Battlefield fans have had a lot to worry about since the announcement of Battlefield Hardline. The botched online servers for Battlefield 4, EA handing over the development duties to a team best known for working on 3rd-person horror games, and a strange new cops vs. robbers focus gave them ample reason to worry. After spending a hefty amount of time with this new take on the long-standing FPS series, I can firmly state that there is nothing to fear. Battlefield Hardline does right by its namesake and provides a new experience that’ll likely have you hooked.
BioWare’s fantasy themed RPG series Dragon Age has garnered love and appreciation from its ardent followers. The mature plot threads, interesting characters and mix of strategic/action oriented combat have made the predecessor and its sequel huge hits. The newest entry in the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition, not only offers a satisfying mix of both games but it also offers up a new take on an already viable franchise.
Dragon Age: Inquisition places you in the boots of a character who has some connection to The Fade, a green portal in the sky that transports harmful demons into the world of Thedas. After discovering you connection to this chaos and your ability to close widespread rifts, you take on the role of the Inquisitor. This all-important leader position tasks you with spreading your armies influence, gaining followers along the way, dealing with opposers and finding a way to close The Fade once and for all. Thedas is packed with interesting individuals who all have their own missions and desires, which impact your campaign through the use of the immersive conversation system. Getting to know your party members and conversing with normal townsfolk for side missions is an engaging affair that never falters. Your role as the Inquisitor is important and reflected well throughout the lengthy main story.
The visuals themselves are expectedly gorgeous. You’ll take your party on expeditions within lush green forests, dark caverns and other types of familiar locales associated with the Dragon Age universe. The enemy design shines as well, as you’ll contend with hideous abominations that hop out of rifts across the many areas you embark upon. Along with the amazing visuals comes the great voice acting work provided for you and the rest of the game’s important individuals. Your decision making process and long-winded conversations have more of an impact due to the wide range of emotions each character exhibits. When you go for a dialogue option that’s less than nice, the response you’ll get will be sure to hit you harder than expected. The presence of past decisions made from past Dragon Age games also lends more importance to your current journey in Thedas.
As the Inquisitor, you’re tasked with entering huge areas and aiding the denizens there by completing an important mission that will impact your crusade. The huge offering of quests seen in each section of the game is staggering. You can aid the food gathering efforts of a village, take down a group of rogues near an important overpass, fight alongside a mysterious and hopefully future party member, close random rifts, and more. There is so much to do and see. Each side mission is filled with surprisingly important effects that impact your influence over the land. It feels good to take part in seemingly small-time missions and find out they’re outcome is more important by the end of them.
Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s combat is a perfect mix of the two previous games. You have the option to run head first into battle and actively participate in mowing down the opposition, or you can set up your party members’ actions through the press of a button with an overhead strategic setup. Both methods work well, but the sometimes unruly camera dampers the battle setups a bit. It has a hard time targeting enemies from afar and at different elevations, which sometimes kills the element of surprise before engaging enemies. This issue isn’t too much of a problem during the fun and chaotic co-op battles, which sees you and three other human players go crazy on the battlefield. Along with the battle camera problems are a few instances of game crashing and bugs rearing heir ugly head as well.
Even with those apparent technical issues, Dragon Age: Inquisition is still a finely crafted RPG. Each and every move you make as the Inquisitor has a huge impact on the world you’re trying to save and the incredible trek through Thedas makes you care about each and every person you come across. The open-ended mission structure, vast landscapes, wonderful visual and audio and immersive battles make this an RPG worth getting addicted to.
Images: BioWare, Electronic Arts