Video Game Challenge (Special Edition) Progress Report 3: Dragon Age – Inquisition

The moment of truth has finally arrived to close out February––I finished Dragon Age: Inquisition! Final hours clocked in are at 180+ and reaching the end has been epic. It has been a few weeks since I’ve beaten the game, but there’s so much I want to say about it. Like all my progress reports, I’ll give a brief overview of my playthrough and my thoughts surrounding them which will contain some spoilers.

dai_castimage

I’ve mentioned before in my last Inquisitor’s log how there wasn’t much left I had to play in the game aside from the main story missions. I was left with doing companion quests I had, finishing new War Table missions, the option to slay dragons, and collecting the last remaining shards to finish up my exploration of the Solasan Temple.

One thing I hadn’t expected I’d bother to do was find and kill all 10 dragons in Inquisition before moving forward with the story. Madness! The dragon fights took some time to complete, but with a bit of patience and a game guide to help me with useful party strategies, the fights weren’t all that bad. Just time consuming. I was at level 22 or 23 when I decided to go dragon hunting for the remaining ones that were still lurking around the regions. Strangely enough, the one dragon that gave me the most trouble was the electric type Storm Coast dragon.

According to the game guide, this dragon was a level 15+ dragon. Imagine how frustrating it is to have an Inquisitor and party members at level 22+ and still get KO’ed badly by this dragon. It’s really absurd. I’ve fought dragons that were closer in level to my party and those didn’t give me a hard time like this one did. Naturally, I saved the Storm Coast dragon for last. The only disappointment I had when killing those dragons was the achievement you get for killing all 10 didn’t unlock upon killing the Storm Coast one. The achievement was unfortunately glitched and it means I’ll have to go back to a previous save file and kill one of those dragons again for it to unlock. Or start a new playthrough entirely. I’m typically not an achievement hunter, but to not get this one achievement in particular after putting all the work into slaying every single dragon is really annoying. Once I’ve tied up almost every loose end in the game, it was full speed ahead with the story. My personal standout main story missions for the last half of the game are Wicked Eyes And Wicked Hearts and What Pride Had Wrought.

Wicked Eyes And Wicked Hearts drives home one of the overall themes of the game, which is nothing is as it seems. While your Inquisitor is gathering enough evidence and clues to find out who is threatening Empress Celene’s life during the ball at the Winter Palace, you’re also given the task of deciding who should ultimately rule and lead all of Orlais. This process isn’t really easy, especially when your choice candidates are all equally rotten to the core underneath all their flashy finery and masks: Duke Gaspard, Empress Celene’s cousin who should have originally been the ruler of Orlais and is conspiring to overthrow his cousin; Briala, an elf handmaiden and spymaster to the empress and a rumored former jilted lover of Celene’s; or Empress Celene, who hasn’t done much to really help her own kingdom under her current reign. Everyone has their own designs for Orlais and everyone has an opinion about who would make the best leader for their country. Talking to your advisors and the candidates themselves help you decide who is better suited for the role, but the choice really comes down to who is the lesser evil out of the three.

I ultimately went with saving and letting Celene keep her role as the ruler of Orlais. She may be more concerned about throwing fancy parties and wasting money on frivolous indulgences, but she seems capable of at least keeping the peace. Peace in Orlais seems to be the better choice when the Inquisition has enough trouble on their hands without having more problems to add to it. Duke Gaspard may be good at leading armies, but his vision seems to include throwing Orlais into full out war and Briala is unconcerned about what happens to Orlais as long as her agenda for championing her elven people is met at all costs, even if it means also going to war. Gaspard and Briala represented a path of unrest and bloodshed for Orlais and I didn’t think it was best to have such chaos.

What Pride Had Wrought takes you deep into the Arbor Wilds, with Morrigan as your guide, to get to the Temple of Mythal before Corypheus does and keep him from using the Well of Sorrows. It’s in this mission where you’ll face the rival of either Leliana or Cullen, depending on who your Inquisitor sided with. Taking Solas with you in the party offers some additional insights into the myths and lore about the temple and the elves. You are given the choice to either enter the temple by jumping into a chasm, where your rival and their soldiers jump into, or complete the elven rituals. The elven rituals requires you to solve three puzzles, which involve stepping on the correct switches that light up. Doing the ritual gives you the option to ally yourselves with the elven Sentinels and their leader Abelas that guard the temple. It also offers you a shortcut into the temple’s maze like structure to get to the Well of Sorrows.

I chose the path of honoring the sacredness of the temple by doing the rituals. Being a complete disaster at solving puzzles in general, I had to consult a YouTube walkthrough on how to solve the puzzles when I failed to figure it out on my own. I could have taken the easy way out by jumping into the hole, but I wanted my Inquisitor to be respectful of ancient customs and traditions. Despite the difficulty of the puzzles, it was beautifully designed and made a lovely sound when you stepped on it. What stood out about this mission was learning more about the elves and an ancient history that has been lost to them for centuries.

