Dragon Age: Inquisition details gameplay, companions, story and areas

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Dragon Age: Inquisition is almost upon us and Bioware fans are chomping at the bit to learn more. How much of what they learned from Mass Effect will be visible in the new Dragon Age? Well, here is a slightly spoiler-ific list of details on a range of aspects in the game.

Gleaned from a new UK issue of PC Gamer, a forum poster named ViSeiRa (Thanks DualShockers) posted the following info:

Gameplay:

  • Red Lyrium is an anti-magic substance… an opposite force to normal (blue) Lyrium.
  • Tactics are in (automated AI settings as described by the writer) and apparently you can set how much mana a mage companion can keep in reserve and at which HP threshold would a companion use a heath potion.. so looks like more grained control over tactics.
  • After clearing parts of an area you can set up camps in that area, they give you access to scouts and you gain power, the resource you spend on operations.
  • Certain parts of a map can be locked until you clear other ones.
  • You can mark certain areas as operation points on the map so that you can deal with them when you return to your base of operations, Skyhold.
  • You manage your operations through the war table in Skyhold, and by doing so you get resources like gold and loot or agents, some of the operations are tied to the main plot like an operation involving the chantry in Val Royeux.
  • Some operations are resolved instantly and some require you to pick an advisor (Cullen, Leliana or Josephine) to resolve them, they’re unavailable while conducting the operation.
  • There’s a new resources besides power (which you spend on operations) which is called influence.
  • Influence gives you inquisition perks, those are divided into four types: Forces, Secrets, Connections and “Inquisition”.
  • The first three perks are tied to the advisors. A Forces perk might increase your potion capacity by four; a Secrets perk might increase the XP you earn from picking up codex entries; one Connections perk grants better merchant offers on rare items.
  • Skyhold changes as a reflection of which perks you favour (doesn’t elaborate more on how) though it won’t be related to decorations since you do that manually from a menu. You can change everything from the windows, throne, banner, and heraldry to the drapes.
  • Dragon fights are all scripted and they have their own personalities.
  • Dragons have a main health bar and a health bar for each limb, you can’t deal massive amounts of damage to it without dealing with its limbs first.

Companions:

  • You can skip recruiting most of your companions and you can kick them off the inquisition at almost any time.
  • Vivienne: “She’s ambitious, in a nutshell. She is probably the one that stood to lose the most from the chaos that’s been sweeping. The mage circle is falling apart.”
  • Solas: “Solas is knowledgeable, logical, He refuses to believe in bad and good… which makes him absolutely fascinating as a character.”
  • Dorian: “Dorian, he’s fun. A lot of fun. He’s gregarious, outgoing, likeable and he’s from the nation that everyone thinks are bad guys.”
  • Sera: “She’s kinda nuts and is probably best defined by her contempt for all the bigwigs… she wants someone to think about the people being attacked.”
  • Varric: “Varric is pretty much Varric. He’s dealing with the fact that he’s now alongside the lady that stabbed a book on his groin,”
  • Cole: “Cole… Cole is different. He sees everything differently. He’s not like us. That’s pretty much Cole.” AKA the Ghost of the White Spire.
  • Cassandra: “Brash, impulsive, anger management issues… but she’s incredibly dedicated and does whatever it takes to set the world right.”
  • Iron Bull: “Iron Bull is humorous, dismissive, a natural charismatic leader, but he’s struggling with being a fish out of water.”
  • Blackwall: “He’s dedicated, almost a mentor figure, but he’s also a man alone, he’s been on the road a very long time and that wears someone down.”

Story:

  • “Big levels obviously can’t narrate themselves; that’s impossible. The scope of that is too big. They need to give the player opportunities to tell their own stories and ultimately that’s what comes from exploring this open-world gameplay.” — Mark Darrah
  • There’s an operation to gain the friendship of Orzammar.
  • You’ll pass judgement on NPCs who come through Skyhold a la Awakening. He mentions the son of a barbarian leader you killed coming to the castle gates and chocking a dead goat against the walls which is some kind of ritualistic insult for killing his kin. You can decide whether to give him and his followers weapons and exile them, put him in stockade or a third choice.
  • Judgment sequences as a way of getting players to reflect further on their decisions.
  • Mark Darrah on the ending and the ability to continue playing afterwards: ” you need to leave the world in a relatively unstable state but bring enough resolution so that the story has a satisfying conclusion.”

Areas:

  • The Dales Highlands: Apparently a mysterious blizzard has hit the area and it seems to be the work of the Red Templars.
  • The Ferelden Bogs: An undead swamp.
  • The Exalted Plains: A grassland with myriad of abandoned forts.
  • The Still Ruins: A crumbling temples with demons and Venatori Cultists.
  • Skyhold: Your castle and base of operations, the writer compares it to the Normandy in ME albeit much bigger. Inside There is a tavern, stables, a courtyard, a kitchen, and a dungeon (you can imprison people there) and the war table.

Okay, the whole thing sounds cool, but I’m particularly keen on the idea of clearing areas, setting up camps with scouts and other things, and then being able to control the outposts from my war room. That just sounds like such an awesome extra thing to add to the game, and will make me want to clear entire areas to ensure I have the most influence before continuing with the story.

The game sounds massive and should hopefully keep fans satisfied for a long time. Varied environments, plenty of ways to approach decision-making and companions – this sounds like the Bioware game that we’ve been hoping for.

Last Updated: August 5, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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