With the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition next week, there may be a few of you wondering what all the fuss is about. Here are a few things that you might have missed and a few more reasons why you should start playing!
(Warning: there be dragons ahead, but no spoilers.)
Dragon Age is Bioware’s dark fantasy epic which began in 2009 with Dragon Age: Origins and was then followed by Dragon Age II in 2011. Dragon Age has taken the spotlight in RPG gaming with a world filled to the brim with folklore and history. Players step into a dynamic and enticing world from the first cut-scene. It’s not hard to become enveloped in the dark, striking tone that Bioware set out in these games; you will find yourself becoming part of the world as you ultimately shape its history by the decisions that fall upon you throughout the games. (Probably crying over them too)
Origins began the series as any high fantasy tale does: “Watch out the world is ending, here you! Help save it!” You are a native Ferelden and the last of the Grey Wardens, an ancient order of peerless warriors and strategists who devote themselves to protecting the world from the ultimate evil: The Darkspawn. Who have just resurfaced with an Old God at the head of the horde and threaten world domination. You stand as the last of the Grey Wardens after a terrible battle which left Ferelden bereft of a King and mired in civil war. A journey of great scope is before you: to rally the warriors of Ferelden to your side and defeat the horde of evil before the world is plunged into darkness. Your quest takes you across Ferelden to werewolf lairs, ancient mountain tombs and great Dwarven cities. You are thrust into deciding the fate of kingdoms, the future of a culture and the morality of magic.
Throughout your quest you are accompanied by a sassy, pigeon hating Golem, a religious lay-sister and, amongst others, a dog. You face down everything from bandits to vicious spiders and ancient shape-changers as you fight against almost insurmountable odds. Whatever victory you take over this evil is completely up to you the player. You may arrive at that final battle with loyal and hardened companions, or a mere few that survived the journey. Ferelden may have changed for the better from your decisions, or suffer the terrible consequences of them in future games. The game balances the serious and the spectacular with charming and hilarious moments. The combat is simplistic but with several tactical options for taking on more challenging enemies(That will leave you soaked in blood). The game gives players complete control over your character’s choices through an excellently written dialogue system. As well as a treasure trove of armour and weapons throughout the game with which you can customize your Warden and companions. I would be lying if I said you didn’t miss much by not playing it. It is a must have for the above reasons along with it’s incredible replay value and well crafted character creation; which offers you six unique ways to begin your legend as the Hero of Ferelden.
At the same time as you begin your journey in Origins, so too does your journey in Dragon Age II. In the sequel, you play as Hawke, a Fereldan refugee from the village of Lothering. You escape Ferelden just after the tragic battle your Warden in Origins witnessed and make for the safe haven of your ancestral city of Kirkwall. Dragon Age 2 offers quite a different experience from Origins, with a new take on the combat, graphics and dialogue interface. But the memorable characters, gripping lore and touching storytelling remain intact throughout. You follow the story of Hawke told by the (beardless) Dwarf Varric. The story is set over 10 years as you slowly craft your legend as the Champion of Kirkwall. Dragon Age 2 shows a side of this world never seen before (as there is no deadly horde dogging you).
The other trials and aspects of Thedas are greatly fleshed out, including the race relations and treatment of magic users across society. As Hawke, you encounter these problems on an almost daily basis as you try to make a new life for yourself in Kirkwall. You’re aided along the way by a Pirate Queen, literally the cutest bloodmage you’ll ever meet and quite possibly the deadliest (and broodiest) Elf in the series. Dragon Age 2 is a worthwhile sequel, giving you a fresh take on how life is lived in Thedas, as well as delving further into character relationships and how your choices affect Kirkwall over the 10 year period. Tension quietly builds throughout the games three acts, until you are faced with a decision at the end that will solidify your place in history and change the face of Thedas forever.
The Dragon Age series has sold over 5 million copies to date, has taken over a dozen awards and offers countless hours of gameplay in one of the most developed and creative worlds in modern gaming. It is a must have for any fan of fantasy, storytelling, great characters, and fantastic games.
The third title in the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition, is due out in Ireland on November the 21st on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.
You can start crafting your legend from the previous two titles at the Dragon Age Keep now.