Dragon Age: Inquisition
|Dragon Age: Inquisition|
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a 2014 action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. The third major game in the Dragon Age franchise, Inquisition is the sequel to Dragon Age II (2011). The story follows a player character known as the Inquisitor on a journey to settle the civil unrest in the continent of Thedas and close a mysterious tear in the sky called the "Breach", which is unleashing dangerous demons upon the world. Gameplay of Dragon Age: Inquisition is similar to its predecessors, though it consists of several semi-open worlds for players to explore. Players mainly control the Inquisitor or their companions from a third-person perspective, though a traditional role-playing game top-down camera angle is also available.
The release of Dragon Age II was met with a mixed perception from players who lamented the loss of complexity from the first game, Dragon Age: Origins. As a result, BioWare sought to create a third Dragon Age game that combined the elements of the first two. Having begun development in 2011, BioWare used EA DICE's Frostbite 3 engine to power the game, though this created a lot of development challenges for the team. The team had to crunch extensively during development, and several gameplay features had to be cut due to hardware limitations on older generation consoles. The game's soundtrack was primarily composed by Trevor Morris, who replaced Inon Zur, the composer of the game's predecessors.
Officially announced in September 2012 as Dragon Age III: Inquisition, the game was released worldwide in November 2014 for Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Upon release, the game received critical acclaim, with critics praising its exploration gameplay, combat, visuals, writing, characters and customization. The game received some criticism for its story, tactical view, technical issues and filler content. Commercially, it was one of the most successful games released by BioWare. It was awarded numerous accolades and nominated for more, including Game of the Year from several gaming publications. Three narrative downloadable content packs were released. A sequel is currently in development.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is an action role-playing game similar to its predecessors. At the beginning of the game, the player chooses a race for their player character: human, dwarf, elf, and Qunari, a playable race for the first time in the series. Players customize the Inquisitor's physical appearance, and gender, among other things. The character would later evolve to become the Inquisitor, who makes choices and decisions that affect and change the game's world state. Players can access a cloud-based online interactive story creator called Dragon Age Keep. Players can detail the major plots of the previous two Dragon Age games and import a world state in Inquisition without requiring replay of the initial games.
The game has a semi-open world structure, as the world is broken up into several sections, which can be freely explored by players. In order to allow players to navigate the game's world faster, mounts, which are creatures that can be ridden by players, are introduced. The various regions that make up the game world do not scale in level, meaning players can be either too weak or strong for the enemies found in that region. In each hub world, players can capture keeps or forts, establish camps, which are used to provide fast travel and resupply points, and seal Fade rifts. Performing these acts will grant the players influence, which can then be used to unlock global upgrades for the Inquisition named Inquisition perk, and Power, which are required for progressing the story and unlocking new areas. In addition, the player can complete side missions, fetch quests, collect magical shards, and solve Astrarium puzzles. Players can also collect codex entries, allowing players to have a deeper understanding about the world of Thedas. At Skyhold, the Inquisition's base of operations, players can access the war table to unlock locations, receive rewards, gain influence and/or progress the story. As the Inquisitor, players influence how to deploy agents and troops of the Inquisition to complete various operations through their primary advisers, which influences the rewards and time requirements of the effort undertaken. In addition, they can "judge" certain people on their actions and decide their fate.
In Inquisition, players can interact with numerous non-playable characters, some of which can be recruited as agents for the Inquisition. A dialogue wheel offers several dialogue options for the player to select. Depending on the Inquisitor's race and class, additional dialogue would be available for players to select. Throughout the game, the Inquisitor would need to make important decisions that could potentially change the state of Thedas and have long-lasting consequences. Companions will sometimes approve or disapprove the Inquisitor's decision. At Skyhold, the Inquisitor can talk to their companions and learn more about their backstory, and initiate their personal quests. Among the nine companions, who assist players in battle, and three advisers, eight of them can be romanced. Some of these party members would decide whether to fall in love with the Inquisitor based on their gender and race.
