Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Dragon Age: Inquisition
The game's cover art. The text "DRAGON AGE" is at the top, with the larger text "INQUISITION" directly below. In the lower centre of the image is an armored soldier, holding a sword with one hand, and pointing to mystical creatures in the sky with the other. The "BioWare" and "EA" logos are at the bottom of the cover.
Developer(s) BioWare
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Writer(s) David Gaider
Composer(s) Trevor Morris[1]
Series Dragon Age
Engine Frostbite 3[2] with SpeedTree[3]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s) NA November 18, 2014[4][5]
RU November 18, 2014[6]
AUS 20141120November 20, 2014
EU 20141121November 21, 2014
ZA 20141121November 21, 2014
JP 20141127November 27, 2014
Genre(s) Action role-playing[7]
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

Dragon Age: Inquisition is an action role-playing video game[7] developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.[8][9] It is the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, the third major game in the Dragon Age franchise.[8][10] The game was released in November 2014 for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One video game consoles.

Dragon Age: Inquisition received critical acclaim, with critics praising its story, voice acting, soundtrack, detailed environments and combat. It was awarded multiple year-end accolades and nominated for more, including Game of the Year and Best Role-playing awards from several gaming publications, as well as from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' annual D.I.C.E Awards.

Gameplay[edit]

The player has to choose a race for their player character: human, dwarf, elf, are playable races, with Qunari playable for the first time.[11] Combat focuses on the player's ability to prepare, position, and form a cohesive team with their party members.[12] Tactical view returns for all five platforms in Dragon Age: Inquisition, whereas before it was exclusive to PC in Dragon Age: Origins, and was removed entirely in Dragon Age II.[13]

The romance aspect of the game has been overhauled. As opposed to the previous gift and dialogue based system, romance arcs occur in reaction to story events and variables specific to each character and include sex scenes.[14][15] Additionally, not all romance arcs require sex.[16]

Customization was significantly overhauled,[17] specifically by allowing equipment and other items to modify their appearance based on who it is equipped to. For example, if the player finds a breastplate and decided to give it to a party member; depending upon which party member received it, the breastplate would automatically adjust its shape and aesthetics in order to fit that particular character while still maintaining his or her identity. Players can customize their keeps, such as rebuilding a garden as a Chantry church or a herb garden. These upgrades have minor effects on the Inquisitions espionage, commerce or military capabilities.

Players have an ability to import their save files from the first two games into Dragon Age: Inquisition "to shore up world consistency".[18] If players of the previous games do not have access to those save files, Bioware released an online interactive story creator, narrated by Varric, in which they can detail the major plots of the previous two Dragon Age games to provide this level of customization without requiring replay of the initial games.

Ray Muzyka, BioWare's former CEO, said in an interview with Wired.com that Dragon Age: Inquisition would be influenced by more open world games, such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which BioWare is "checking out aggressively."[19] The developers stated that they would no longer reuse environments, which was considered a main issue in Dragon Age II.[20]

Players gain influence in areas of the world by capturing keeps or forts. This is achieved by defeating the occupants of the keep or fort or establishing camps, which are used to provide fast travel and resupply points. Operations can be discovered to repair various structures and pathways, such as bridges or collapsed caves. These operations will allow exploration of previously unreachable locations and side quests.[21]

Tactical view introduced in Dragon Age: Origins returns in Inquisition.

Inquisition features two forms of combat systems. The first is reminiscent of that which is found in most action role-playing games, including Dragon Age II. This system is action-oriented and follows the player in a typical over-the-shoulder third person style. The second is closer to that of a classic role-playing games, including Dragon Age: Origins. This combat system allows players to pause the game, assign locations and orders to the characters in their group and then resume the game to see it played out. During the use of this second more strategic combat system, the camera will be closer to that of a top down view, instead of the usual over-the-shoulder third person style of the action based combat system. This combat system is named Tactical View and allows for the placing of traps while the game is paused.[21]

