Since PAX, Bioware’s unveiling of the Dragon Age Inquisition gameplay has been putting a number of people to an excited–or, like, me, wary but intrigued–stupor. Yeah, I saw the graphics, and I saw the change in direction the designers have been trying to improve upon since the last game (Dragon Age 2, which–as appealing as the graphics and fighting system were–kind of was a letdown). But even after all that summary, even through all that talk of change and new directions and reasoning, I still have to wonder where the story’s going, and whether or not there’s going to be any consistency at all between the three games.
Frankly, I’ve still got a million questions from the DA2 story alone (yes, I’m looking at this through the narrative perspective, because to me, that’s usually what I find compelling with these games…other than aesthetics and logistics, of course). What happens to Hawke? To the characters he/she chose to save/forgive/romance? Why spend so much time building up the Champion for an entire game if he/she is just another secondary figure amidst the big picture of things? Why on earth do I have to go download DLC after DLC just to fit all the major stories together, like Anders and the supposed upcoming (if not already there) conclusion to Hawke’s story? I suppose the numerous spin-offs and extensions might probably explain a few of these questions away (well, I knew about Anders from looking up summaries of his character in previous appearances), but I feel like these things should have been answered in the main line.
I don’t know, maybe I haven’t been as immersed into the series details as I had been with the Mass Effect trilogy, but at least with ME, I was seeing a lot of constants, Commander Shepard as a character and hero being one of them. My general concern is the fact that as a player, I was so immersed with the Warden from Dragon Age: Origins because there was so much story happening there. And, need I add, there was a conclusion. Whether the Warden left, married, died, destroyed in accordance to the player choices, well, those were still conclusions, and I was able to accept a new character hero for DA2 easily enough, knowing that the Warden has already fulfilled his/her duties (to “destroy” the Blight). But Hawke’s tale did not end. Frankly, I didn’t think it even truly began until the third and final act, and I’m still not even sure what his/her purpose was (if we’re talking about the schism between mage and templar/Chantry, erm…wasn’t there a movie about Cassandra Penteghast with a similar premise?). All the previous stuff (the Deep Roads, the numerous familial problems, the nonsense with the Qunari) was just backstory and character introduction (Good and well, but really, they should have just been sidequests, not plot-movers. Period. Don’t get me started on how obnoxious the Isabella-related arcs were).
That said, I can see the excitement and understand the buildup of Inquisition with the next-gen engine. From the looks of things, the game will at least let players like me explore a world outside of boring Kirkwall, and outside of mostly-explored Ferelden. I saw the Tevinter mage costumes, so I’m crossing my fingers that we will at least be facing the mages of the Imperium and, maybe, just maybe, do so in their hometown (just not the Fade, anywhere but the Fade! Argh!!). I saw the warrior and mage classes and the beautiful battle system there (though I’ve yet to see the rogue class, kiiind of excited about that, since I actually loved the vast improvement of the Rogue in DA2). I have read up on the plans for player choice authority, saw that some characters might be making a comeback, and am genuinely curious as to what to make of the Morrigan decision. I hope at least Varric comes back to the party, but again, we’ll just have to wait and see, right?
So yeah, overall, I’m still tentative about the game itself and will probably wait for reviews after the game has been in the market for a while to get it, but I’m not in the business of writing it out of my “to-play” list completely.