Players choose from three classes: warrior, mage, and rogue. Warriors are sword and heavy weapon wielders who can absorb a lot of hostile damages; rogues are equipped with either daggers or bows and arrows; and mages, who are practitioners of magic that can cast spells on enemies. Each class has their own stats and attributes. For instance, rogues may favour dexterity for critical hit while strength are more important to warriors for inflicting more powerful damages. The usage of active abilities are governed by stamina or mana. As the player character attacks hostile opponents, the whole team gains Focus, which can then be used to unleash powerful abilities. Combat in Inquisition focuses on the player's ability to form a cohesive team with their party members. During combat, players can switch to control other party members, while artificial intelligence will take control of the Inquisitor and other members in the party. This system is action-oriented and follows the player in a typical over-the-shoulder third person style. Players can also access the Tactics menu to modify the behaviors of the AI companions during combat. The player can also access Tactical View, which allows players to pause the game, assign locations and orders to the party members 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 perspective, instead of the usual over-the-shoulder third-person style of the action based combat system.
Killing enemies and completing quests earn player experience points (XP). Once the players have enough XP, the inquisitor would level up, which increases the player characters' health and stats, and gives players skill points which can be used to unlock new talents and abilities. The players can further specialize their character, which grant them specific abilities. At Skyhold's Undercroft, players can craft and customize armour or weapons from crafting recipes using the materials they have collected; rarer materials give the particular weapon or armour piece better attributes. Weapons and armor can also be upgraded with accessories and enchanted with runes, which introduce new properties to the weapon on which they are inscribed. The inquisitor and party members can also be equipped with accessories such as rings, amulets and belts, which would further alter the characters' stats. Research items can be given to Skyhold's researchers, which would then provide players a XP and damage boost against the researched enemies. 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.
Dragon Age: Inquisition also introduces multiplayer, which is described as a "dungeon crawling experience" by BioWare. The game features a co-operative multiplayer mode which tasks players to play as an Agent of the Inquisition. Players had to play through levels, and fight against increasingly difficult AI. The mode can be played with three other players, or be completed solo. At launch, the game features three multiplayer campaign and nine playable characters. The mode is completely separated from the main campaign. As a result, the progress made by the player in the multiplayer mode would not carry to the campaign. Players can upgrade and craft items, and unlock new characters in the multiplayer mode. Since time is needed to unlock new characters, micro-transactions are featured. Players can purchase an in-game currency called Platinum to speed up the process of unlocking new characters.
Following the explosion of Kirkwall Chantry, the Circle of Magi has gone rogue and the Templar Order seceded from the Chantry to wage their own war on the world's mages. Simultaneously, a civil war broke out in Orlais between the loyalists of the ruling Empress Celene and a powerful noble faction led by her cousin, Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons.
Returning characters from the previous games include Cullen, Leliana, Cassandra Pentaghast and Varric, the latter two serving as party companions, the former two serving as the Inquisition's military commander and spymaster, respectively. New companions introduced include Solas, an elven apostate mage well-versed in the Fade and its spirit denizens; Blackwall, a lone Free Marcher Grey Warden; Sera, an elven thief and member of a secret society called the Friends of Red Jenny; Iron Bull, a Qunari warrior leading a mercenary company called the Bull's Chargers, and agent of the Ben-Hassrath; Vivienne, the official enchanter to the Imperial Court of Orlais; Dorian Pavus, a mage from the Tevinter Imperium; and Cole, a mysterious spirit who is first introduced in the book Asunder. Josephine Montilyet, an Antivan noblewoman and diplomat, serves as the Inquisition's ambassador. Hawke, the protagonist of Dragon Age II, and Morrigan, a companion from Dragon Age: Origins, serve as important allies to the Inquisitor.
The Mage-Templar war is temporarily halted by a Conclave near the village of Haven, where Divine Justinia V, leader of the Chantry, has orchestrated a peace conference. A massive explosion suddenly destroys the Conclave. The explosion creates a massive hole in the Veil — the magical boundary between the physical world and the Fade, the world of spirits and demons — referred to as the "Breach". The only survivor of the blast is the player character, who emerges with a mark on their hand capable of closing the rifts in the Veil that have sprung up in the Breach's wake, but who retains no memory of what happened. Witnesses claim the player character was ushered out of the Fade by a mysterious female figure, rumored to be the prophet Andraste, the historical Bride of the Maker.
