It’s the middle of December and two months ago, I decided to dive into a new-to-me world known as Thedas. It is the only known world in the Dragon Age universe and this game mainly focuses on two regions of that world: Orlais and Ferelden. This game, was the only thing that kept my mind off of the province-wide college strike as it happened, and now, here I am…. the threat of Corypheus is over and I’m ready to sit down and ramble about this game before I play the DLC’s.
Now, no delays here, it’s time to dive in! This review will be based on my first playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition, as I know it goes differently for everyone and what is written in here may be different for me in future playthroughs. I decided to make my character resemble me and become a warrior shield & sword Battlemaster/Champion.
Since I’m new to this world, I won’t get everything right lore-wise but I’ll do my best for a personal review! Basically, there are two worlds here: there is the physical world known as Thedas, and the world of spirits called the Fade. There is a Veil that separates these two worlds, but sometimes, there is a rupture in this Veil referred to as a Rift. Even bigger ruptures are known as a Breach. As you might expect, the Fade is full of spirits and demons.
At this moment, there is a war between the Templars and Mages going on, and it is likely this started before this game came out, so once I play through the rest of the trilogy (and maybe read a few books and codex entries too), things will come together. The Chantry, which is the dominant religious organization in Thedas, sets up a meeting at the Temple of Sacred Ashes to negotiate peace between both sides, until our ancient Magister gone darkspawn – Corypheus interrupts it for a ritualistic purpose and an unexpected explosion kills many members of the Chantry including their leader Divine Justinia V and thus opens the Breach.
This is where I come in. When I first started playing, it seemed like the main goal was to seal the Breach since we possessed the mark to close Fade rifts. With a little help from Cassandra, Cullen, Josephine and Leliana, we take refuge at Haven to rebuild the Inquisition: a faction formed to defend Thedas from any threats such as darkspawn since the first Blight. Like I said, I thought it was just about closing the Breach but I was wrong. After I chose to ally with the Templars and sealed the Breach, that was where the real threat came. Everything happened so fast: Corypheus attacks Haven and desires to take the mark from me so that he can physically enter the Fade and claim the Maker’s throne in order to become a God and take over Thedas.
Once we move our headquarters to Skyhold, that’s where it comes time to stop Corypheus’s influence from spreading throughout Thedas thus increase power of the Inquisition, and over all, stop Corypheus from reaching Godhood.
The gameplay to me feels like I’m playing a fantasy version of the original Mass Effect trilogy which presented a couple of new things to me.
- The approval system: many things I say and do will have big consequences. But, instead of Paragon/Renegade, my companions can approve and disapprove of the actions I take depending on their personality and it will reflect how they feel about me. Just like Mass Effect, they have their own personal quests too, but you can only get them once you have a high enough approval rating, same goes for romance. Personally, I like this approach; it gives a more realistic social situation, because not everyone is going to like you, whereas in Mass Effect, as long as you complete everyone’s loyalty mission, they will like you. But in this game, sometimes certain choices can cause companions to break up with you if you’re romancing them, or even leave. Their personal quests can also have different outcomes.
- War table missions: additional tasks you can send Cullen, Josephine, or Leliana to do, even if it’s gathering more herbs to make potions and stuff. Some of these cost power to unlock new areas and progress the story. Then we gain Influence which can lead to perks to improve the Inquisition in various ways.
|Yes, in my playthrough, Cassandra became the Divine at the end.|
I really liked most of the characters in this game. They all came from different backgrounds: Solas is a mage elf who studies spirits and journeys in the Fade – but there’s more to him than meets the eye, Sera is a rogue elf who turns away from the culture of her people, Dorian is mage of the Tevinter Imperium, Vivienne is an Orlesian mage, Blackwall is a Grey Warden but his real name is hidden, Cole is a demon who took possession of the body of who he killed, Iron Bull is a Qunari mercenary and spy, Cassandra is the Right Hand of the Divine, and Varric is dwarf from House Tethras.
Sure, many of them may not seem attractive to others but it all depends on your preference. From the start of the game, Solas was one of those characters that didn’t like me and it started as soon as I made the choice to ally with the Templars. There were other times where he greatly disapproved of things I did too, until I got to the Winter Palace. Whereas Iron Bull, Blackwall, Sera and sometimes Cole liked me more. The other thing interesting about each character is what they approve and disapprove of me doing, shapes their personality. For example, Sera doesn’t like it when I talk about things that are too “elfy” while Solas likes it when I ask him questions, especially about the Fade and spirits.