A tough decision is made at the Well of Sorrows where the Inquisitor has to decide whether they should drink from it themselves or let Morrigan drink from it to get an edge over Corypheus. Since I allied myself with the Sentinels, Abelas warns you there are consequences to drinking from the well. You’ll gain a wealth of knowledge, but you may be binding yourself to serving the ancient goddess Mythal when she comes calling. I decided to let Morrigan drink from the well. She seemed to want to do it and is willing to accept the consequences of such an action.

By letting Morrigan drink from the well, it does uncover a really interesting exchange between Morrigan and her mother Flemeth in the Fade after this mission. You only get this scene if you let Morrigan drink from the well and let her do the dark ritual in Origins to become pregnant with a Grey Warden’s child. A lot is revealed in the cutscene you get when you follow Morrigan into the Fade and help her find her son Kieran, who managed to enter the Fade through the Eluvian mirror she has. You find out Flemeth is the elven goddess Mythal and Morrigan is forever a servant to her mother, a woman she has been running from for most of her life. What I liked about this exchange is it shows how much Morrigan has grown and evolved since Origins. Motherhood has certainly changed Morrigan for the better, and she’s willing to do just about anything to make sure Kieran leads a normal and happy life. When Morrigan thinks Kieran is in danger with the appearance of Flemeth, she’s desperate to offer whatever her mother wants as long as Kieran remains unharmed. Flemeth seems almost amused by Morrigan’s desperation and how easily she brings her daughter down to a level of begging. Flemeth even reminds her daughter that the reason behind having Kieran in the first place was to serve her own selfish reasons, which Morrigan doesn’t deny, but says things are different now. Morrigan declares with the strongest of convictions that her mother can do whatever she likes to Morrigan, but she’ll be damned if Morrigan will ever become the mother Flemeth was to her own son. This clearly affects Flemeth in some way, an almost hint of regret on her face. Regardless, Flemeth keeps her end of the bargain and returns Kieran to Morrigan unharmed.

I like seeing the softer side of Morrigan. She was largely hard and cold in Origins, but in Inquisition you see her become more vulnerable, protective, and loving around Kieran. Morrigan has come a long way since Origins and it makes me glad her happiness is her son, even if it meant having my Warden agreeing to convincing her beloved Alistair to knock Morrigan up. The price you pay to stay alive.

I won’t go into full detail about the ending of Inquisition itself. All I will say is the extra scene after the credits was something I wasn’t expecting and I wonder how that will be addressed. New game? Expansion pack? DLC? Inquiring minds want to know! I did find the final showdown with Corypheus a little lacking and I can understand why some players thought the ending was a bit weak to an epic game of Inquisition’s scale. I was happy with all the choices I made, but I was a little disappointed with how Leliana developed in my game.

I missed some vital cues in earlier parts of the game which will give you control over whether or not Leliana should be hardened. Given the events that happen during Inquisition, Leliana has a bit of a crisis of faith and loses her way. She questions everything she has done up until this point and wonders if it was all worth it. By the time I did her personal quest late into the game, I found out I had unintentionally allowed Leliana to become hardened. She knows what she has to do, but she’s no longer the dreamy, doe-eyed girl I met in Origins. Leliana’s new motto is the end justifies the means and she’ll do whatever needs to be done to get results. There’s a darkness and ruthlessness percolating underneath my advisor’s polite civility and it was downright scary. I would have preferred to have Leliana remain the idealistic woman with a softer touch at handling things, but I goofed up along the way. I’m certainly glad I threw all my support into making Cassandra the new Divine in my game. From what I’ve read, making Leliana the Divine doesn’t really lead to good results at all.

I may be done with Inquisition, but there’s plenty more I have to say about the game itself. Expect more Inquisition related posts in the future, like my analysis of Cullen as a character and his romance path and maybe some analysis of the themes in Inquisition itself. We’ll have to see how the posts go, but I’m far from done talking about this wonderful game. This does mean I’ll be back to selecting a new video game for a fresh month long challenge. As much as I love Dragon Age and I would want to go back to the beginning to play it all again, I’ll have to leave it for now to focus on other games. Look for the reveal next month!

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Video Game Challenge (Special Edition) Progress Report 3: Dragon Age – Inquisition

  1. Congrats on finishing! It’s really interesting seeing all the twists and turns the game can take when different choices are made! First, how cool were all the revelations in the latter half of the game? It was as if the world we were presented in the first two games was nothing more than a facade. All that we took as simple lore and legend was coming to life before our very eyes! Crazy.

    Also, yes. Making Leliana the Divine is…well I don’t know if I can say it turns out well. There was a lot of implied (and not so implied) bloodshed mentioned in the snippet about her taking on the role. Is that really the result of her becoming ‘hardened’? I didn’t even know that the “ends justify the means” development in her character was optional! Well played Bioware.