As the Inquisitor, players influence how to deploy agents and troops of the Inquisition through their primary advisers, which influences the rewards and time requirements of the effort undertaken. The various regions that make up the game world do not scale in level. They have a fixed level, which means players can be either too weak or strong for the enemies found in that region.[21]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

Dragon Age: Inquisition is set in the continent of Thedas, the fantasy world in which the two previous games are set. The game covers more geographic territory than its predecessors, with one map being described as four to five times the size of Ferelden, the setting of the first game in the series.[12] The developers said that the next game would likely be somewhere more "French", which fans recognize as the land of Orlais.[20] Following the events described in the supplementary novels Dragon Age: Asunder and The Masked Empire, a civil war between the loyalists of the ruling Empress and a powerful noble faction led by her cousin, Grand Duke Gaspard, broke out in Orlais. Simultaneously, the Circle of Magi has gone rogue, in part due to the events of Dragon Age II, and the Templar Order seceded from the Chantry to wage their own civil war on the mages.

The area traversable in Inquisition is much larger than both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, and is said to cover two countries and the land between. The countries are: Ferelden (setting of Dragon Age: Origins) and Orlais, with a land known as the Dales located within.[21]

Plot[edit]

A gameplay screenshot showing the player-controlled Inquisitor (middle) using their ability to manipulate Fade rifts. Also shown are the radial abilities menu on the bottom-right, party icons on the top-left, and a minimap of the level on the bottom-left.

A peace conference between mages and templars is destroyed in a large explosion which also opens the Breach and numerous smaller rifts, from which demons from the Fade emerge. The Chantry's senior clerics, including its leader, the Divine, are killed in the explosion, along with many mages and templars. The only survivor of the blast is the player character, who emerges from a rift with a mark on his or her hand capable of closing the rifts, but no memory of what happened. Cassandra and Leliana, former assistants to the Divine, enlist the player character's help in closing several rifts. The player character begins to be referred to as the Herald of Andraste. Together with former templar Cullen and ambassador Josephine, they carry out one of the Divine's last orders and establish the Inquisition, an organization which can act independently to address the crisis and close the Breach and defeat the one who created it.

After establishing a base of operations in the nearby town of Haven, the Herald is able to explore various areas, build the Inquisition's power, and recruit additional companions. After gaining the assistance of either the mages or the templars, the Herald succeeds in closing the Breach. During a victory celebration, Haven is attacked by a massive force of templars or mages (whichever the player did not side with). The attackers are led by Corypheus, an ancient darkspawn, who was responsible for opening the Breach. Aided by a dragon that appears to be an archdemon, Corypheus overcomes Haven's defences and forces the Inquisition to flee. Confronting the Herald, Corypheus refers to the mark as "the Anchor", the means of which he would physically enter the Fade and claim the Maker's throne in the Black City. He attempts to remove the Anchor with a magical orb, only to discover that it's permanently attached. After escaping Corypheus, the Herald leads the Inquisition to the abandoned and forgotten fortress of Skyhold, high in the mountains, and establish it as their new base. The player character becomes the Inquisitor, leader of the Inquisition.

With the assistance of Hawke (the protagonist of Dragon Age II), the Inquisitor investigates the disappearance of the Grey Wardens, discovering that they were being manipulated by Corypheus. Hawke and the Inquisitor are assisted by a Grey Warden character from the previous games in the series, who may be either Alistair, Loghain, or Stroud, depending on choices made in previous games. In the course of this quest, the Inquisitor reenters the Fade and regains memories of Corypheus' attack on the peace conference. Either Hawke or the Grey Warden sacrifices himself or herself to help the others escape the Fade. The Inquisitor also attends a ball at the Winter Palace, either interrupts or allows Corypheus' plot to assassinate Empress Celene, and resolves the ongoing civil war in Orlais.