I’d also like to point out that I like the usage of tarot cards and how they change based on your relations to each companion, like when a certain choice is made, or you romance them. Speaking of
|Speaking of dragons, they’re much larger in this game and once you get the hang of it, they’re actually fun to fight with the awesome music, even more fun than fighting the dragons in Skyrim since it’s more challenging.|
It was a late night when I did the Here Lies the Abyss quest, but after falling into the Fade from the Adamant fortress, I couldn’t put the game down. All those stories about the Fade that Solas told me about made me want to take in every moment. Then, it got even better when I met the spirit of Divine Justinia V in the Fade and she helped me regain my memories of what happened at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. When the Breach opened it was not her that was seen in the explosion but she was hurtled into the Fade with me after I interrupted Corypheus’ ritual where she was to be a sacrifice, but then she sacrificed herself to allow me to escape. With that being regained, I allowed Stroud to stay behind and the remaining Grey Wardens along with Hawke joined the Inquisition.
I never thought I’d enjoy Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts, but the unique thing about this part of the story, is that there are several different outcomes. It almost reminds me of ME3’s Citadel DLC where you have to infiltrate the casino undercover, but here everything is again dependent on approval. Keep that court approval high so you don’t get thrown out of the ball, and there’s no do-over! I didn’t want Celene to be killed, and things turned out better than I expected for my first run of this quest: I was able to gain full court approval, I publicly exposed Florianne’s plan and had her arrested while Gaspard was exiled. Unfortunately, I didn’t find every little secret in the palace to have Briala rule by Celene’s side. I was so paranoid about being absent for too long and I didn’t want my rating to go down too low! Go figure.
So, here is Corypheus, our antagonist. I should have seen it coming because for the first twenty hours of playing, all I was doing was fighting random demons and settling a few conflicts; no way of knowing who was responsible for opening the Breach until I shut it.
There is still a lot I don’t know about him and want to learn, but from what I can decipher: he has quite a bit in common with the Didact. Both of them have a rich backstory dating towards what they were, and I’m talking more than just how both of them have altered their appearances to results in them looking…. well ….. uglier. I’ve been told by some players that Corypheus appears in one of the DLCs for Dragon Age II which unveils more about his past. Hawke knows about him and so does Varric. I have yet to learn the backstory of Corypheus; I’ve read his codex entry but maybe I need to read it again! Hopefully once I get to DAII I can write what I’ve learned about him from there.
Apparently, he was once a high priest of Dumat – the first and most powerful of the Old Gods; and these Old Gods all appear in the form of dragons. Corypheus was one of the seven ancient Magisters, each of them worshipped one Old God. Eventually Dumat manipulated Corypheus to carry out his plan to enter the Fade and take the Maker’s throne in order to achieve Godhood. From then on, Corypheus became obsessed and corrupt with this desire of his. Eventually, he and the other Magisters entered the Golden City in the Fade, but there they were tainted and became darkspawn and the city turned black. He gained the ability of an Archdemon to possess the bodies of others and obtains like, a transplant of red lyrium which makes him look like…. well… what he looks like right now! He forms the Venatori and Red Templars to spread his power and influence throughout Thedas to help him achieve his goal.
Well that’s in basic summary in my own words, I’m sorry if not everything is 100% accurate. The first chunk of that paragraph I did obtain from his codex entry though! But yeah, if you’re new to this universe, you’ll probably see Corypheus as just your typical power-hungry villain who appears out of the blue and wants ultimate power; in his case it’s to be a God. If you don’t know much about his backstory yet, or are one of those gamers that is too lazy to invest their time into learning more about him, you’ll probably dislike him. I find him quite interesting enough to want to read more about him and play the rest of the trilogy. I’m always curious about the villains!
Corypheus appears to be very arrogant, manipulative, and relentless. Compared to the Didact, he [Corypheus] is the renegade here. I mean, yeah what the Didact did was pretty bad too, but his actions he also believed to be noble. Corypheus on the other hand desired global domination and divinity for himself, not for the will of the universe.
So, what else can I say to close this off, well some general praiseworthy things I can give this game:
- The soundtrack is simply fantastic; like the Elder One’s theme, the music when you battle a high dragon, the intense moment of hope when everyone sings The Dawn Will Come, and of course the final battle. I will definitely be buying it.
- Thedas itself, we have a variety of environment to explore and most of it is beautiful from the Emerald Graves and Hinterlands to the Western Approach and Fallow Mire. Like I said, I love exploring in this game and it makes me wish Andromeda was like this; as much as I love that game, most of the planets we could explore had very flat territory. The Hissing Wastes was the only place in Thedas that I didn’t enjoy just because everything was so wide open and it was the only place I used my mount to explore!
- Side quests were a little more engaging and rewarding in this game. I would always close rifts when I found them, collecting shards is also worth your time, and there were some pretty tense ones, such as one where I had to explore an abandoned mansion in the Graves. It turned out to be infested with demons and there was a dark story about a child who lived there once. So, yeah, some more lore to the side quests. Completing collections and certain side quests can reward you with some pretty sweet stuff. (If you’re not an expert at crafting weapons and armor and believe me, I tried to stick to crafting in this game once I learned how to do it, but if I discover a rare or unique weapon or armor, I cave in)
|These dragons are freakin’ beasts!|