Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t quite a month old yet, but I have been diligently plugging away hours into my first run with the game. There’s so much to do and not enough time in the day to get to it all. The rare and fortunate times I’ve had to myself on weekends to marathon the game hasn’t been close to putting a dent in the game. In spite of feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of areas and side missions to explore and do, I’ve made some small successes in moving the story forward. Fair warning, there will be some spoilers ahead after the cut. Read at your own discretion.
After getting tired and bored of exploring the Hinterlands, I decided it was time to do more of the main story missions. I tend to be cautious in RPGs like this one when I do any more story missions. I tend to worry that if I finish one main story quest, I’ll somehow lock out or miss my chance to do some of the side missions I still plan on doing. I do think the way the game has been structured, I don’t really have to worry about this too much. Much of the areas in Thedas are designed to help level your Inquisitor and party members to better prepare them for higher level missions and enemies. It helps that a lot of the main story missions have to first be unlocked at the war table in the War Room. You’re told the suggested levels to play these missions and you would need enough “power points” to open up the area anyway. The only way you can gain these power points and the required levels to play the main story missions is by doing some side missions or killing some enemies.
I was pleasantly surprised by how the story continued when I played the first few main missions. As if your Inquisitor doesn’t have enough to worry about with the tear in the Veil and the mage and templar war, but there’s also a more ominous and bigger threat in the form of Corypheus. Players will recognize Corypheus as one of the enemies Hawke encounters in Dragon Age 2. I didn’t think much of Corypheus when I played Dragon Age 2. At the time, it was one of many quests and enemies Hawke had to deal with and kill. To see Inquisition making a number of references to the second game and making what seemed like minor characters at the time become bigger and key players in the third game is certainly not unwelcome.
Whether Bioware planned for what could have easily been forgotten, throwaway characters to play a much bigger role in later games is hard to say. What is obvious is Dragon Age is a massive world full of plenty of stories to tell. What may seem like an insignificant character at the time, may actually have a chance to see their day in the spotlight. I mean, just look at Cullen. Here’s a character who has shown up in all three games so far, who has one minor role in Dragon Age: Origins, becomes a bit of a recurring character in Dragon Age 2, and is now a fully fledged key player in Inquisition. I never would have seen that coming, much less paid attention to our former Templar turned Commander of the Inquisition’s military forces. But more on Cullen at a later date. I do appreciate Bioware linking all the previous games into one cohesive thread, even if these games can stand on its own with the different heroes and stories you get to play through. It also rewards the most devoted Dragon Age fan by making these references and finding a way to make the pieces fit into the larger history of the series.
At this point in the game, your Inquisitor has to choose who they wish to side with––templars or mages. Picking one over the other will lock out one main story mission in favor of the other, and it allows you to permanently bring one faction over to help in the Inquisition’s cause. I naturally sided with the mages and I was thoroughly impressed with the mission I got, In Hushed Whispers.
The mage centric story mission was one of the most memorable moments I’ve experienced in this game so far. Here, your Inquisitor and a Tevinter mage named Dorian accidentally get sent one year into a devastating future where you see what happens if Corypheus (known as just the “Elder One” before his true identity is revealed in a later story mission) succeeds in his plan to rule over Thedas. Hint: No one is holding hands and singing around a campfire. The hardest scene to watch from this mission is finding a future Leliana a prisoner in the dungeons of Redcliffe Castle having been terribly disfigured and tortured for information. Some of Leliana’s best moments, even if it’s her future self, happens in this particular story mission. She gets to showcase why she’s more than just a pretty face. Leliana is a tough, well-trained rogue, assassin, and Spymaster who won’t go down without a fight no matter what gets thrown at her. If you need further proof of Leliana’s badassery, look no further than this story mission.
I kept playing through the story missions from the attack on Haven and all the way to reaching Skyhold, the new base of operations for the Inquisition. At Skyhold, your character is officially named the Inquisitor and leader of the Inquisition. When I was able to freely walk around Skyhold, I took my time soaking in my Inquisitor’s new home. The structure was really gorgeous to look at and it was nice to see my advisors and party members with their own rooms or places in Skyhold they retreated to. There’s a feature to customize the look of Skyhold and your Inquisitor’s quarters to your liking, but I haven’t played around with that much yet, mainly because I haven’t either unlocked or bought more things to make this a usable option.
Being at Skyhold has opened up new dialogue options with party members and advisors. I managed to get a few new cutscenes with some people or I gained new companion missions to be completed at a later time. I was also able to finally have my Inquisitor enter into a relationship with Cullen. The cutscenes I’ve had with Cullen so far are super sweet and cute. He’s fast becoming my new favorite and he may actually give Alistair a run for his money in terms of Dragon Age love interests.
I’ve utilized the war table often in the War Room. I make sure to have my advisors go gather resources or take care of some issue that needs the Inquisition’s attention before shutting down the game for the night. I’ve opened up all the possible areas my Inquisitor can go to, so I can choose the place I feel like uncovering or side missions I wish to take on. I’ve visited the Storm Coast, the Emerald Graves, and the Western Approach since taking a break from the Hinterlands. Out of all those areas my Inquisitor and party members have explored, the Western Approach’s map may be the closest to near completion. It also helps that part of the main story mission I’m in the process of doing starts there. As big as these areas are, it’s also breathtaking to admire the look and feel of these vastly different lands. Dragon Age 2 may have suffered from identical dungeons/rooms syndrome, but Inquisition has none of those problems.
The biggest issue I’ve encountered in the game are some hard to ignore glitches. The worst one I’ve encountered are when cutscenes freeze at certain points in the game, especially during important main story missions. I thought going out of the game and going back in would resolve the glitch, but it doesn’t. The only way to work around it is to hit the skip button so the rest of the scene will play out regularly and you can get to the next point in the game. This hasn’t been a one time occurrence either. It has happened on other occasions and it’s almost annoying enough to ruin my gaming experience, but not entirely. It’s disheartening when my first run with the game forces me to skip over cutscenes I want to be able to enjoy for the first time, but can’t because it won’t be resolved until Bioware releases a patch for it. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this issue after I did some digging around on the Internet. Let’s just hope the patch releases for the Xbox One (as the patch is currently being released for all platforms except for the One until a much later date) soon. The last thing I want is to be deep into a romance scene between my Inquisitor and Cullen and it glitches out just when it’s getting good.
Glitches aside, I’m having a blast with the game and sometimes my excitement may get the better of me when I want to keep breezing through the story and skip all side missions. I’m a patient girl and I will get a full completion of this game even if I’m the only one still playing Inquisition in 2015.
Have any personal thoughts or experiences with the story, exploration, or glitches? Share them with me in the comments!