    As for that post credit scene: 1) woah. 2)Woah! 3) I’m thinking that it’s setting up the next full dragon age game. With the world in the state that its in at the end of Inquisition, I could easily see another full game being needed to resolve it.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I didn’t know Bioware was going to have you influence how Leliana thinks and operates towards the end of Inquisition. Her development is an interesting one and it shows how different Leliana becomes if you allow her to become hardened after everything that happens. I said before, I much prefer to keep Leliana the idealistic and thoughtful woman she was from Origins.

      I’m fine with either getting a new full game at some point to address the extra scene or an expansion pack like Origins gave us to wrap up that little story thread/revelation. It’s really something to ponder over and the theories behind what happens in that scene is really fun to read online.

  2. “I did find the final showdown with Corypheus a little lacking and I can understand why some players thought the ending was a bit weak to an epic game of Inquisition’s scale.”

    Exactly. It didn’t quite ruin the experience for me, but I feel like the entire story was misdirected by centering on Corypheus the way it did. He was just a cliched bad guy and his ending had little fanfair. I think the game would’ve been much improved if the after credits scene was incorporated into the game itself, and that whole subplot was more the focus rather than the groundwork for DLC/sequels.

    1. Corypheus just wasn’t as formidable an opponent as they made him out to be. Dragon Age 2 is considered to have the weakest story of the trilogy, but I thought the villains in those games were much better and it made for a fun boss fight at the end too. Corypheus just seemed like small potatoes compared to the reveal you get after the credits. It certainly shifts everything you thought you knew about the myths and legends of the Dragon Age world.

      1. Exactly. Even with my minimal knowledge, I thought this villain was weak. I wish his role had been a little bigger or that he had revealed something to the player directly. He had a cool backstory, but the game never did anything with him.

  3. Congrats! 180 hours are a lot of hours.

    I loved the Flemeth revelations because I had been wondering about her elven links since DA2 and she is one of my favourite characters in DA. I’m dying to know what was that in the post-credits scene. So many theories!

    Regarding the Divine, I’ve read on several posts and comments that Leliana’s ending is darker than Cassandra’s. In my first PT I made an unhardened Leliana Divine and the ending was quite bright, there seemed to be a bit of struggle inside the Chantry but she managed to make everyone work together. In my second PT Cassandra was Divine and what I got was a Chantry divided in two factions that were in the brink of war, the slides were really depressing. I don’t know what choices or conversations might have influenced this but the future looked really grim.

    I wonder what will happen in a future game. There seem to be too many choices involving mages, templars, the chantry, etc. I suppose they will have to lessen the impact of some of them or programming and writing the next game will be a nightmare.

    1. Thank you! It was amazing how many hours I really put into the game once you actually look at your save file to see how long you’ve been playing the game.

      For some reason, I didn’t think Cassandra as the Divine in my game felt depressing. I did remember there being some conflict and her going too far on some things, but I don’t recall having a war potentially brewing under her guidance. Maybe it has something to do with how you talk to her? I’ll have to load the save file again to replay the ending bit.

      Any chance to explore more of the Dragon Age world is good in my book. The way Bioware built their world, it’s easy to keep coming up with more new stories for many years to come.

      1. I’ve been thinking about what I said to her for some time and I think that I was a bit harsh, I gained her friendship but I usually told her to forget about the Seekers and criticized the chantry a lot, maybe that’s the reason. I’ve seen a video of her slides and one important different is that in mine the Seekers are never mentioned. Anyway, a darker future seems appropriate for my non-canon characters.

        I’m in for more DA stories. We are in 9:41 Dragon, so there’re almost sixty years more until the next age 🙂

      2. I think your responses seem to affect how your story ends as well. That’s why I don’t recall Cassandra as Divine being so bleak in my game compared to what you got. The shade of difference in the endings really makes it a different game each time we play.

        And 60 more years? That’s plenty of Dragon Age to come for us fans who will want more! 🙂

  4. I have to admit that I skipped over the latter half of your post (spoilers ;), but it’s awesome that you completed the game. I’m duly impressed by your hours total — putting in nearly 200 hours on any game is impressive! Though as you said, I bet you could continue playing and playing and playing and playing…

    I’m looking forward to finding out what game is next, but undoubtedly, Dragon Age: Inquisition is going to be a tough act to follow!

    1. Haha, I didn’t think you’d read it since I know you’re not too far in with the game yet. 🙂 I’d like to hear your impressions after you get to the end and are able to read the rest of my post at a later date! I am really impressed myself that I’ve played the game that long. Dedication! Well, that and it’s good to have a game you love that you don’t really mind the many hours you play through it.

      I know, right? Inquisition just doesn’t compare to the other games on my backlog list now. Not that the games I do have are any less fun or interesting to play, but DRAGON AGE! I love it so. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s