After closing several rifts, the player character begins to be referred to as the "Herald of Andraste". With the Chantry effectively leaderless, Leliana and Cassandra Pentaghast invoke one of the Divine's last orders to re-establish the Inquisition, an ancient order formed to defend against the dangers of magic and heretics. After successfully closing the Breach with help from rebel mages or the remnants of the Templar Order, Haven is attacked by an invading force led by Corypheus, an ancient Darkspawn mage, who was responsible for opening the Breach. Aided by a dragon, Corypheus overcomes Haven's defences and confronts the Herald. Corypheus refers to the mark as "the Anchor", the means by which he aims to physically enter the Fade and claim the Maker's throne in the Black City to attain apotheosis for himself. He attempts to remove the Anchor with a magical elven orb, but the Herald sets off an avalanche, burying Haven and decimating Corypheus's army. The Inquisition is led by Solas to the abandoned fortress of Skyhold, which becomes the Inquisition's new base of operations. The Herald becomes the Inquisitor, leader of the Inquisition.
With the assistance of Hawke, the Inquisitor investigates the disappearance of the Grey Wardens and discovers that they are being manipulated by Corypheus into raising a demon army. During a battle against the Wardens, the Inquisitor enters the Fade and regains memories of the Conclave, discovering that they obtained the Anchor after stumbling onto a ritual being carried out on Divine Justinia V by enthralled Grey Wardens at Corypheus' direction and then coming into contact with the elven orb. The inquisitor also finds the mysterious figure who led them out of the Fade in Haven was the murdered Divine rather than Andraste herself. Either the Grey Warden ally or Hawke gives their life to help the others escape the Fade, after which the Inquisitor must either exile or recruit the remaining Wardens.
The Inquisitor also attends a ball at the Winter Palace in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Orlesian civil war and gain the assistance of Orlesian forces. Afterwards, the Empress' arcane advisor, Morrigan, joins the Inquisition as an Imperial liaison. She directs the Inquisitor to the Temple of Mythal to stop Corypheus from obtaining an Eluvian, a powerful artifact which could enable him to physically enter the Fade. Inside the temple, either the Inquisitor or Morrigan gains the powers of the Well of Sorrows, a store of magical energies tied to the elven goddess Mythal. The party escapes Corypheus through the Eluvian, which shatters behind them. Mythal is later revealed to be Morrigan's mother, Flemeth; whoever drinks from the Well of Sorrows is the recipient of wisdom from previous servants of Mythal, but also binds them to her will. In either case, voices from the Well reveal that Corypheus' dragon is the key to stopping him. The Inquisitor then confronts Corypheus as he reopens the Breach and defeats him and his dragon, resealing the Breach permanently. In the process, the elven orb Corypheus carried was destroyed. A dismayed Solas departs the Inquisition and vanishes without a trace after recovering the broken orb.
A post-credit scene shows Flemeth meeting with Solas, who is revealed to be Fen'Harel, the elven god of betrayal. Their conversation reveals that the orb rightfully belonged to Solas, who was too weak to open it himself after millennia of slumber in the Fade, and he allowed it to fall into the hands of Corypheus, hoping to use the ancient Darkspawn to unlock the orb. He misjudged Corypheus' ability to survive the orb's destructive power, which meant that he is indirectly responsible for the cataclysmic series of events which unfolded in Inquisition. Though remorseful for his actions, Solas deems that the elven people need him. He petrifies Flemeth and seemingly absorbs Mythal into himself.
Two years after the events of the main campaign, the Inquisition arrives in Orlais to attend a council at the request of the new Divine. The council was assembled to determine what the Inquisition's role will be now that Corypheus is dead and the Breach is closed. During the talks, a dead Qunari warrior is found, leading the Inquisitor to investigate the Eluvians present in the palace. The Inquisitor soon discovers a Qunari plot to invade the southern nations of Thedas using the Eluvians and convert the lands there to the Qun, the collectivist philosophy which guides the Qunari. Notes found by the Inquisitor indicate that a mysterious elven "agent of Fen'Harel" has been disrupting the Qunari's plans. During this time, the Inquisitor's Anchor begins to flare up uncontrollably, causing them pain and even creating small explosions that damage the party. The Inquisition is ultimately confronted by the Viddasala, a high-ranking Qunari leader who reveals to them that Solas was the agent responsible for disrupting their plans, and manipulated the Inquisition into opposing the Qunari.
After traveling through the Eluvians and defeating the Qunari, the Inquisitor finally finds Solas himself, who kills the Viddasala and reveals the truth: he is Fen'Harel, and ages ago he created the Veil, separating the Fade from the physical world. While this action sealed away the other elven gods, who were abusing their power and enslaving elven citizens, it also caused the downfall of the elven empire, as their society was dependent on the presence of the Fade. He announces his intention to restore the world of the elves, even if this world must be destroyed in the process. The Inquisitor can try to convince him otherwise or resolve to kill him; either way, Solas removes the Anchor and leaves. Back at the council, the Inquisitor must decide whether to preserve or disband the Inquisition. In a post-epilogue scene, the Inquisitor resolves to find people that Solas hasn't encountered before, to circumvent his knowledge of the Inquisition, and stabs a dagger through the portion of the map labeled "Tevinter Imperium".
