I’ve been playing more Dragon Age 2, with the plan of finally beating it before the next game comes out! With thinking about that, I am realizing we haven’t really commented on what’s going on with Dragon Age really since we talked about Dragon Age Keep. We’ve been looking forward to this since the early days of the blog!
We had fears about this game – mainly about what consoles it would be on. And then fears, based on our experience of the Bioware games in recent years. But despite all of that, I am hopeful for the game! Not much else to say as an introduction, so… have this trailer!
The Common Fears
Our original fear was that Dragon Age: Inquisition would not be on the existing consoles. Yes, there’s the economic concern with this: would we need to get the new consoles? We were thinking it would be the game that would force us to choose a console, and make the expensive purchase. Not something we considered lightly.
However, for us (and I think a lot of others) there was a much bigger concern. This was a game that is built on choices – and a continuing plot. And the way to do both was to import your last game. It’s something they started in Baldur’s Gate and have continued on to now, to great effect in the Mass Effect Trilogy, all on one console generation.
So the news finally came through, and it was good! This game is going to be on the previous generation consoles, as well as the new. Functionally for us, that means we can get the X-Box 360 version and play through from our existing gameplay. For lot of other people, it means that on their 360 or PS3, they can do the same. Maybe that includes you.
It’s a great decision. And they’re not alone, as a game – I’m not sure there’s a full game that is next-generation specific yet that has come out. So maybe our fear was unfounded. And heck, there’s even the new Borderlands game – which is staying on the old consoles only!
At this point, it looks like the game that is finally going to be next-gen only is Arkham Knight, which seems fitting – our first X-Box 360 game was Arkham Asylum.
Looking Back at Dragon Age Past
So Holly’s picked up and played a bit of the first Dragon Age recently, with some of her observations documented here. And just looking back at that game a bit, and really considering what do in the game again… it reminded us just how good a game it was. And playing Dragon Age 2 again has been a ton of fun.
Let’s look at the Bioware timeline really quickly:
- Mass Effect, which was great but had room for improvement;
- Dragon Age: Origins, which was fantastic and open but maybe could use some combat improvement;
- Mass Effect 2, which seemed to meet those needs for an updated combat system, without necessarily losing anything in the storytelling;
- Dragon Age 2, which tried way too hard to do the “your choices matter” thing over the course of ten in-game years;
- and then Mass Effect 3, which introduced the idea of having a large army at your command in a vague way, and which followed up all of the choice stuff with seemingly scripted results.
I mention all of that to show that the games kind of went together, informed each other, and grew from each other. The first game in each series laid some seriously excellent groundwork, and kept people coming back for more. Them being so good, and having such strong stories, is especially important because they are replayable: so you can play them again as part of replaying the whole series!
The second installment of both series, then, tried to increase the combat pace, with the goal of trying to increase the story elements. They added a lot of quest stuff with your party members, loyalty quests and such. They breathed a lot of life into the supporting cast and into the world. However, there were some shortcuts too – especially in Dragon Age 2. I’m trying to look past the repeated caves and buildings, I really am. Because the characters and world in Dragon Age 2 are pretty great. There were better shortcuts, like the conversational ones – the hints at what your comment would be received/delivered as (like diplomatic, sarcastic, aggressive).
In Mass Effect 3, then, you get a game that tried to close out a trilogy, to close out a huge number of open plotlines. I don’t envy them this. The amount of programing and writing and voice recording and the rest that it took was phenomenal, and the amount they would have to have done more to make me happy… it wouldn’t be easy.
Looking Ahead to Dragon Age: Inquisition
Which leaves me worried about Dragon Age: Inquisition. Have they learned the lessons? I feel like maybe. I feel like Dragon Age 2 did a good job of having the choices lead to different results and encounters and interactions, in a a way that I feel like they lost in Mass Effect 3. So hopefully the writing and team pulls this off better.
Plus, I’m not sure this game feels like the end of a trilogy in the same way. We haven’t been playing the same characters, or in the same place – it’s been two different stories in the same world. With really only limited overlaps:
- Anders is in Dragon Age 2, who is really only from Dragon Age: Awakenings, the expansion to Origins. Oh, and he brought our old friend Justice with him as well.
- Merrill, who was only in the Dalish Elf origin story in Origins, and is a companion in 2. More importantly, she has an Eluvian, which was found by Morrigan in an Origins DLC.
- Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. She chooses to help and save both player characters – and is well placed to do the same in the third game!
- The organizations, and some of their members. So we see Alistair, and Leliana, and Zevran – we see the Mages, and Templars, and Grey Wardens. But these are cameos, for the characters, and just world-building for the organizations.
Will this game pull these two plots together? It seems the answer is yes – an answer you get in the last minutes of Dragon Age 2. Honestly they sold us on Inquisition (and really in the value of Dragon Age 2) in those last few minutes, and to avoid spoilers, I suppose I can leave it there.
Because while we’re hesitant, it’s not enough – we’ve already preordered the game, and we’re of course going to play it! There was a deluxe edition on Amazon for the same price as the normal edition… that seemed like a deal! Thought I would let you know!