Dragon Age: Inquisition is a game that asks players to explore some pretty tough questions. Unlike past games, this incarnation of the Dragon Age franchise doesn’t try to hide the obvious parallels between the game’s Chantry and the Christian church. Throughout the game, questions of faith, religious turmoil, and political upheaval figure heavily into the storyline. Dialogue options and various decisions throughout the game allow you to express your own views of religion and faith, making this one of the more personal games in the series. If you’re not prepared to deal with a fair amount of heavy-handedness, this may not be the game for you.
That being said, all of that heavy-handed allegory is cushioned by a truly massive and delightfully fun game. Unlike previous games, the storyline of Inquisition takes place on a much larger scale. You’re no longer just a small band of intrepid adventurers saving the world; in Inquisition, you become the head of a full-scale army and political movement. Before beginning to choose your alliances, however, you have the opportunity to choose your history. Through the Dragon Age Keep, you can integrate past saves, or make the decisions you missed by skipping previous games in the series.
Once you’ve got your world’s history in place, it’s time to customize your Inquisitor. Choose a male or female from a number of different races (including Qunari, for the first time), character class, preferred weapons, and more. You even have a number of voices to choose from. The diversity of the available party members ensure that you’ll never regret your choice.
Speaking of party members, the characters you encounter and recruit to your cause are one of the highlights of the game. Each of your party members has a unique and dynamic personality all their own, and their short interactions with each other as your party explores the massive landscape add a pleasant extra dimension to the game. You can also have more in-depth conversations with each character you recruit while at your Inquisition headquarters. As with the other games in the Dragon Age franchise, you have the opportunity to build both friendships and rivalries, and even find love.
Many reviewers who have played Inquisition find it hard not to compare the game’s massive world to that of Skyrim, but I found the travel style more like that of Oblivion. Imagine doubling that game’s world in size, and you’ll come close to understanding the kind of scope you’re dealing with. Be prepared for plenty of exploration – even the smaller side quests can result in more citizens coming to your cause. Building your influence through these smaller quests is what gives you the political power you’ll need to travel in certain areas and complete the missions you feel would best suit your cause. If there’s a mission that one of your companions would be better suited to complete, you can assign the tasks to them, and return later to judge their success (or failure).
The combat system in Dragon Age: Inquisition resurrects the popular tactical camera from Dragon Age II, but it can be awkward at times. To be honest, I didn’t make much use of it – with the exception of boss fights. As with previous games, you can customize the AI combat routines of your allies, but for the most part they take pretty good care of themselves. When playing on medium difficulty, I rarely found myself in a situation I couldn’t get out of; it’s pretty clear that this game was designed with players who view combat as secondary to the storyline in mind. One aspect I did enjoy is the ability to switch to controlling other party members at any point.
Although the structure and scope of Inquisition is drastically different from that of the original Dragon Age, I found it to be easily just as fun. There is so much to discover and explore, while simultaneously building relationships with characters that feel both realistic and meaningful. The game’s massive world features connections that feel real, and it’s easy to get lost in the adventure. This is what makes it a great game for RPG fans, and why I’ll keep going back again and again.
– Jenn Bentley