. And you’ll be able to traverse these large regions while being mounted on horse.
While traveling through these areas, killing certain things (such as animals) has the power to actual make those mobs scarce, which can increase the price of the items dropped by the mobs and affect the area they occupy. Also, within each region of the game, there will be certain locations that you can capture and use to bring in crafters, merchants, and soldiers that can increase your strength and influence you have in the region. This will allow for a more engaging world, as well as the player feeling like their choices and actions actually matter.
Return of world and character depth
My last and probably most important thing I can’t wait to see in Inquisition is the return of depth and integrity to the fantasy world and to the characters that inhabit it. Struggles within the world will become apparent again within the game, such as the Mages and Templars conflicts with each other or the humans oppression of the elves. The game will try to detail the stories of the world not only in dialogue, but also in the places you’ll visits environment. This was my favorite thing that Dragon Age: Awakening was able to give me while playing through it, and I’m glad to see its return in Inquisition.
Companion relations will be seeing an overhaul as well. One of my few problems with the series as the whole was that companion friendships and intimate relationships seemed lack-luster and didn’t feel real. Inquisition hopes to rectify that problem by adding some improvements on the dialogue selection wheel. First it adds a tone option which will be the standard action and opinion moments, but it compliments this with the reaction wheel which allows for more emotional moments. This will allow players to feel feel as though they are actively engaging in dialogue with the companions and able to make more meaningful word choices.
Every update on Dragon Age: Inquisition seems to add more and more to what it has to really offer, and I really believe that it’s release will show everyone that the Dragon Age series is a series worth remembering, and that fantasy setting RPG’s still have a long time to go until they reach their pinnacle.
Hey guys! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and article and I’m really sorry about that. A lot stuff has been going on in my personal life and I was letting it affect my contributions to the site, but I just want to let you guys know that I’ll be back to posting more regularly here so hopefully you guys look forward to that! Thanks everyone!
Are you excited for the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition? Why or why not?
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