7 Things You Should Know About ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’

Dragon Age: Inquisition is out, and the consensus is in: It’s incredibly good. Now that that’s out of the way, you might be wondering what exactly the game is, what it’s like to play and, frankly, why you should care. We’re here to help. Here are seven things you should know about Dragon Age: Inquisition to get you up to speed.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

7. It’s a strong contender for Game of the Year

Not only has Dragon Age: Inquisition snagged incredibly high review scores, but if you follow game journalists on Twitter, you may have seen some rumblings about “Game of the Year” in recent weeks. Each year, just about every gaming website (and every other media website, for that matter) tallies up the year’s releases, and determines the best ones.

On Twitter many, many editors for major publications have come right out and said that Dragon Age: Inquisition is high on their personal Game of the Year lists — which means you can count on this game being a front-runner for most gaming websites. Judging by the gushing reviews, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes home the grand prize at a number of them.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

6. It’s really, really long

Some games are like a light snack you can nibble on whenever you have a free moment. Others require more time and focus, like a full meal. To continue this analogy past all good reason, Dragon Age: Inquisition is like an entire wedding feast that you have to eat by yourself.

The developers at Electronic Arts have packed a lot of content in here, with a terrific story, loads of characters, and plenty of wide-open environments in which to set up camp and explore. By most reckonings, completing the main story in the game takes about 80 hours. If you take the time to dive into the side quests and extra modes, you can play the game for several hundred hours before running out of things to do. Just make sure you take the occasional break.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

5. It’s for adults

So what do you spend all those hours doing? In short, you mostly explore a rich fantasy world. Like Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the world in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Thedas, is populated with fantasy races including dwarves, elves, and orc-like creatures called darkspawn. But like Game of Thrones, the game is not for kids. It’s rife with political turmoil, warring factions, clashing personalities, and plenty of sex and violence.

Between the adult content and the focus on politics and power structures, this is not a game for kids. They may like the combat, which takes place in real time, but they won’t get as much out of the story as adults will.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

4. You control an army

So what’s the game’s story about? Well, in most fantasy games, you and a band of heroes go on an adventure that ends with you saving the world. In this game, you actually lead the creation of the Inquisition in the game’s title. Under your leadership, the Inquisition becomes a major faction in the world of Thedas, complete with its own army and management structure.

You get to choose which other factions you want to ally with, and help set goals that end up affecting the political landscape of the world. You also have advisors who you can send out to handle issues and perform tasks for you in real time. Compared to all the less ambitious games out there, that’s a whole lot of power.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

3. The game world is jaw-droppingly massive

You’d be forgiven for thinking the game’s starting area represents the entirety of the game world. It’s a large swath of of real estate called The Hinterlands, and it’s stuffed with items to collect, treasure to find, characters to chat up, quests to tackle, and monsters to slay. But that’s just one section, and the game contains numerous other sections, each one distinct from the others. In other words, there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

2. You don’t need to play the previous games

Although it certainly doesn’t hurt to have played the two previous games in the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition stands on its own. Newcomers will have a lot of information to soak up as they play, as this is a fully realized fantasy world, full of history, lore, and complex relationships between the various groups and races.

But you’ll get the gist simply by paying attention to the world around you and talking to the people you encounter. The site Kotaku has a terrific beginner’s guide to get you up to speed on the game world, and IGN released a video called “Dragon Age in 5 Minutes.” After that, you can go to DragonAgeKeep.com to get an official recap of the first two games, while also making choices that affect your play-through of Inquisition.

And if all that’s not enough, the game has an in-depth “codex,” which is basically an encyclopedia that explains every little thing imaginable, from religious factions to the plants you can pick to craft potions. If the codex were a printed document, it would be a doorstopper.

Source: Electronic Arts

Source: Electronic Arts

1. You can play with friends

Many single-player role-playing games don’t bother offering a multiplayer mode, simply because cooperative gameplay doesn’t make sense in a narrative designed to be experienced by a single player. What EA has done here is create a whole separate mode you can play through with friends. Your time with the co-op mode doesn’t affect your campaign in any way, but it lets you go out and hack and slash your way through enemies with a buddy, building up your character as you do.

So if the game’s size, scope, and depth of lore don’t scare you off, and the thought of exploring a gorgeous fantasy world appeals to you, you should absolutely check this game out. Reviewers and customers agree that Dragon Age: Inquisition is well worth your time and money.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

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