BioWare has set the standard for RPGs by consistently releasing successful games since the beginning of the last generation. Now, at the start of a new console cycle, they’re aiming to do it again. Dragon Age Inquisition is their first attempt at a new generation game, and what was shown at E3 is a great first step.
The presentations that were shown had a randomized Inquisitor, and our character was a female Qunari mage. What we saw was alpha footage, but it still looked bright, clean, and polished. Character models were extremely detailed and all of the different fabrics your team’s clothing and armor consisted of all looked like their real-world counterparts. What was most impressive though were the magical skills and abilities, which glowed, burned, and sparkled in a myriad of colors. The sound mixing was just as crisp. Spells and attacks ring out loudly and can be heard over the score, which sounded fantastic.
Combat retains the traditional Dragon Age real-time and tactical view modes. I felt that this iteration was the smoothest yet. I always preferred to enter combat in real-time mode, but the tactical advantage given by stopping time and managing your party is heightened in Inquisition. It looked much more intuitive to control the battlefield by funneling enemies into choke points (by either taking advantage of the terrain or using your abilities) and trapping them there. This figures to be an integral part to the game especially with how diverse and wide open the world is.
During the presentation, we came across a High Dragon, which is the apex predator of Thedas. It’s a huge creature and as such, gamers can target individual limbs to wound the dragon before bringing it down. Players that just like to jump in and hack away will find themselves struggling with these creatures. You have to constantly be aware of your surroundings and make use of your entire team to make a dent. As can be expected, these aren’t short or easy battles, but are extremely rewarding once completed.
The presentation seemed to take place in the mid-game, when the Inquisition is already established and is now exerting their influence in different areas. Our objective was to infiltrate a keep and claim it as ours. We had sent scouts to hold the keep but we hadn’t heard from them in a while and it was at this point that we decided to go in and investigate. We find our scout being interrogated for information and were told by the developers that was because we chose her to scout ahead, our relationship with her as well as her personality changed. Team dynamics are a strong suit of BioWare and it’s good to see them sticking with that feature.
We run into one of our team’s old mentors, who has betrayed us. Here we are given the familiar good and bad morality choices and after some questionable decisions and a lengthy battle with the former mentor, shit really hits the fan. We’re left with the option of leaving our team for the greater good or sticking with them and perhaps dooming the world. Now this entire experience was a result of the choices made earlier in the game and exclusive to this playthrough. Your decisions and actions will alter your individual playthrough and affect what you experience.
BioWare has really played to their considerable strengths and polished up the rough patches from previous games. Team chemistry and loyalty, marvelous story-telling, and tough choices are coming together to make another BioWare hit.
You can lead the inquisition and make all the tough choices when Dragon Age Inquisition releases for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC on October 7th.