The development of Dragon Age: Inquisition commenced in 2011 by BioWare. The core idea for Dragon Age: Inquisition, namely that there would be an inquisition and the player character would be its leader, was originally intended to be the follow-up to Dragon Age: Origins, though its progress was halted completely when EA forced BioWare to rushed the development of Dragon Age II. Early concepting began in 2011. Production of the game started in 2012. The team initially have a choice to revisit Jade Empire (2006), or create a new intellectual property. However, the team was content with developing a new installment in the Dragon Age franchise as they believed it had more "pull" and "awareness" than Jade Empire, and they realized that creating a new IP would be an undertaking too huge for the team. David Gaider returned as the game's lead writer, while Mike Laidlaw and Mark Darrah served as its creative director and executive producer respectively. Trevor Morris composed the game's original soundtracks, while Raney Shockne composed the tavern songs. BioWare confirmed on October 31, 2014 that Inquisition had declared gold, indicating it was being prepared for duplication and release.
—Mark Darrah on the challenges of using Frostbite 3 for Inquisition
While previous Dragon Age games used BioWare's own Eclipse game engine, it was not design to handle features such as open world and multiplayer, and its renderer was not powerful enough to create great visuals. Publisher Electronic Arts also had a vision to utilize the same game engine for all its games, as they deemed that different properties using different engines "expensive and inefficient". As a result, BioWare approached its sister studio DICE and used their Frostbite 3 engine, which was previously used to power the Battlefield games. As the BioWare team had never worked on the engine before, it began experimenting with the engine's features with a multiplayer-based Dragon Age project named Blackfoot. This engine transition also resulted in the cancellation of Exalted March, the last downloadable content pack originally planned for II. As the team began working on Inquisition, the team faced many development troubles due to the technical limitations of DICE's engine. Frostbite was initially designed for making first-person video games. According to Darrah, it did not have features that can accommodate stats, game saving, conversations, and cutscenes, all of whom are elements commonly found in a role-playing video game, and the team had to update the engine extensively in order to incorporate these features in Inquisition. It also cannot animate customer characters and quadrupeds. Many designers reported having a frustrating experience working with the Frostbite engine, with John Epler, Inquisition's designer, calling it "the worst tools experience" he had during his tenure at BioWare. The issue was made worse when DICE began incorporating new features on its own, meaning that the development build BioWare was working on was often not updated, causing it to become unstable. Frostbite, however, aided the art team significantly, as they were able to create a large variety of environment in a short period of time using the engine's art tools.
While BioWare intended to release the game for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, EA was worried that the popularity of mobile gaming would hinder game console sales, and therefore, forced BioWare to release the game for older hardwares including PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The technical limitations of these older consoles created many development challenges. Many features that worked on more advanced platforms have to be removed as Laidlaw and Darrah wanted the game to be consistent across all five platforms. These features, where were demonstrated in a game demo at PAX Prime 2013 by Laidlaw and Darrah, included environmental destructibility and a war simulation system which tasked players to maintain the military strength around the Inquisition's strongholds. Laidlaw added these features were removed because they were not "were not fleshed out and proven enough" and may interrupt the flow of gameplay. In the book Blood, Sweat & Pixels written by journalist Jason Schreier, Laidlaw and Darrah admitted that the gameplay in the PAX Prime demo was not real, and the sole purpose of the demo was to show transparency in light of Dragon Age II's subpar reception.
The technical challenges meant that the game's development was behind schedule. Art director Matthew Goldman said of development, "basically we had to do new consoles, a new engine, new gameplay, build the hugest game that we've ever made, and build it to a higher standard than we ever did, with tools that don't exist". The game was unplayable during the first several years of development. Darrah later requested EA to delay the game for a year due to these development troubles, on the condition that BioWare incorporated more features into the game, such as multiple playable races. The problem alleviated during the game's later stage of development, as BioWare and DICE managed to better cooperate and coordinate with each other, resulting in faster progress in 2014. However, development team did not have sufficient time for development and that the game must ship in late 2014. As II was considered a misfire, Inquisition had to be a success in order to win back alienating fans. Therefore, it resorted to crunching extensively in late 2014.
