The World of Thedas is Back and Bigger than Ever
The highly anticipated installment in the Dragon Age franchise lives up to fan expectations.
When it comes to world building, game developer Bioware knows what they are doing. Games such as Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect trilogy have been hailed by fans and critics alike for their scope and detail. The newest chapter in the Dragon Age series was released in November, and in terms of sheer size and scope, it left all other Bioware games far behind.
The fictional world of Thedas is the setting for the Dragon Age games. Players are all too familiar with the map of Thedas from various loading screens and codices, but the world previously felt very linear, limited to a single path or a few buildings. Dragon Age 2 was the worst offender, allowing players to only go where the story allowed them to go.
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the world is entirely open, on par with the open world of Skyrim. There is no mountain the player cannot climb, no river they cannot accidentally drown themselves in. Players are allowed to visit locales that they could only dream of in previous games, such as the glittering city of Val Royeaux.
The heart of any video game is in its characters, and the characters of Inquisition are incredible. As with any Bioware games, players have the option of befriending characters, romancing characters or making enemies of every single person they meet. Each character is charmingly endearing and realistically flawed, making them the perfect companions.
The combat system is vastly improved from previous games, allowing for a much easier gaming experience. There are more opportunities for teamwork and strategy as opposed to mindlessly hitting enemies with swords. Though the developers removed healing spells from gameplay, which was a controversial choice, it makes every battle more important and the damage taken in each more critical.
One of the most praised aspects of this game is the character creation. While most games give you several options for what your nose or mouth is allowed to look like, Inquisition allows for an in-depth personalization of the main character. Some players could spend hours making sure that their character’s cheek bones are just high enough or that their tattoos look right.
Personalization does not end with character creation. Players will ultimately earn a palace through the course of the game and are allowed to personalize multiple aspects of it, such as the windows, furniture and use of various rooms. This, coupled with the choices the player makes throughout the game, makes each playthrough entirely unique.
Though the graphics are by no means flawless and glitches abound, there is no denying that the game is beautiful. The developers paid very close attention to detail, especially when developing the different locations and landmarks of the game, and the graphics have improved quite a lot since the first game of the series, Dragon Age: Origins.
With an uplifting score, beautiful landscapes, an expansive world, an intriguing plot, wonderful characters and an abundance of dragons, Dragon Age: Inquisition is by far one of the best games to come out of 2014.