Yesterday, Bioware unveiled a new trailer, which takes you through the various lands of upcoming Dragon Age Inquistion. The trailer, although relatively tranquil, is impressive to say the least. This is helped by the Frostbite 3 engine of which Bioware are clearly taking advantage. In a world where size really seems to matter, the vastness of Dragon Age Inquistion seems endless and would not be out of place alongside some of its peers such as Skyrim or overshadowed by other massive sandbox games like GTA V, Watchdogs or Infamous: Second Son. In fact, until this trailer, we had little idea of the scope Bioware were about to unleash on us – and without specifics we still don’t – but the visual landscape speaks for itself.
On Bioware’s website it states, “When we started Dragon Age: Inquisition, one of our earliest goals was to bring the world to life and let you decide who you want to be in this vast and complex world. We accomplished this by using the Frostbite engine, which supports massive areas, destruction, and the most advanced next-gen technology we’ve ever seen.”
Dragon Age Inquisition is a far cry from the original two games, Dragon Age 1 + 2. Dragon Age, for all its ambitious and fabulous story, telling was still firmly sitting in the realms of the RPG’s of old. The original Dragon Age was a real-time, squad based, strategy game, where the players selected an enemy for their character to attack. The character effectively enacted combat on the players behalf, until the player selected special moves, spells or potions to combat their foe.
This was seen as outdated by many critics, although loved by many gamers. This real time strategy was reminiscent of one of the all time classic games, Neverwinter Nights, also developed by Bioware. Perhaps it was the nostalgia in me, but I was very forgiving of this combat system. One aspect that didn’t need forgiving was the story and character development. It was sublime and up there with any of Bioware’s best scripts. The camaraderie between characters was hilarious and heart warming and really endeared you to them, throughout their plight. Although perhaps outdated, hardcore fans were prepared to take a risk on Dragon Age 2.
However, in stark contrast, Dragon Age 2 was simply a mess. Yes the combat system got an over haul and you were more in control of the character, but for most RPG fans, who like to create their own character ,with full appearance and background stories, they were to be disappointed. Severely.
Hawke was the only playable character and you could only choose from three classes. Rogue, Mage or Warrior. Hawke was serviceable at best. He was bland in comparison to his teammates, and very few of them offered anything of interest in comparison to their prequel’s counterparts.
To top it all off, you were limited to one City. Kirkwall. Kirkwall seemed to be made up of one room and one street. Everywhere looked identical. Every time you ventured somewhere new, you had a feeling of deja vu, especially as you had to constantly traverse back and forth over the same terrain between quests. A poor design and massive oversight by Bioware. The game consisted of three acts and it was only until the final act that the story and its characters gathered any momentum. Even though the game left a bitter taste in my mouth, that only became slightly sweeter due to a decent ending and cliffhanger, I was left – after licking my wounds- craving a little bit more.
Dragon Age Inquisitions early coverage piqued my interest but didn’t leave me reeling with excitement. However, the more I see, the more I’m intrigued. Along with the above trailer, I’ve seen combat that looks fluid and an environment that is destructible, making for some intense battle sequences. Even more interesting is the smaller aspects of the game seem to be getting a complete makeover. In previous Dragon Age games, mundane quests or tasks involved talking to someone, killing the enemies and taking the loot back to its rightful owner. Bioware have raised the bar and appear to have created a world that you can get lost in.
Each area in the video has its own realistic ecosystem with predators, prey, factions, and opportunities to expand your Inquisition.”
The world’s population is based on an emergent system that adjusts what you’ll encounter based on how your actions tip the balance in the area. You’ll see towns attacked by bandits, deer fleeing from wolves, giants feeding on bears, and countless other scenarios.”
A lot remains unknown about Dragon Age Inquistion, even a specific release date isn’t available (sometime in Q3), but rest assured, Bioware seems determined to leave a lasting impression with this third instalment. With all the new and grand inclusions that are clearly aimed at the next gen consoles, it was no wonder that a PS3 and Xbox 360 release was impossible. Once again another developer has turned away from the old ways and focused on the future and a bright looking future it looks too.