Following the advice of the sorceress Morrigan, the Inquisitor travels to the Temple of Mythal in order to stop Corypheus from obtaining a powerful artifact called an Eluvian, which would enable him to physically enter the Fade. The Inquisitor witnesses Corypheus seemingly destroyed by the temple's defenses, only for him to be reborn in the body of a nearby Grey Warden. Taking refuge inside the temple, either the Inquisitor or Morrigan gains the powers of the Well of Sorrows, the magical "key" to the resident Eluvian, providing the wisdom of previous servants of Mythal but also binding the character to Mythal's will. Mythal is revealed to be Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. Choices in Dragon Age: Origins may have led to Morrigan having a child with the soul of an Old God; if so, Flemeth takes the soul, leaving the child unharmed.

In either case, the voices from the Well reveal that Corypheus' dragon is the key to stopping him; if the beast is killed, then Corypheus' ability to leap into other bodies would be disrupted, rendering him vulnerable. The Inquisitor then confronts Corypheus as he reopens the Breach, forcing a final confrontation. The Inquisitor defeats Corypheus and his dragon, resealing the Breach permanently.

In the epilogue, narrated by Morrigan, details the outcomes of the Inquisitor's decisions for the Grey Wardens, the next Divine and the leadership of Orlais.

In the post-epilogue, Flemeth meets with Solas, one of the Inquisitor's companions, whom she addresses as "Dread Wolf", admonishing him for giving his orb to Corypheus. Solas admits to have been too weak to unlock the orb's true power after his slumber. Solas seems remorseful for his actions and recognizing that he deserves punishment, but deeming himself too prominent to be killed, claiming that the elves need him, he embraces Flemeth and seemingly petrifies her, resulting in his eyes glowing with power.

Development[edit]

Developer BioWare was planning on fusing elements of both earlier games in the series, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, into the creation of Dragon Age: Inquisition.[8] The game will feature larger environments with much more opportunity for exploration.[22] Dragon Age: Inquisition was first informally announced on Twitter,[10] on May 19, 2011, by BioWare's Creative Lead Alistair McNally.[10]

On March 19, 2012, nearly two weeks after BioWare released Mass Effect 3, creative director Mike Laidlaw tweeted that BioWare was finished working on content for Dragon Age II. Executive producer Mark Darrah mentioned that BioWare originally had plans for an expansion pack, entitled "Exalted March", to mark the first anniversary of Dragon Age II but canceled it in favor of developing other opportunities for the series. Although Dragon Age: Inquisition had not been officially announced, Darrah asked fans to give feedback on what they would like to see in future Dragon Age installments.[23]

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter speculated that Dragon Age: Inquisition would be released some time in 2014. The title was believed to be scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2013, but Pachter suggested it had been delayed so BioWare and video game publisher Electronic Arts could fix problems and create new content for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3.[24][25] However, many BioWare developers, such as Mary Kirby, claimed this was inaccurate, stating that "Dragon Age III '​s development will not be delayed by BioWare's other games."[26]

In September 2012, Mark Darrah, Dragon Age '​s executive producer, revealed in an open letter that Dragon Age III, titled Dragon Age III: Inquisition, was officially under development and had been since about eighteen months previous to the announcement.[27]

At E3 2013, it was announced along with the trailer that the game would debut "Fall 2014" and that the title would be Dragon Age: Inquisition, dropping the "III". Later in 2013, it was confirmed that the PC was the lead development platform.[28]

On March 6, 2014, BioWare released a trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition entitled Discover the Dragon Age, showcasing some of the landscapes that can be explored while playing the game. On April 22, 2014, BioWare released a trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition featuring gameplay from the game and confirming an October 7, 2014 release date. On June 9, 2014, at E3 2014, BioWare released a third trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, entitled Lead Them or Fall, revealing more elements of the game's storyline. On July 22, 2014, BioWare pushed back the game's release date to November 18, 2014. BioWare confirmed on October 31, 2014 that Inquisition had declared gold, indicating it was being prepared for duplication and release.[29][30]

On August 27, 2014, BioWare announced that Dragon Age: Inquisition would have a four-player co-op mode that is separate from the single-player mode.[31]

On November 13, 2014, Electronic Arts announced that Xbox One owners can play the six-hour trial version of the game starting from the same day via EA Access.[32] On November 18, 2014, Electronic Arts announced that there would not be an Indian version of the game in order to "avoid a breach of local content laws".[33]

Music[edit]

Dragon Age: Inquisition (Original Game Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Trevor Morris
Released November 17, 2014
Length 1:37:10

Trevor Morris replaced Inon Zur, the composer of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II to compose the soundtracks for Dragon Age: Inquisition. The change was due to the desire in presenting players a "new experience". The development of the music started earlier than the other aspects of the game.[34] The album was released digitally on November 17, 2014, a day before the game's official release.