Dragon Age II received a lot of criticisms for reusing environments, as the game was set entirely in the city-state of Kirkwall. To address the issue, BioWare management decided that Inquisition would have more open environments. BioWare added that Inquisition would be influenced by games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which the team was "checking out aggressively". Darrah also remarked that BioWare games since Baldur's Gate II "have been getting progressively smaller", and that the goal for Inquisition was to bring back scale and exploration. However, instead of having one gigantic world, Inquisition features multiple hub world instead. Laidlaw added that by having multiple locations, the team can increase the game's visual variety and "give the player a break from the visual fatigue of seeing the same thing over and over again". The hub world had a more linear design than Skyrim, and that their content would eventually be fully exhausted. This was done to ensure that players would return to their home base and either re-engage with the story or unlock new area. While the game features open spaces, the objectives within the world were often of little significance. This was largely because the team could not playtest the game due to the troubles concerning the engine, and that it was too late for the team to change when they realised the problem. In hindsight, Laidlaw recognised that quest design was "a little hollow", and that Inquisition had a pacing problem for completionist players.
Following the negative player reaction to Dragon Age II and the ending controversy of Mass Effect 3, another BioWare's tentpole title, the Inquisition team looked at players' feedback and asked on the BioWare forum what players would like to see in the game. After two consecutive games with significant fan backlash, the team strived to create a game that would cater to the fans of the series. Laidlaw added that the team "wanted Inquisition to be the one which people would point to and say, 'they've found their feet. They've finally nailed down what this series is about'". Inquisition was designed to be a "mixture of both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II", according to BioWare founder Ray Muzyka. According to Darrah, the return of the tactical view, the higher difficulty, and the more extensive customisation system, were the direct responses to criticisms of Dragon Age II and attempts to bring Inquisition closer to that of Origins, which had a slower and more deliberate combat system. In addition, responding to criticisms that Dragon Age II was compromised in order to support console players, the user interface for the game's PC version was design to be unique and different from that of the console versions.
The development team recognised that Hawke's story lacked "clarity" and was "convoluted" and identified it as the main reason why Dragon Age II did not resonate with some players. This was largely because the story does not have a central villain and mainly explores how major events in the world influences Hawke's life. As a result, Inquisition storytelling aligned closer to that of Origins, and the Inquisitor was a more active hero than Hawke as they influence the world through their actions. While the critical path follows Inquisition as he attempts to foil Corypheus' plan to achieve godhood, the story also focuses on how players can actively turn Inquisition into an important organisation in Thedas through exploration and engaging in activities such as closing rifts and helping other non-playable characters. Players can also select the race for the Inquisitor, an option re-introduced in Inquisition after players complained not being able to choose a background for Hawke in II. The writing team implemented changes to the conversation system. Additional dialogues are now hidden behind an option named "investigate", as the team wanted to allow players to pace the story own their own. The tone icons from Dragon Age II were pared back in Inquisition, as some players reported being confused by these icons in II and caused them to make wrong choices. However, the team expanded the number of emotional response options available to choose from when these tone icons show up, as the writing team felt that it was important to let players to react to the important events in the story and express themselves.
Inquisition saw the return of many characters from the previous two installments. Laidlaw added that they only chose characters that would "add something, emotionally, to the texture of the game". The team worked to ensure that the game's cast had a balance between in gender, race and gameplay class. Characters who can be killed off in Origins and II would, therefore, have a less significant role in Inquisition because not every player would have them in their world states. Varric is cited by Gaider as an easy inclusion because he was always going to survive Dragon Age II, and that he had important roles to play in both II and Inquisition. The inclusion of characters from the previous games also allowed players to understand the significance of their choices in those games. While Hawke returns in Inquisition, the Warden from Origins did not make an appearance because the character was not voiced in Origins, and voicing the character in Inquisition may detach players from them. The team hired a former crime reporter whose role was to inspect every piece of Dragon Age media to ensure that Inquisition had not deviated from the lore established. An internal wikia was created so that the team can keep track of the status of all the characters.
Unlike previous games in the series, the game removed the gift system for party companions. This was an attempt to make friendship and romance more organic. The companions would now react to events as they unfold in the game and respond to the players differently, and gifts can no longer be exploited in an attempt to gain or regain approval. The approval bar were also removed, and players have to gauge how the companions perceive them based on subtle clues like how they greet the Inquisitor. The new relationship system was largely inspired by Persona 4, The Darkness and The Last of Us. Unlike Dragon Age II where nearly all romance options are bisexual by orientation, the romancable characters in Inquisition had different sexual orientations. Dorian Pavus, for instance, was BioWare's first "fully gay" male companion.
