I had been awaiting and speculating on Dragon Age: Inquisition since its announcement over a year ago. I’ve been a huge fan since Origins, played through every game and DLC multiple times and with gusto. As the news gained more and more exciting information about Inquisition, I knew I’d have a lot to talk about. And indeed, just like the game, it’s going to take me more than one go to explain everything. Regardless, I’m looking forward to detailing my journey into the vast, ambitious world of Inquisition just as much as I look forward to playing it.
As a precursor, I am aware of and have experienced several of the glitches that have soured some players’ experiences. I’m being lenient with the game due to how much good is actually at work here – but it is something BioWare needs to get on, without question. According to their latest statements, they are working on patches and fixes, so we shall see.
Let’s begin with a particularly strong element of the game: the characters. Characters drive an RPG as much as the story itself does. Interesting, funny or memorable characters can make or break any game. Inquisition has a pretty diverse cast, so let’s discuss them one by one:
Returning from her debut in Dragon Age 2, Cassandra Pentaghast is a Nevarran princess, ex-Seeker and Right Hand of the Divine. In short, she is a pious, headstrong and fierce woman who is not to be tampered with. Initially, I doubted I would care much for her, especially after her fits against Varric in Dragon Age 2. However, the more I conversed with Cassandra, the more I found myself absolutely adoring her. She is tough as nails, but hard on herself and constantly trying to analyze her own biases to see if they still hold up. The game develops her well, allowing you to see her sweet, soft and vulnerable sides. She sets the tone of the game and is a loyal companion and friend.
An elven apostate, fascinated by the Fade and spirits and generally disillusioned with Elven life in both the cities and the Dalish clans, Solas is nothing if not interesting. His quiet, polite demeanor and matter-of-fact tone when it comes to the breach make him fun to travel with and he occasionally gets in a good jab or quip with the sassier members of the group.
I personally found him to be both engaging and distant, unwilling to grow too close to anyone, romanced or not. Anyone who has finished the game with him as a love interest knows that he’s not exactly the best character to handle your feelings. In spite all of that, he is well developed and well handled, adding a realistic brush of emotions to the game.
Varric is still Varric: merchant prince, author, smarmy, loveable dwarf with silken chest hair and the man who pissed off everyone by not being an available love interest, though you find out later why. What I must give Inquisition credit for is that it shows how Varric has become worn down in the years since the mage and templar war began at the end of Dragon Age 2. He’s still humorous, fun and a true friend for those that stick with him, but the breach and the war wears on him heavily and they do a good job of showing as much.
The Iron Bull
Yes, the “the” is mandatory. At first glance in his trailer, I thought I would get a big, loveable doofus who loved to fight. Instead, I got a big, loveable softie with pillowy man-bosoms and a heart of gold. Seeing him with his rowdy mercenary band and the general dialogue he shares makes him not only complex but hilarious. His quips, observations and excitement to fight make adventures tons of fun and his dialogue with the majority of the characters all make for some memorable moments. I’m especially fond of the not so subtle jokes between he and Dorian. Speaking of…
I will be blunt. I fully expected a rich, snobby jerkward from Dorian and not much else. What I got was a hilarious, quirky, blunt mage who delights in calling people idiots, making wry comments and is generally just a good buddy. I will admit I take him, Bull and Cole almost everywhere just to hear them arguing like an old married couple (or triple). Dorian has a lot of interesting conflicts and his rage at his own people turning to the puppets of the enemy is palatable, believable and strong.
Oh, Cullen. You and your puppy dog eyes and sad angst. Cullen has seen some shit in both Origins and Dragon Age 2. He saw his fellow templars get slaughtered by possessed mages and then his knight-commander get turned into a red lyrium statue that everyone is too scared to touch. Furthermore, he is struggling with his own addiction and his determination to the Inquisition. Cullen has been developed beautifully and both his romance and friendship is worth it.
Here is an interesting character, one who many thought would be boring or trite. Blackwall bears a mysterious, tortured past and a big secret that many of you will find out later. His dialogue, general attitude towards wanting to do good and stoic nature are masked in shame, regret and a desperation to find some semblance of redemption. I truly enjoy his company.
She still loves shoes but Leliana is about done with everyone. She holds a lot of weight on her shoulders and deploys an air of sad mystery and regret that has been culminating since Origins. Sly, guarded and able to assassinate someone with a single word, Leliana has become a true spymaster but remains a good friend once you crack her walls a bit.
Josie is adorable. She’s quick-witted, conniving and I absolutely want to hug her whenever she is about. She is well versed in “the game”, a seductive act of political proportions to develop wealth, connections and power in the two-faced empire of Orlais. I look forward to more of her, every time she is involved.
A wayward spirit that is more human than demon, Cole is creepy, confusing and that odd combination of sad and scary that makes you want to hug him. His presence and monologues are disconcerting, initially, but the odd acts he does to help people, the manners in which he develops raise interesting questions about the lore of Dragon Age and what it might hold for future games. He is an interesting character where there could have been a one trick pony with no real richness to it. He’s one of my favorites to have about in my group, both because of his impressive dagger wielding and how much he throws off the others.
Ooh, the queen bee. Vivienne reminded me of Cleopatra with that subtle, stinging wit and humor that makes her both memorable and terrifying. She is a fan of some rather controversial opinions when it comes to magic and the mage rebellion but overall develops into an interesting character with some great insight for your character that comes from a very different standpoint than the others.
Now, here’s a character I thought I’d adore. I find myself conflicted with Sera consistently because I am playing this round as an Elven mage and she does not exactly see eye to eye with me. While I do enjoy her bizarre behavior and playing of pranks, I find her to be a bit unreasonable at times; almost unforgiving. Oh well, can’t win them all, can you?
To keep this from turning into a small fan novel, the next bit will cover the gameplay and story elements from the first act. I hope you’ve enjoyed my garbled nonsense on the characters of Dragon Age: Inquisition and I look forward to posting more in the near future.