‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ — Third Version Not Equal to the First, But Tops the Second

Robert Davis, Staff Reporter

A strange breach has opened up in the sky right after the death of the grand cleric from a blast where you stand — at the epicenter.  You awake with a strange marking on your hand that can close the rifts that allow demons to pour through across the land. You must reinstate and lead the inquisition to restore order.

That was a short summary of the overarching plot of “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” the latest RPG released by Bioware and the third installment in the Dragon Age series. Many people are wary of this game due to “Dragon Age 2” not coming close to “Dragon Age: Origins” in quality.

“Inquisition” is far better than “Dragon Age 2,” but it still isn’t as great as “Dragon Age: Origins.”

Here’s a breakdown: First, the combat remains action-oriented as in “Dragon Age 2” instead of the slower combat of “Origins.”

“Inquisition” keeps the four-man-squad combat formula that has been used since “Origins” and is the staple of the Dragon Age combat. The game no longer has auto-attack; instead you have to hold down a key to continue attacking or click for every attack.

There are two problems with the combat system, the first of which is the removal of the tactics menu so you can no longer assign custom behaviors for the AI, which is a bad mistake since it takes away from the depth of the combat. It means you have to micromanage all your party members on higher difficulty levels.

The second problem is more of a PC-specific problem. The tactical camera feels like it was made for controllers instead of the keyboard and mouse. You can no longer move the camera with the mouse; instead you use the keyboard, which feels really awkward. In addition, the camera doesn’t zoom out as far, making it hard to see the entire battlefield. 

One of the best things about the combat is the dragon battles, unlike in the last two versions, in which you just targeted the dragon. You can now target and cripple individual limbs to weaken the dragon. There are also more variations, but it’s best for you to discover them for yourself.”

You can also no longer move characters by right-clicking the ground, unless in tactical view, which is a bit clunkier. Despite these negatives, the combat is still very enjoyable.

They use the three-class system with sub classes called “specializations” under the three primary classes. The classes are the “mage,” “rogue,” and “warrior,” each with very different play styles and unique skills.

The combat still requires the use of tactics before attacking something that could be much more powerful at that stage of the game; for example, it would be a bad idea to attack a dragon that’s level 12 if you are level 6.

One of the best things about the combat is the dragon battles, unlike in the last two versions, in which you just targeted the dragon. You can now target and cripple individual limbs to weaken the dragon. There are also more variations, but it’s best for you to discover them for yourself. Fighting a dragon is rewarding, challenging — and very fun. The dragon battles are the hardest fights in the game.

The storyline is a massive part of playing Dragon Age games. The best thing about these games has always been interesting, in-depth characters, who lead throughout the game. This version is no exception.

The allies are all interesting characters with opinions on all of the choices you make throughout the game — except one for me, but mainly because I didn’t like the character’s personality, not due to poor writing.

As in “Origins,” if you anger a character with your decisions enough, they will leave your party, save for two that are essential to the story. Another important aspect of the story of Dragon Age is choice. You still make many decisions that don’t have a pure right or wrong decision.

In “Inquisition,” though, you can’t make your character pure evil, as in “Origins.” You can still be a bad person, just not pure evil.

Your decisions from past games make a difference in “Inquisition.”  For example, if you decided to let a certain character live, they may appear in “Inquisition,” and if you killed them, they won’t.

There are multiple returning characters from the first two games, and they will be written with opinions of your characters from those two games, positive or negative. It’s enjoyable to see characters from the first two games and to see how Bioware changed their personalities.

You don’t have to play through the first two games to have these decisions, though. There is something called the “dragon age keep” that lets you make the decisions from the first two games that affect “Inquisition” and create a save file and import it to “Inquisition.”

The main plot of the “Inquisition” story is good, with many twists and turns. The only negative issue is that the main villain is kind of one-dimensional, but Dragon Age games never really have deep villains. There is a massive plot twist after the credits roll, so make sure to not skip it.

One additional negative is the awful tacked-on multiplayer portion. There are micro transactions where you pay money for items in the game, which is bad in any game with multiplayer that has a large price tag. You don’t have to pay money to progress, though.

The final area to examine is the environments, which are well crafted and all have unique aesthetics, except for the starting area, by far the slowest section of the game. The environments vary from a war-torn wasteland, a vibrant forest, a freezing mountainous area, and a swamp.

Those are not all the environment types, but you get an idea of the variation. There are also hidden things you can find in the environments, such as notes that explain what happened at a scene that you arrived upon.

To answer one of the most important questions, is the game worth the $60 price tag? Yes. There are multiple ways to replay this game with different choices and class combinations, and one play through can last up to 60 hours — and that’s not doing every mission.

Overall it’s a very good experience and a massive improvement over the second game, even if it does not live up to the first version.