Publisher Electronic Arts first announced the game as Dragon Age III: Inquisition in September 2012. It was revealed that Inquisition was a collaboration between BioWare studios in Edmonton and Montreal. The game was initially targeting a late 2013 release date, until it was revealed at E3 2013 that it was delayed to late 2014. EA dropped III from the game's title because the game was an "all-new chapter inside of the Dragon Age universe", rather than a straightforward follow-up of Dragon Age II. Originally scheulded to be released on October 7, 2014, the game was delayed for six weeks as the team needed additional time for polishing the game. It was released on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe. 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". EA released Dragon Age Keep, a "companion web experience", alongside the game. It allows players to customise the state of the world prior to starting a playthrough of Inquisition. Within Dragon Age Keep, players can access Dragon Age: The Last Court, which is a companion game developed by Failbetter Games, although it was deactivated by EA in late 2020.
BioWare supported the game with downloadable content for approximately a year following the game's initial launch. Jaws of Hakkon, which focuses on the previous Inquisition and the fate of the last Inquisitor, was released in March 24, 2015 for PC and Xbox 360 and May 26, 2015 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox 360. It introduces a new open area called the Frostback Basin. The Descent, the second narrative pack, was developed by BioWare Austin studio (the developer of Star Wars: The Old Republic), and work began after their next project, Shadow Realms, was cancelled. The Descent was released on August 11, 2015. It brings the Inquisitor to the Deep Roads, where recurrent earthquakes threatens the worldwide lyrium trade, and potentially Thedas as a whole. The last single-player DLC, titled Trespasser, was released on September 8, 2015. It is set two years after the defeat of Corypheus. The Inquisition returns to the Winter Palace to engage in talks with the leadership of Ferelden and Orlais regarding its future, where a Qunari plot to invade southern Thedas is subsequently discovered. It expands upon the game's original endings and provides epilogues explaining the fates of the Inquisitor's companions, advisors and other supporting characters.. Two multiplayer maps and additional characters were also introduced in December 2014 and May 2015 through the Destruction and Dragonslayer DLC respectively. A Game of the Year edition for the game, which bundled the base game and all the additional content together, was released on October 6, 2015.
|PC Gamer (US)||87/100|
Dragon Age: Inquisition received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Many critics regarded it a significant improvement over Dragon Age II which helped revitalize the series.
Chris Carter from Destructoid liked the new combat system for successfully integrating both the fast gameplay in Dragon Age II and the more tactical combat in Origins. He, in particular, applauded the return of the tactical view. Polygon's Phillip Kollar agreed, stating that Inquisition "finds the best of both worlds with this system". Writing for Eurogamer, Richard Cobbett believed that the overhauled combat system was not entirely successful, and was disappointed by the repetitive combat. He further remarked that none of the enemy encounter were "tactically very interesting". Joe Juba from Game Informer praised the combat for being "satisfying" and felt that it tasked players to "manage the flow of battle" during tense encounters. However, he critisied the tactical camera for being "unreliable". Kevin VanOrd described the combat system as "fun" and "colorful", though he also lamented the clumsiness of the tactical view, and believed that tactics and strategy were not required in most enemy encounters. GamesRadar's Maxwell McGee praised the expanded customisation options, and wrote that the combat system was further elevated by the game's vibrant and colorful visuals. Several critics noted the game's technical issues in their reviews.
