HSK tries out Dragon Age: Inquisition

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I got lost very quickly in my short time playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Being dropped straight into the action with no words of tutorial I had no idea how to access the map. With only 30 minutes to try the game, I chose to spend my time wandering and fighting rather than wrestling with the menus.

One of the first things I noticed while jabbing at unknown buttons was that your characters can jump. JUMP! It’s a big deal okay. Instead of walking around the tiny wooden fence and entering the farm from the proper gate you can now toss those rules aside and leap that fence like the rebel you are. I may have spent the first few minutes just jumping onto/over/off of things.

There were two character builds running at the demo, a human warrior and a Qunari mage, luckily for me I found myself at one of the ‘mage’ computers. I really loved playing mages in both Origins and DA2 so I was keen to try out their new incarnation. The combat was what you would expect, a revamped version of their previous system. Basic attacks were cycled through occasionally punctuated by one of the bigger and more impressive spells. Even without any guidance the controls were intuitive enough that I was slinging spells left and right and closing rifts by the time my half hour was up.

One of the big differences I noticed was how conversations are treated. Very important meetings still cause the the game to take control of the camera and characters, pausing to let you make your replies, but minor conversations simply trigger when you walk close. You can even leave these kinds of conversations early which I would compare to “tabbing” out of conversations in Skyrim. The NPC will say their farewells as you walk off. As one of the Devs descibed it at the Q&A, you shouldn’t run into any more- ‘Hello,’ ‘Hello,’ ‘Goodbye,’ ‘Goodbye,’ conversations.

During one of the panels we were even afforded a sneak peak at the strategic level of the game. Assigning assets to different missions in the warroom and garnering advice from your advisors. You have three advisors, Josephine, Leliana, and Cullen who each have their own strengths and approaches (politics, spy networking, and military might, respectively) but each can only take on one job at a time. The interesting thing we saw here is that the missions will resolve in real-time, so for example you could send Cullen out on a 6 hour mission before you go to bed and wake up the next day with that task complete.

Needless to say I’m pretty excited for this to come out at the end of the month. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good long story-driven RPG to sink my teeth into. Dragon Age: Inquisition is easily my favourite game of the show.

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