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Dragon Age: Inquisition impressions and new gameplay trailers

Inquisition might be the best looking RPG you’ll play this year, and one of the most interesting.

Chances are that you’ve seen something like the above video before when discussing Dragon Age: Inquisition. What you may not have seen though, was sheer scope of DA:I and you also might not have seen the battle with the High Dragon. Or felt it for that matter, but more on that in a second.

It should also be noted that characters and narrative really do take center stage in the game, which I found out after attending a special showing of the title in action in NYC yesterday. The world of Dragon Age is a complex and intricately designed one that has as many characters, situations, and plots as a season of Game of Thrones- and then some.

The first thing that hit me when watching the above live and being played in front of me (on a Windows PC) was the incredible amount of detail in everything that you see here. Sure it looks good in the YouTube trailer above, but let me tell you, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Played on a high end PC (with a pretty great monitor and sound system as well), Dragon Age: Inquisition looks to easily be one of the most beautiful RPG’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Everything from the swamplands that started off the video (the water effects are amazing by the way) to the craggy forested area where the dragon appeared is stunning. Even here a few months out from release, Dragon Age: Inquisition is simply gorgeous. Now, about that dragon…

I read an article earlier today from Polygon’s Brian Crecente where he said that he actually felt empathy for the dragon as he was fighting it. That it felt like a real animal. I’d love to say that I felt nothing for what’s traditionally bee a shallow, two-dimensional fantasy ‘villain’, but I can’t. Crecente hit the nail on the head and put perfectly what I was feeling watching the demo- that being sadness.

As the player’s party first happened upon the hatchlings and killed them, through the point where they battled the dragon mother and crippled it’s legs (and it fell and screamed in pain when that happened by the way), up to the time they delivering the killing blow, I was thinking that it was almost hard to watch. To be honest, I was actually rooting for the dragon. And I’m not saying that in a negative way either. If BioWare can infuse that kind of life into DA:I and an enemy that’s almost cartoonish in most games, then it’s truly a testament to the developer and what they can do.

But Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t all open-world fighting with random encounters and beasts that you happen across. One of the main ideas behind the whole demo was actually to show off that it’s more (much more) than that. Hence part 2 below.

The above video was part of an effort from EA and BioWare to show off the more story-driven aspects of the third game in the Dragon Age series. Much has been made of the open-world nature of the game since its announcement and detailing, especially at this past E3, but there’s a lot more to Dragon Age: Inquisition than just running around the world map and discovering new places to go and things to kill.

Although I never played the second installment, the first was a great time all-around and a favorite of many. Ot had an open feel to it, that’s true, but it also had a tremendous storyline that grabbed gamer’s attention and kept them glued to the game throughout. In DA:I you have not one (or even two) characters to play with, but nine.

Introduced throughout the narrative, the nine playable characters can be shaped into a team of four that you’l take out into the game’s world. You can recruit any four characters you like (once you have them anyway) at any time and then hot-swap between them at will while playing. Even if you enter into an encounter (even a boss fight), you can still switch on the fly to any of the four fighters, mages, or rogues that you have with you at the time.

Switching is smooth and free of issues, which is great since it doesn’t impede the on-screen action at all. You can also switch out to a tactical view of that action at any time as well. From that semi-top down view, you can issue orders, move your characters and actually watch things play out as you designed it. It’s almost a second game in a way and is, much like the character switching, easy as pie to engage in and effectively use in battle.

If it sounds like there’s a lot to like in DA:I, that’s probably because there is. Right now, the game is looking incredibly promising and like it has a serious shot at Game of the Year honors. Even as someone that doesn’t play a lot of RPGs, I’m extra,ely interested in seeing more from Inquisition and definitely looking forward to actually getting hands on and playing.

It isn’t all that far away either as Dragon Age: Inquisition debuts on the Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC this October the 7th.

About Jason Micciche

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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