In addition to the original soundtrack, the game also features 10 tavern songs, which were composed by Raney Shockne and one of the soundtrack, "I Am The One" was composed by Inon Zur.[36] The tavern songs, along with the song sheets were made free to download from January 26, 2015 to February 9, 2015 by BioWare due to fan's request.[37] The songs will also be sold through various digital platform in the future.[38]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 90.00%[39]
(PS4) 89.52%[40]
(PC) 86.77%[41]
(XONE) 86.11%[42]
Metacritic (PS4) 89/100[43]
(PC) 85/100[44]
(XONE) 85/100[45]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 8.5/10[46]
Eurogamer 8/10[47]
Game Informer 9.5/10[48]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[49]
GameSpot 9/10[50]
IGN 8.8/10[51]
Joystiq 5/5 stars[52]
PC Gamer US 87/100[53]
Polygon 9.5/10[54]
Hardcore Gamer 5/5[55]
Time 4.5/5[56]

Pre-release[edit]

Pre-release comments of Dragon Age: Inquisition were positive. Kotaku writer Jason Schrier had very good first impressions, noting the game's apparent ambition and BioWare's ability to listen to fans.[57] GamesRadar listed the game as their second best shown at PAX 2013, commenting on its openness and combat.[58] John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun was pleased to hear of the top-view camera coming back, though remained cautious; after playing the demo, he said he was "left optimistic, but uninformed."[59] Game Informer '​s Kimberley Wallace listed it as one of the most anticipated RPGs to be released in 2014, saying "Dragon Age: Inquisition has a lot to prove after BioWare received plenty of feedback from disappointed fans about Dragon Age II. However, if our cover trip was any indication, BioWare is up for the challenge."[60]

Gamecritics writer Brad Gallaway gave a hands on preview and was less impressed stating "for me personally, this was not the kind of content I was hoping to see" and mentioning graphical issues, lack of interest in the characters and the amount of random quests given within a few short minutes.[61]

Post-release[edit]

Dragon Age: Inquisition received critical acclaim. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 4 version 89.52% based on 33 reviews and 89/100 based on 43 reviews,[40][43] the Microsoft Windows version 86.77% based on 26 reviews and 85/100 based on 43 reviews[41][44] and the Xbox One version 86.11% based on 18 reviews and 85/100 based on 28 reviews.[42][45]

Alexander Sliwinski from Joystiq gave the game a perfect score. He described the game as "an immense fantasy epic, a sprawling adventure across the many landscapes of Thedas, unapologetically mature in its exploration of politics and brazen in its combat, It's everything that a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins should have been." He also described the game as "the redemption song of the developer BioWare."[52] Adam Beck from Hardcore Gamer also awarded Inquisition a perfect score, saying that while "the artistic and visual fidelity help with immersion, it's the branching, player driven storyline and exquisitely layered combat system" that make the game special.[55] Philip Kollar from Polygon gave the game a 9.5/10. He praised the well-written characters, engrossing plot cliffhangers, tightly-connected story, as well as the combat system, as he described it as "a smart blend of the combat systems from Origins and Dragon Age 2 which makes those long stretches exploring the wilderness fun."[54] Joe Juba from Game Informer also gave the game a 9.5/10. He praised the detailed environments, character models and spell effects, excellent voice acting and soundtracks, responsive combat and high replay value, but criticizing the disappointing center story arc, lack of a storage chest and multiple weapons sets, as well as some minor crashes and audio bugs. However, he still stated that "With the mixture of open-world exploration, entertaining combat, and top-tier characters, the team at BioWare has found a winning formula that isn't shackled to either Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age II. Inquisition is not defined by the traditions it returns to, but by the new directions it forges for this magnificent fantasy universe."[48]

