Dragon Age Inquisition (Preview): The Legend Reborn?

Dragon Age: Inquisition is the latest installment in the trilogy of heroic fantasy role-playing games from Bioware. But how will this latest installment fair in the turbulent series?

People had only good things to say about Dragon Age: Origins, the first chapter in the series. Its well developed story line was filled with choices that had a real impact on the game, and it was backed up by invigorating tactical combat.

Dragon Age II, on the other hand, was a flop that left behind a trail of skepticism that has overshadowed the third installment of this RPG epic since its development began.

Getting a hands on with Dragon Age: Inquisition, the newest addition to the series, I had the opportunity to play through a single mission that involved some awesome looking battles. Will this new edition be able to reignite interest in the series? Let’s take a look at what the latest installment has in store.

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Great finesse

One thing I always liked about the Dragon Age series is its clever mix of third person action game and tactical RPG. Thankfully, this blend is back in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but this time, the recipe has been spiced up with a pinch of subtle new additions.

The battles in Dragon Age: Inquisition are particularly entertaining, and I really enjoyed analyzing the battlefield before sending my companions into battle.

Dragon Age Inquisition

When going into tactical view, Dragon Age: Inquisition allows you to freeze time so that you and your companions can plan your attacks in advance.

By pressing a button, the camera elevates and is placed above the battlefield. A cursor allows you to give orders to your teammates. Whether you’re defending a specific position or focusing an attack on a particularly devious enemy, your allies will obey your every command.

Carnage for all

Battles in Dragon Age: Inquisition are tactical and favor those players who make the best use of their environment and the abilities of their companions.

Dragon Age: Inquisition allows you to change character in real time and vary the fun by alternating between different types of attacks, spells, and fighting techniques.

Dragon Age Inquisition

During my test session, I was able to take control of a mage, an assassin and a warrior, with all three having diametrically different attacks.The mage could unleash elements upon his enemies, the assassin had the ability to become invisible and kill targets by stabbing them, while the warrior’s strength and prowess were in his melee attacks.

Too easy?

Within seconds of playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, I was able to develop basic strategies, making one character launch multiple ranged attacks with a throwing weapon while getting another to attract the attention of the more dangerous enemies.

The problem I encountered with this was that due to the pace of play, I didn’t have time to plan my actions. The tactical mode tries to compensate for this by allowing you to accelerate time so that you can adapt your strategy to the evolving conflict, but I would have preferred to plan out a series of attacks and let my soldiers execute the plan.

Another complaint of this preview build was that, although it was possible to modify the spells and techniques used by the characters, it was impossible to alter their tactical predispositions. This meant that characters were either committed to attack or defense, and I was unable to change their behavior to suit my style of play.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Not that this mattered much, because the enemies I encountered during my test session didn’t give me a lot of trouble. Frankly, I would have been perfectly capable of getting through the mission playing in real time – though, to be fair, the demo was set to easy.

Fortunately, the developers have promised to bring back Nightmare mode, a game mode with increased difficulty, especially designed for players who are looking for more of a challenge.

Beautiful freedom

I have to admit, I was charmed by the graphics and ambient sounds as I passed through the level. At one stage, I had to walk to a desolate ruined castle in the pouring rain through a vast and lush marsh.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Unfortunately, the level I was visiting reminded me of a wide corridor. Although I had a bit of freedom to wander around, there was no time to explore, and everything seemed a bit restrained. It’s a big difference from the vast, open worlds promised by the games’ developers.

An eye for detail

Without reaching the visual prowess of The Witcher 3, Dragon Age is still a very beautiful game with decorative displays and well detailed character models.

Dragon Age Inquisition

The characters stand out for their originality, distancing themselves from heroic-fantasy cliches, an effort that deserves praise.

A sleeping dragon?

While I enjoyed my time with the preview build, I fear that Dragon Age: Inquisition is attempting to attract an overly large audience at the expense of loyal tactical RPG fans. I just hope that the game hasn’t watered down its core too much in order to provide a more accessible experience.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 18, 2014. In the meantime, check out another RPG to look out for, The Witcher 3, in this exciting 35-minute video.

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Original article written in French for Softonic FR.

Follow me on Twitter: @SamSoftonic

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