For over a year now I have desperately tried to get into Dragon Age Inquisition. The game starts really slow and throws your character in the middle of a conflict that I did not really care for. Be warned that there are going to be a few minor early game spoilers here, but I am going to try really hard not to say anything super spoilery. During Dragon Age II, you are constantly getting vignettes of Varric being in essence tortured and questioned by a figure that is identified as “The Inquisitor”. In Dragon Age Inquisition (and the anime if you had chance to watch it) you are introduced to Cassandra Penteghast…. the same Inquisitor who you learned to kinda hate during Dragon Age II. The thing is… in truth I actually rather like Cassandra, but the initial set up of the game places me squarely on the side of some epic side-eye when interacting with her. Not to mention that my character is apparently being blamed for some catastrophe as a result. Then with a huge amount of narrative whiplash I go from being the pariah and prisoner…. to quite literally the chosen one of Andraste. At no point did I want ANY of this… in past games I have only feigned interest in Andraste to get Leliana to like me. I am generally fairly anti-religion in games… and in this case especially since my preferred method of playing Dragon Age games is to play a Dwarf that believes we all spontaneously came from the stone and will return back there again someday.
Then on top of that… we basically find out that there is a war breaking out between the Mages and the Templar, and I am not terribly fond of either side. The entire game seemed to focus on my least favorite aspects of the Dragon Age world… and somehow got rid of the parts that I loved. I absolutely love the concept of the Grey Wardens. I was all about drinking demon blood and fighting dark spawn, and I would have been completely happy if we just had more games where I fought lots of bad things to save kingdoms. With Dragon Age II…. it took a big detour, but even then I got to fight self righteous asshole red lyrium Templar…. and was mostly okay with it. The thing that carried me through that game were the characters that I got interested in…. but the problem thus far with Dragon Age Inquisition…. were the fact that I simply was not really feeling the characters at all. I like Cassandra just fine, and Dorian and Solas were both growing on me. Varric felt like a caricature of Varric from Dragon Age II…. which bothered me from the start. Leliana changed for the worst, and was not the character that I came to adore…. lost all of the soft spots and became this battle hardened zealot. Blackwall is cool enough but I already had Cassandra to tank so quite literally had zero use for him. The only character I completely and wholeheartedly loved…. was Sera, but that didn’t really feel like enough. Mostly the grouping did not feel like “my team” in the same way as the other Bioware outings did, and more so felt like a bunch of characters that I just happened to get thrown in the same room with.
The Turning Point
As I said at the beginning of my post… this has been a struggle for over a year now. I will sit down… play for a few hours…. not get drawn into the game and then log out once more. With the new laptop I have been in the process of trying to play games that I for one reason or another struggled with. At the top of that list was Dragon Age Inquisition, and last night I finally realized that I was sitting at a pretty major turning point in the story. I had been putting off the assault on the breech, thinking that it might lead me down a path that would ultimately lock me into the “end game” in a same way as attacking the collector ship does in Mass Effect 2. Sure I was only 20-30 hours into the game, but Dragon Age II was really short… so far all I knew the base game here was short as well if you simply steamrolled your way through the story. Last night Dragon Age pulled a “Link to the Past” on me… and bam all of the sudden I saw everything that everyone was talking about this game. Essentially I now view everything that I did up to this point as largely “the tutorial level” and now it feels like the real game is finally beginning. I have to tell you I am really excited to be “into” this game.
The game manages to pull together a sequence of events that not only cements your motivation and why you care about the events of the world…. but also serves to cement your team. I went from feeling this was just a group of people that I was stuck with…. to being a group of MY people. I am also completely bought into the Inquisition as an organization, because after last night I realized that I am the person shaping the fate of this organization. I can make the Inquisition be this brutal force similar to its namesake…. or I can make it into an organization that cares about people and tries to save them in the process. Bioware I am sold…. and I am ready to get started playing this game. What is frustrating about all of this is… Dragon Age: Origins had an AMAZING introduction… or at least it did if you played a Dwarf. By the time I completed that opening sequence I was completely sold on the setting and the characters and ready to go out into the world and carve my niche. Dragon Age II had a much rougher start, but even though it felt more forced and pushed down a single hallway… I eventually reached a point where it felt I was changing the world. Inquisition though… feels like the worst of those two options…. where you have only the most vestigial of control over your own character as you are forced down a path. Thankfully it seems that the skies are clearing…. and I am ready to step forth into the new world.