Phil Savage from PC Gamer praised the rich content, fulfilling, dramatic and memorable plot, as well as the tough yet world-shifting decisions made throughout the game. However, he criticized the slow animation for the rogue career, as well as the tactical view, which could be confusing when encountering multiple enemies. He stated that such small yet noticeable flaws made Inquisition imperfect.[53] Kevin VanOrd from GameSpot gave the game a 9/10. He praised the wonderful cast of interesting and relatable characters, overarching narrative, diverse environments, as well as the fantastic balance between exploration, combat, story, and customization. Yet, he criticized the combat system, which required relatively less strategy.[50] Vince Ingenito from IGN gave the game a 8.8/10. He praised the substantial replay value from the multiplayer, as well as surprisingly huge, dense and detailed world. However, he criticized the weak and less compelling story, as well as numerous technical issues encountered. He described the game as "not only one of the most expansive RPGs I've ever played, but one of the few that successfully fills its gorgeous, massive world with meaningful things to do and see. A frustratingly vague plot and typical BioWare bugginess drag it down a bit, but both in combat and out, Inquisition marks a welcome return to the RPG depth that made Bioware's previous products Dragon Age: Origins and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic so magnetic."[51]

Both Bajo and Hex from Good Game gave the game 10/10, the only such score they handed out in 2014. Both hosts praised the writing, voice acting, graphics and gameplay of the game, with Hex saying that "the writing and voice acting is just excellent" and that "Those sword and board hits though Bajo! So rewarding! It's classic dungeon crawling combat isn't it?". Bajo praised the game's challenge, stating that "where the combat truly shines is when you're in trouble" as well as offering a minor criticism that "The crafting system is a little hard to get your head around".[62] They also awarded it "Game of the Year" in their annual Christmas special.[63]

Following the launch of the game, BioWare announced that it was working on patches to address fanbase concerns regarding the PC version including driver support, graphics, and interface.[64]


Sales[edit]

Dragon Age: Inquisition debuted at No. 5 in UK in its first launch week. According to retail monitor Chart-Track, it had sold almost the exact amount of launch week copies as 2011's Dragon Age II.[65] This does not take into account direct digital download sales however,[66] which have been noted to be a "significant percentage of sales" by BioWare[67] and thus the true number of sales is higher. According to Electronic Arts' fiscal 2015 third quarter earnings report, Dragon Age: Inquisition is the most successful launch in BioWare history based on units sold.[68]

Accolades[edit]

Dragon Age: Inquisition has received numerous awards and nominations from gaming publications. The game has received the Game of the Year awards from Game Informer,[69] IGN,[70] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[71] Hardcore Gamer,[72] Gamereactor,[73] Good Game,[63] Game Revolution,[74] Ars Technica,[75] Associated Press,[76] The Escapist,[77] Polygon,[78] Shacknews,[79] The Game Awards,[80] and the DICE Awards.[81] and was nominated Game of the Year by Destructoid[82] and IGN Australia.[83] It was also placed on various lists of the best games of 2014, GamesRadar placed it at 2nd,[84] Joystiq at 2nd,[52] Cheat Code Central at 2nd,[85] USA Today at 2nd,[86] Empire at 9th,[87] GameFront at 3rd,[88] Wired at 8th,[89] Slant Magazine at 17th[90] and The Guardian at 14th[91] and was considered one of the ten best games released in 2014 by Mirror.co.uk.[92] The game also won Role-Playing Game of the Year from GamesRadar,[84] Cheat Code Central,[93] Game Revolution,[94] Hardcore Gamer,[95] Game Informer,[96] IGN,[97] USGamer,[98] The Escapist,[99] The Game Awards[80] and the DICE Awards [81] as well as Best Singleplayer from PC Gamer.[100] Developer BioWare was nominated Best Developer by Game Revolution[101] and won the Developer of the Year Award from Hardcore Gamer.[102]

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