It’s been over five years since the story of the latest installment in the Dragon Age series finished with the Trespasser DLC. How does 2014’s Game of the Year hold up all this time later?
Dragon Age: Inquisition was released on PS4 and Xbox One, as well as the then already soon to be left behind PS3 and Xbox 360. Along with a PC version of course. The restrictions of the consoles, already two generations old, that had to be considered in the development of this game are somewhat apparent in some of the visual and gameplay aspects. Some planned features were forced to be left out because of technical limitations. So much so that the last two story expansions, as well as one item bundle, are not available on the older consoles despite them releasing under a year from the game’s launch itself.
Time and other new and shiny RPGs may have poached many of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s players, but an active and vibrant playerbase remains, partly due to a very active modding community focused around the PC version of the game. The online multiplayer, however, like with oh so many older games in which multiplayer never was the selling point in the first place, is probably now only playable if one can gather their own devoted group to join in.
Dragon Age: Inquisition could very much be described as a product of its time. The respectable amount of large open-world areas is the clearest indication of the trends Dragon Age: Inquisition follows. Open-world has taken the genre over and is very much often an expectation for the newer RPGs. Being older, Dragon Age: Inquisition definitely suffers from the same kind of pacing problems that its younger relatives have been trying to combat. The world often remains unsaved while the player is running errands and clearing the sprawling maps of side quests.
While running all those errands, however, the player gets to enjoy a world steeped in lore, beautiful surroundings both in visuals and audio, and the occasional and brilliant party banter. The game’s strength very much lies in characters, story and relationships, true to BioWare’s reputation. Even after multiple playthroughs, the companions tend to surprise with a line of dialogue that hasn’t been encountered before. The game’s combat also offers something interesting, thanks to the character classes and abilities grounded in the world, as well as the option to use a tactical view. Thanks to these, at times even unique elements, Dragon Age: Inquisition still holds up rather well when compared to RPGs released later during its generation.
So, would I recommend a trip to Thedas via Dragon Age: Inquisition even in 2021? Yes. If RPGs, story, open world, fantasy and third-person gameplay are your thing? Definitely. This very much applies to those familiar with the series or those considering a new playthrough, in addition to new players. I would however recommend picking up a version of the game where all the story expansions can be included in your playthrough. Trespasser, for example, is widely considered the true ending of the game and is very likely to be significant for future stories in the series. So, sorry Xbox 360 and PS3, let’s hope you don’t gather too much dust.
It will be some years until players can sink their claws into the next installment in the Dragon Age series. But if you tend towards having to complete as many side quests as possible in a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition, by starting your playthrough now you might just have plenty of time to collect all the shards, hunt down all the dragons and close all the rifts before the next story in this world begins.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 21.11.2014
Genre: Action role-playing
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