I Live Here Now
Beyond the above, there are join the dot puzzles based on star constellations, an ongoing quest to track down mystical skulls which will, in turn, lead you to lost shards you’re going to want to collect, characters to romance, friendships to build and countless other distractions.
If you take your time, soak up the atmosphere and dabble in all the side quests along the way then Dragon Age Inquisition is easily going to exceed 100 hours of game play.
For those of you who haven’t experienced the first two titles, I would strongly suggest that you play through those first.
There’s a lot of lore and history to the Dragon Age universe and whilst I suspect that you would still get some enjoyment from playing through this title, you will be missing out on so much without the back story of the first two games.
The whole game does an excellent job of fan service, old characters are back with all their wit and humour intact, of course we're introduced to new characters too, allowing new friendships to be forged and romances to flourish throughout your journey.
Dungeons and Drapery
You can expect plenty of agonising choices to make again throughout Inquisition, from which factions to support to what curtains you should hang in your castle, both tough choices.
Trilogy of Trilogies
There have been some outstanding gaming trilogies in recent times.
Mass Effect and Bioshock are two great examples of how a strong narrative or theme can carry through from one game to the next.
There’s room for a satisfying story arc and plenty of time to flesh out the characters in a trilogy. You have time to become attached; time to genuinely start to care about the people in their respective worlds.
And now, another great Bioware trilogy is coming to a close with Dragon Age Inquisition.
... and Peace
In a desperate attempt to bring peace to the warring parties, the Chantry (A religious faction who is losing grip of their own military arm “the templars”) calls for peace talks to take place at a holy temple.
New areas of the map, plot points and new missions are all unlocked from the “war table”.
Completing quests will earn you influence points which you will then spend at the war table to scout out new areas to make them available to you, or to initiate new actions, some of which require your personal attention, some of which your comrades can handle for you.
This all works extremely well and makes you really feel like you’re leading your own faction.
Big, Big World
Inquisition is a BIG game.
Putting the main story arc aside, there are countless side quests and companion loyalty missions to keep you busy.
Side quests don’t just come from NPC’s hanging around waiting for someone to find their lost ring or bring their missing sheep back home either (although there are plenty of those too) You will find treasure maps, lost journals, secret caves etc.
As I said, Inquisition is a BIG game.
The Wheel Turns
For the uninitiated, Dragon Age is an epic sweeping tale that does for fantasy what Mass Effect did for Sci-Fi.
If you’ve ever read Robert Jordans equally epic series of novels “The Wheel of Time” (and if you like Fantasy Fiction I recommend that you do) then some of the game lore will feel slightly familiar to you but inspiration from such a rich narrative tapestry is no bad thing at all!
As with the second installment, you’ll start the game as a completely new character living in a world changed by the cumulative decisions made in your play through of the earlier titles.
I’m amazed (as I was with Mass Effect 3) at the way the ever expanding decision tree from the previous two games is incorporated here.
To keep the narrative flowing smoothly whilst maintaining a tailored experience not only based on decisions made in the previous games but also keeping it coherent going forward must be a monumental task.
The jaw dropping visuals are accompanied by a deep orchestral sound track which serves to enhance the already rich ambiance. Everywhere you look and every sound you hear oozes atmosphere.
...But you should come back, because Dragon Age inquisition is one of those rare gems that will stick with after you’ve finished playing.
An outstanding game in so many ways, and thoroughly deserving of praise.
Epic in every sense, Dragon Age Inquisition is a game not to be missed by any RPG fan.
No matter how mild mannered you are, you are going to get into fights, lots of them and these are great fun.
When the Lyrium hits the fan, your travelling companions will start flinging fireballs, shooting arrows or start charging forward sword depending on their predisposition.
You can tailor their response too.
What potions, weapons and spells they use and in what situation they use them can all be edited through an in game menu.