Phil Savage from PC Gamer enjoyed the main campaign, and wrote that "each mission is distinct, memorable, and significantly moves the story along". He also enjoyed how the game showed Inquisition's growth as an organisation. Carter appreciated the writing for the companions, singling out Vivienne and Dorian. However, he felt that the script was weak in the early portion of the game, and that the story was "by-the-books fantasy" and "less nuanced than Origins". Cobbett felt that the story was largely uninspiring, though he noted that it eventually gained momentum. He was disappointed by the portrayal of returning characters whose personalities were completely changed in Inquisition. Juba lamented that many important story beats were poorly told, writing that "many of the would-be defining events feel abrupt or poorly explained", but he enjoyed interacting with the game's cast of characters and praised BioWare for reflecting player choices in Origins and II in Inquisition. Vince Ingenito, writing for IGN, also critised the central plot, calling it "frustratingly vague", and that it "[lacked] the heart and pathos of BioWare’s best games". While Cobbett was disappointed that the choices were not as impactful as he had hoped, Joystiq's Alexander Sliwinski wrote that many choices were significant and that they brought both immediate and long-lasting impacts. Savage also wrote that the main campaign is filled with "tough, world-shifting decisions". VanOrd liked the cast and enjoyed hearing the party banter, calling it "one of Inquisition's highlights". McGee described the characters as "eclectic" and "interesting", but wrote that newcomers to the series may feel easily overwhelmed by the game's extensive lore which was mainly told through codex entries scattered in the world. Robert Purchese from Eurogamer lauded the Tarot cards used to depict the world and the characters in the game's menus, which would change based on how players interact with them. Thedas was often highlighted for being a realised world, and how the Inquisitor become involved in its politics were considered to be one of the game's standout elements. The War Table missions were singled out by Kollar for further exploring the world and the various groups and factions inhabiting it.
Carter called the world "gigantic", and applauded Frostbite for its graphical prowess. He also appreciated the inclusion of optional dungeons and bosses in the game, which made exploring the hub world a rewarding experience. Juba liked the large open worlds, calling them "the biggest and best surprise Inquisition has to offer Dragon Age fans". VanOrd added that "journeying is an absolute delight", though he felt that collecting crafting materials interrupted the game's pacing. While Savage enjoyed the large open worlds, he was disappointed by the lack of a "proper, bustling city" like Kirkwall in II, since the large open areas in Inquisition were mainly set in the wilderness and were not dense enough. Cobbett praised the inclusion of large open areas in the game, and believed that it reflected BioWare's ambition and scale for the game, though he expressed disappointment regarding the mission design, which he described as "MMO style quests". Many critics liked how side activites in the game are tied to Power. While the abundance of content was widely praised, Patricia Hernandez from Kotaku noted that the game had a lot of filler content that was not meaningful or interesting, and that it had an "overabundance of fluff". Hernandez urged players to leave the Hinterlands, one of the game's starting zone, as soon as possible.
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. 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.
In addition to winning several awards at major events and ceremonies, it was selected by IGN, Ars Technica, Game Informer, Polygon, and Electronic Gaming Monthly as their Game of the Year in 2014.
|2014||Game Critics Awards Best of E3 2014||Best PC Game||Nominated|||
|32nd Golden Joystick Awards||Most Wanted Award||Nominated|||
|The Game Awards 2014||Best Role Playing Game||Won|||
|Game of the Year||Won|
|18th D.I.C.E. Awards||Game of the Year||Won|||
|Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year||Won|
|15th Game Developers Choice Awards||Best Design||Nominated|||
|11th British Academy Video Games Awards||Best Game||Nominated|||
|2015 SXSW Gaming Awards||Game of the Year||Won|||
|Excellence in Gameplay||Nominated|
|Excellence in Technical Achievement||Nominated|
|Excellence in Narrative||Nominated|
|Excellence in Design and Direction||Nominated|
|2014 NAVGTR awards||Game of the Year||Won|||
|Art Direction, Fantasy||Won|
|Direction in a Game Camera||Nominated|
|Game Design, Franchise||Won|
|Performance in a Drama, Supporting (Corinne Kempa as Leliana)||Nominated|
|Song, Original or Adapted (The Dawn will Come)||Nominated|
|Sound Editing in Game Cinema||Won|
|Use of Sound, Franchise||Nominated|
|Writing in a Drama||Nominated|
|Game, Franchise Role-playing||Nominated|
|26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards||Special Recognition Award||Won|||
The fourth main entry in the series is being developed as of 2020. Development of this game, code-named "Joplin", began in 2015. It was originally intended to be a smaller, more narrative-focused game set in the Tevinter Imperium region of the game's world. Problems with the development of Bioware's other games Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem led to repeated interruptions as "Joplin" staff was shifted to these games. In October 2018, Bioware and its parent company EA cancelled "Joplin" altogether, reportedly because it did not provide for a "live service" component providing ongoing monetization opportunities. Development of Dragon Age 4 was restarted under the code-name "Morrison", this time with a live-service component and based on Anthem's code. Laidlaw, Gaider and Darrah have since left BioWare. Studio director for BioWare Austin studio, Christian Dailey, would lead the next game's development.
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