Preview: Dragon Age Inquisition – Setting the Stage

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A quick look at the setting, characters and story of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is set to be released on Tuesday November 18th.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is is the third installment in Bioware’s critically acclaimed series. It is also the follow-up to the disappointing Dragon Age 2, which upset many of BioWare’s fans. This is an important game for the developer if they are going to avoid completely losing all the goodwill built up by Dragon Age: Origins and the Knights of the Old Republic games.

BioWare is fully aware DA2’s bad reception, and the controversy that surrounded the way the Mass Effect Trilogy ended. They have, it appears, listened to their fans and gone the extra mile produce a game that fans will love. It remains to be seen if they were successful in this effort, but at least the effort was made.

The PS4 and XB1 hardware allowed BioWare to think big. It all starts with the Frostbite graphics engine, that is capable of producing some stunning environments. Graphics are an overrated element of games, but it certainly doesn’t hurt when the monster kicking your a– look this good:

The Landscape

Dragon Age: Origins was confined to the country of Ferelden. Dragon Age: Awakening too place in the Ferelden province of Amaranthine. The entirety of Dragon Age 2 took place in and around the city of Kirkwall. After progressively shrinking the land area in which the games were taking place, Bioware decided it was time to expand the world.

DA:I takes place over all of the continent of Thedas. This includes Ferelden, Orlais, and other areas in the larger Dragon Age world that were only hinted at in the previous games. In fact, Bioware claimed in one of their videos that the Hunderlands area is larger than the entire playable world from DA:O.

The screenshots released show areas that range from scorching deserts to think jungles to fertile farmland. It is probably safe to assume there will also be spelunking done in the deep roads and in the dreamworld known as the fade as well.

The problem with making area this large is that traversing them often becomes time consuming in a way that takes away from the fun, rather than adding to it.

Bioware claims to have helped alleviate this concern by adding mounts for the first time in series, as well as adding a fast travel feature. It remains to be seen if these improvement will help, or if gameplay sessions end up being reduced to slogging from point A to point B more often than not.

Next: The Story and Characters