If you don’t like the idea of tinkering, you don’t have to, you can just leave them to get on with it as they see fit (or you can switch to that character yourself and do things your way).
It Wasn't Me
You find yourself sitting on the cold floor of a prison cell, a strange mark glowing on one of your bound hands.
This is the opening of Dragon Age Inquisition and the moment where you take control.
It’s time for you to start talking.
Geographic Deja Vu
Dragon Age 2 whilst still carrying a strong narrative throughout was met with a little more criticism due to its repetitive use of location maps.
You could enter a cave on one side of the world and it would look almost identical to the cave you’d just explored on the other side of the map... this didn’t make for a varied exploration experience.
That gripe aside, the story telling was again top notch, we were also introduced to some new and very intriguing characters in DA2 along with some returning cast members from the original outing.
Although you played as a different character in Dragon Age 2, pivotal choices from your original play through carried over (ala Mass Effect 2) which made the whole game feel like a much more personal experience.
Exploration has been improved dramatically, gone are the repetitive dungeon maps of the second installment.
The developer should be applauded for listening to the criticism DA2 provoked and addressing the issues in this new release.
Every location looks and feels different, from snowy mountain vistas (very Skyrim) to baked desert sands; the game world is vast, varied and beautiful. Inquisition is a very pretty game.
Things do not go as planned; an explosion decimates the temple and tares a giant rift in the sky.
Everyone within range of the blast is killed, mage and templar alike.
Everyone that is, except you.
You appear from the rift with no knowledge of how you got there, a fact that is viewed with great suspicion as you are interrogated by a returning character from Dragon Age 2.
The first Dragon Age title, Origins, released back in 2009 was a masterpiece in storytelling.
It did an excellent job of establishing the lore and factions of the world, saw you joining one of these factions (The Grey Wardens) battling against an invasion of demonic proportions and influencing the political landscape around you.
Impressively, whatever class of character you chose at the outset of Dragon Age: Origins gave you an entirely different story arc to experience through for the first few hours of play completely tailored to your choices.
This bespoke introduction to your character was also reflected as you continued your play through and influenced the narrative later in the game. It made you truly feel like you were influencing the world around you and also encouraged replay (of what was lengthy game) to explore the other classes starting scenarios.
Tactically Flinging Fireballs
There’s also a tactical option during combat where you can pause time and issue instructions as you to your party, ideal if you who like a little more strategy in your RPG battles.
Whether you go into a fight like a puppet master, pulling the strings of your comrades, or charge forward flinging spells around and trust your companions to do the same, the fighting is extremely gratifying and an excellent counterpoint to all that decision making and political intrigue.
If you enjoy crafting you’ll find plenty to like here too.
Inquisition has a comprehensive (if somewhat repetitive) resource collection mechanic.
There are countless different types of ore, flora and fauna for you to collect, some rare, some common, most only found in specific locations on the map.
You can use the plant life to make and enhance your potions (tip, you can never have too much Elfroot!).
You’ll need animal skins for your armor and ores for your weapons.
Generally speaking, as you progress through the game you’ll be able to craft more powerful items than those you’ll find lying around in loot drops or on the shelf at your friendly neighborhood store.
Like its predecessors, the narrative here is worth the price of entry alone.
As I stated earlier, you’ll be missing out on a lot of the depth and nuance if you haven’t played through the earlier titles, not to mention the fact that you are missing out on two other great games in their own right.
You really should play them first and then come back to Inquisition...
Auld Lang Syne
And now here we are with the third instalment, Dragon Age: Inquisition and let me state right now that it doesn’t disappoint.
For players of the previous titles there is a handy recap of your personal “Story so far...” available to you which is a very nice touch and extremely useful at refreshing your memory before you plunge into the latest epic.
Following the dramatic ending to Dragon Age 2, Inquisition finds a world reeling with conflict.
Mages have rebelled against their Templar keepers (who in turn are pulling away from Chantry control) and warfare ravages the land.