Dragon Age: Inquisition Preview

No shortage of ram to slay.

Starting a brand new character for Dragon Age: Inquisition meant releasing the idea that I would never truly understand what the characters and world were all about. I remembered a Morrigan, I remembered some cataclysmic event, and I remembered that Electronic Arts had previously been lambasted for Dragon Age 2, found decidedly inferior by fans who had already consumed everything of Dragon Age: Origins and its downloadable expansions. In fact, I own that package on Steam and still haven’t taken the leap into a convincing new license given that I was so taken by the publisher’s horror sci-fi spin in Dead Space.

Further, readers of GameRevolution know that I’m a much more stalwart proponent of Mirror’s Edge, a game that required tons of dexterity and more than a little patience on my speed running part given all the resets I would make in completing time trials and scaling leaderboards. In a quiet setting in San Francisco, Electronic Arts allowed me to create my own character, to learn of his unique ability to close a blight on mankind, and to discover that sometimes, you need to grind a little to reap a lot of gold.

In fact, it was the only moment of my demo that seemed to come to a halt in a way that actually removed me from the experience. After naming my dual-wielding and stealth-powered elf, I triggered a flashback in a mission where nearly everyone in camp would have turned on me otherwise. Somehow, my character was both responsible for the dark, green, and ominous looking portals throughout a world and the only hero capable of closing them too. What would have been a decidedly dicey situation turned positive quickly as characters like the heavily armored Cassandra and the mage Solas took a liking to me.

While the Chantry expected I was a heretic, labeling me as such with the end of the tutorial mission making up an inquisition into my backstory, Bioware’s longstanding tradition of dialog choices furthered my role as a hero. In one instance, I could be quiet while another gave me proper room to defend myself. These dialog options alone took me further into a story I had absolutely no stake in, given perhaps more importantly that Dragon Age: Inquisition is meant to allow players the ability to import save data from previous games in the franchise.

The main menu offered this before I could continue through to character creation, so it’s for that reason that I’ll likely leave reviewing responsibilities to more capable commanders. For one, some of the tactical gameplay that allows players to stop time, assign moves, and then proceed with a pull and hold of the right trigger on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One (my demo was on Xbox One) to execute, was lost on me. The tutorial didn’t do enough to push me to lean on that gameplay, though action-role-players with a penchant for hacking, casting, and generally slogging their way through combat will have a fine time.

The wall I hit, far beyond the game’s first major city, its first major missions, and into a lush camp surrounded by wildlife, seemed to segment what would become the initial impetus to drop the story in favor of branching quest lines and extended combat or dialog gameplay. That didn’t keep Dragon Age: Inquisition from asking me to kill ten rams in order to bring the meat back to camp and feed a few souls around the fire. I managed to bring down two of the creatures before bandits nearby attacked and brought my party to the ground.

While this combat difficulty increased and eventually pushed me to put down the controller, I didn’t give up until I tried to take down the group of bandits themselves. This particular quest had me completing four different requirements in the large, mountainous area. Areas that didn’t allow passage seemed fairly clear while others teased out adventure that may wait just beyond. If I hadn’t dedicatedly kept the objective in view, I would have gotten unbearably lost despite all of the friendly faces around.

For my first real foray into the game world, I’d say that Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC gamers with experience in the Dragon Age universe will feel right at home. Some of the mechanics have been smoothed through iteration and even a newcomer like myself got caught up in the story. GameRevolution will have further coverage of Dragon Age: Inquisition as we near the title’s launch in November.