Dragon Age: Inquisition Preview

Do you believe in magic?

Watching an alpha build of Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay reminded me why I fell in love with the franchise to begin with. Even though it is still in pre-production, it is one of the most stunning game worlds I have ever seen. Bioware has clearly been polishing up a game that will make people who play it an instant addict regardless of their previous Dragon Age experience.

In character creation, you can not only choose your class and gender, but you can also choose your race, an aspect of the game that was strangely absent in Dragon Age 2. Bioware has also gone a step further adding a never-before-seen race to the option list: Qunari. The particular demo I saw showcased a BAMF female qunari mage build and it was truly glorious. What better way to venture through the most expansive Dragon Age world to date in an attempt to unite two warring factions than as one of its most ostracized minorities.

The addition of open-world exploration allows you to go out into the world of Ferelden instead of being bogged down by restrictive maps with preset landmarks. You'll also be able to have an impact on the world around you in many ways. Along with your impact on the people you encounter on your journey you'll also affect the wildlife of Ferelden as well. Kill a ton of bears and you'll see their numbers slowly dwindle. Choose not to help villagers and see them fall into despair as the war between the mages and templars spills into the lives of the common folk. This will also be the first Dragon Age game where you get "mounts," allowing you to ride everything from horses to giant lizard beasts and other exotic creatures, which will make exploring the great expanse of Ferelden a bit less tedious.

The combat mechanics in Dragon Age: Inquisition go back to its Dragon Age Origins roots with a re-imagined tactic system. While in tactical view you can pause combat and issue orders to your party members while also determining what an enemy's weaknesses are. Once you are done planning your attack, you can start the fight back up again without losing your viewpoint, which makes the transition seamless and less jarring. Having the ability to tell your party members to move where you want and what attack they'll unleash once they get there will be incredibly beneficial.  

Enemies have gotten a makeover and of course dragons are the most formidable. Not only do they have a completely revamped look, their combat behavior is far more advanced than previous Dragon Age titles. Before you can come close to killing a dragon, you will need to take out its legs individually, this is not as easy as it seems. It was altogether a very impressive battle and probably one of the most challenging dragon battles I have ever witnessed in a game and, yes, that includes Skyrim.  

As the Inquisitor you have gained a special ability to close Breaches, which are massive holes between our world and the Fade that are beginning to open and unleash all manner of evil upon the land. In order to mend a breach you will need to fend off waves of demons. You are also heading up the Inquisition and can use your wartable to send out troops to certain areas, assign soldiers to combat, dispatch spies upon your enemies, or search for resources.  

There have also been significant changes to the inventory system as well as crafting. You can create your own weapons and name them whatever you want and we all know what that means: customizing follower armor sets which was another feature missing from Dragon Age 2. Basically it's safe to say that most of the issues, if not all of the issues that turned many people off to Dragon Age 2 have been done away with.  

Dragon Age: Inquisition looks beautiful and will most certainly live up to the hype it's been building towards since it was announced. BioWare clearly has been able to use next-gen technology to its advantage and build the Dragon Age adventure the developers have always dreamed of creating. They are giving us more major ending variations, more romance options, more of a world to explore, and most importantly more Leliana. Okay, that last one might not be for everybody, but you get the idea. Dragon Age: Inquisition will be available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One in October in North America and is set for a European release on October 10th.