Dragon Age: Inquisition - First Impressions

Cyliena takes a look at her initial impressions of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

First Impressions: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition, the biggest RPG to-date that BioWare has built, releases next Tuesday. I stepped into the world of Thedas this week to take my first look at what Inquisition has to offer, and so far have not been disappointed.

Dragon Age Keep
The Dragon Age Keep is a companion website to help track your story you've created in the Dragon Age series. By using important decisions from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, the Keep re-creates your world history and presents it to you.

If you're like me and this is your first Dragon Age game, the Keep still is relevant. A default story will play for you, and at crucial moments you can choose different outcomes to events. After the story completes you will be presented with tiles of events -- your Tapestry -- from the games and can choose to either lock those choices, keep them as-is and unlocked, or select a different scenario.

The Dragon Age Keep is available to everyone now, and Inquisition will be added to it for launch day.

Character Creation
Creating your character in Inquisition is pretty standard. Choose a race (Human, Elf, Dwarf or Qunari) and gender, your class, game difficulty (kudos to anyone who selects "Nightmare" here), and then review your character summary. You can optionally import a custom world state from the Dragon Age Keep before finalizing your creation by customizing your hero's appearance.

Customization can be as easy as choosing one of several pre-made appearances, or going in-depth by adjusting a plethora of choices. Eyes, head, hair, complexion, makeup, tattoos, scars and more are just a few of the choices. Easy-to-use sliders help you sculpt your hero to your liking.

I went with a dual-wielding female Dalish rogue, worked on her customization for about 10 minutes, then immediately jumped into the story.

Starting Out
Dragon Age: Inquisition kicks off with a story-laden introduction. Your character is established as the hero and you begin the trek to uncovering the events leading up to this point, and how best to handle them. In this stage of the game you learn basic gameplay, how to use features like the tactical camera, find some basic armor, unlock your first ability and more. The tactical camera is one of my favorite features so far, allowing you to pause the battle and direct yourself and your companions to tactically focus on your combat priorities.

The story is guided through many dialogue choices. Some of these can be used to reveal deeper lore, if you're interested in that, which I certainly am. Occasionally a dialogue selection can be fueled by emotion, or cause the companions you're interacting with to approve or disapprove of your choice. This helps weave you deeper into the immersive story of Inquisition.

As you encounter new objects, writings or personas, and entry is made in your in-game Codex. This serves as a journal that will recount any information you may need a refresher on in the future.

The World
Although I still have much of the story to uncover. so far the game has given me a Skyrim vibe. Which is a huge complement: I absolutely love Skyrim and have invested 300+ hours in it. Dragon Age: Inquisition's quest system flows well with your interactions in the world, there is much to explore, you can interact to gather items for upgrades and crafting, and so on.

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, too. The world feels alive while the terrain, buildings and objects are realistic. The ambient sound while speaking to minor NPCs did tend to drown out their voices some, so I had to turn that down, but otherwise it is fitting for its environment.

I'll have a full review out next Monday, but so far my initial impressions are favorable. This looks like a deep RPG full of promise. Today alone I've spent several hours in the game and just don't want to step away. The game has a immersive quality that has hooked me in deep already.

Dragon Age: Inquisition releases on Tuesday, November 18th. Find out where to pre-order it for the PC (requires Origin), PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One over on the official site.

Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor


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