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What is Dragon Age: Inquisition?

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
Dragon Age: Inquisition release date October 7 2014

It’s been three years since Bioware gave us Dragon Age 2, an epic single-player action RPG set in the fantasy land of Thedas. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the follow up and plenty of fans will be excited by the potential of another great story arc while simultaneously having some apprehension as to whether some of the issues with the previous game, such as the removal of the tactical view, have been resolved.

We were lucky enough to see the single-player game being played up close in a 30 minute demo at E3 2014, but we certainly have some reservations about the game, especially as its still in alpha despite the impending release date.

First let us start with the scale. Dragon Age: Inquisition will be the biggest Dragon Age ever. You will be able to visit every mountain and valley you can view in the impressively long draw distance vistas. In fact, Bioware claims every previous Dragon Age map will fit into Inquisition with a little to spare.

So Inquisition is big, but it’s pretty too. Bioware has used the Frostbite 3 engine to create a lush world. Armoured characters and enemies look handsome and detailed, although we were less impressed with some of the textures we saw in the landscape. Up close trees looked a little basic and character faces during cut-scenes look decidedly last-gen. 

As with Dragon Age games before it the plot will take centre stage in Inquisition. The story revolves around a cataclysmic event, a rift in the Veil that separates physical world of Thedas from the metaphysical world known as the Fade. The opening of the rift kills thousands, you alone survived the catastrophe, but not unscathed. The rift has left its mark on you.

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Titled the Inquisitor, you will be able to choose from a variety of races and classes from which to build your main character. With four races and nine specialisations to choose from, as well as the choice of being male or female, there is plenty of scope for creating a unique character.

As the Inquisitor you are the leader of the Inquisition, a faction tasked with repairing the tears in the Veil and subduing the rebellious Mages. As you progress through the game you will be forced to make important decisions that will change the outcome of the game, allowing for 40 different major endings. Each area you liberate and control becomes an asset for the Wartable, your strategic command centre, and opens new paths and characters.

Areas are more realistic than those you’ll find in most RPGs. Rather than randomly spawning animals and enemies every time you kill them you will need to nurture your environment. Kill all the bears in an area, for example, and you won’t find any more meaning if you need pelts for crafting new items you’ll need to hunt further afield.

Yes that’s right, crafting. For the first time in Dragon Age players will be able to craft weapons and armour as well as augmenting found ones. Oh and there are plenty of mounts to choose from too.

Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t just the biggest in the Dragon Age series; it will also have the largest cast. You will able to choose from a variety of different characters to make up your team of four and who you decide to take with you will affect how you play.

Combos make their appearance once again. Pick a party with members that complement each other and you will be able to dish out additional damage to enemies. In the demo we saw a mage freeze an opponent while the minotaur-like Iron Bull used his massive hammer to smash the frozen beastie to pieces. 

Even though you have a main character in Dragon Age: Inquisition you can flit from one team member to another during combat. You can either do this on the fly or use the impressively revamped tactical view.

Hit pause when you’re in a fight and time freezes. You can then zoom in and out and rotate the camera around, getting a feel for the combat area. A simple command system then lets you set up your squad’s actions.

In the demo we saw a group of mages attack the Inquisitor in a room. The Inquisitor’s team was above the enemy with just two choke points up a couple of flights of stairs. In tactical view the player selected Iron Bull to guard the main choke point and another fighter to protect the smaller stairway while an archer was positioned on a balcony to rain arrows down on the enemy from a safe position. It looks a great system and will keep fans of turn-based RPGs happy.

The most impressive battle we were shown, though, was against an immense Fereldan Frostback dragon. There were a number of areas to attack the beast which can change the tide of the battle. In the demo the player opted to focus on one of the rear legs. As the dragon took damage it began to move more slowly and limp, allowing the team to get critical hits in more hard to reach areas.

First Impressions

The latest Dragon Age looks to be a massive game. With more than 50 hours of plot driven gameplay on offer it should satisfy even the most hardcore RPG fans. Some of the complaints we had from Dragon Age 2 look to have been listened to and worked on, we’re just not quite sure how much better Inquisition will look on the PS4 or Xbox One compared to the previous gen versions. 

Xbox One owners will get the benefit of premier content first.

Read more: Best Xbox One games

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