There’s little denying that 2013 was a marvellous year for videogames, a well deserved swan song for the sternly loyal long lived last generation of consoles – Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. 2013 was arguably one of gamings best years in recent memory. But who cares, old game is old – right? The moment Playstation 4 and Xbox One were released last year gamings most dedicated communities suddenly cast their expectant gaze forward. So then, to celebrate the beginning of 2014, and a hopefully yet another fantastic year for gaming we’ve decided to count down a top ten list of our most anticipated titles slated for release this year, next up is number seven Dragon Age: Inquisition.
It’s been a rough couple of years for the once indomitable kings of RPG storytelling Bioware, as a string of rather recent controversies has cumulatively resulted in the dulling of their shimmering name. The list of issues the company has contended with is sadly quite exhaustive including the cold reception to their first MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, fan outrage over the Mass Effect 3 endings, and of course the disappointing quality of Dragon Age 2. No pressure then on Dragon Age: Inquisition which is scheduled for release on both next-gen and current-gen platforms later this year. The forthcoming series third entry has more to repair than just it’s own predecessors problems; instead it has to prove that Bioware can recapture their former glory in constructing captivating experiences. Whether or not Dragon Age: Inquisition will be enough to redeem Bioware in the eyes of their core fanbase remains to be seen, but it certainly looks set to rectify the prolific problems of Dragon Age 2.
Inquisitions approach to design, in what little we’ve seen or been told in interviews, seems to follow a simple yet potentially effective plan, fuse elements of both previous games to create a title with the strengths of both, but weakness of neither. Returning from the Dragon Age: Origins is the ability to select the player protagonists race from three returning options Human, Dwarf and Elf alongside the additional choice of the fearsome horned Qunari. Bioware say that the option to choose race, all of whom can be male or female, is indicative of their focus on expanded customisation options which were scaled back dramatically in the second entry, to much fan chagrin. Customisability won’t be restricted to the lead either, as all of the Inquisitors companions will uniquely alter equipment that is given to them – going so far as to change pattern and colour to better reflect their individual personalities.
This newly created hero and crew will take on the responsibility of saving the fantastical world of Thedas from itself, as a malicious being has torn the veil asunder – an omnipresent forcefield that separates the mortal realm from that of the fade, a dimension inhabited by demonic denizens. In the ensuing chaos alliances have crumbled as each of the numerous factions spread across the world turn on one another in the name of their own survival. It’s the responsibility of the Inquisition to protect the peace, put an end to a demonic invasion and try to save as many people as possible – if that’s your imperative. Dragon Age Origins emphasis on choice returns in full swing as players will be regularly presented choices whose outcomes could have serious repercussions down the line. A crumbling world where every choice matters sounds interesting; as the head of an organisation it’s up to you to decide to protect the peoples interests or selfishly serve your own.
Bioware has hinted that the combat in Inquisition will follow the lead of many other systems in the entry combining the best bits of it’s predecessors whist throwing on a little bit more. Inquisition will place more focus on preparation, and the players ability to form a cohesive team with their companions asking them to consider the best tactical positions on the field of battle to assure victory. It’s an approach that Bioware hopes will reduce the frenzied button bashing of the second entry, and frankly so do we. Fans of the tactical camera from the PC version should be glad to hear that it will return and console owners too will get to utilize the useful tool.
Out of all the games we’ve chosen for our list Dragon Age: Inquisition is the one that scares us the most. It’s a title with some fantastic developers working on it, even if they’ve stumbled a few times recently; besides that everything we’ve been shown and promised is great. Painfully, on the other hand, if Bioware manage to make a misstep this time around it could be disastrous for them, but also the Dragon Age franchise which is already in peril after it’s lacklustre second outing. We’ve got our fingers crossed for this one, approach with caution, but if Inquisition deliver half of what’s promised, we’re in for a good ride.