“Dragon Age: Inquisition,” a refreshing round three

By Chris Mudd, Staff Writer

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” is BioWare’s newest entry in the fantasy “Dragon Age” franchise and fits right in with its already spectacular track record.

“Inquisition” returns the player to the world still racked from events in the previous titles of the series, which may leave newcomers feeling lost. It’s an expansive world, but within a few hours of gameplay the player should be brought up to speed and feel right at home.

The player leads the Inquisition, a group of like-minded adventurers attempting to unite a nation engulfed in a violent war between the sword-and-shield-wielding Templar and the magic-using Mages. While we saw the initial breakout of the war in the final scenes of the second game in the franchise, “Dragon Age 2,” it is in this installment where we see the war hit full speed.

It’s refreshing to play a game with philosophical elements to its plot, where the player not only has to make substantial moral decisions within the game, but is forced to consider real-life parallels to social issues in the world today. The bigotry and ignorance associated with the order of the Templar make allegorical connections between the war in the game and instances of inequality and power occurring in our current reality.

The side-quests are a fun distraction, and they never feel like a chore. At times, the quests do feel somewhat unnecessary and don’t fit into the main story of the world. When embarking on a mystical quest to unite a nation, I don’t know if I’d be willing to take time out of my busy schedule to help some old lady find an old tome she lost.

Previous BioWare titles have managed to avoid this issue, such as in the “Mass Effect” games, where most of the side-quests feel like you’re saving a species from extinction. Still, the silly side-quests didn’t keep “Inquisition” from being enthralling. The player scarcely goes a few feet before being bombarded with things to do.

The musical score of “Inquisition” suffers, as it seems unmotivated and uninspired; just going through the motions of what is supposed to be a sweeping and theatrical fantasy score. There are no risks, and it seems to be a cookie-cutter representation of what a medieval soundtrack should be without any flare or real life within it.

Role-playing game elements and hack-and-slash action come together to create a visceral and fun combat system. The player is given a strategic option, enabling them to zoom out over the battlefield and choose every action of every character in the party, or the player is able to do battle in real-time in third-person. Much like “Dragon Age 2,” the combat itself feels amazing, with powerful moves and responsive controls. It’s just as fun as before and is certainly a highlight of the experience.

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” is a worthy entry in BioWare’s archive of games. While at times it feels dry, the world they have built is a world where the player can lose themselves for days at a time.