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Video game review: Dragon Age: Inquisition, by Electronic Arts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 December, 2014, 11:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 December, 2014, 11:19pm

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Electronic Arts

There aren't many dragons in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Or rather, there are - but the chances of you slaying more than a couple over its 50-plus hour story mode are fairly slim. The game isn't for the casual player. It isn't aimed at guns-and-car-chase fans looking for a quick adrenaline fix.

This is hardcore RPG, the kind where players are immersed in a massive, almost unbelievably immense open world where every minor detail can be explored. Developed by BioWare, of the incredibly popular and equally elaborate sci-fi franchise Mass Effect, this is the third entry in the series and is available on the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

It's a significant step up from the slightly disappointing Dragon Age II, and the developers have listened to fans, spending years crafting a game befitting the genre's history, endless delays be damned.

Players are placed in the land of Thedas, where rifts with other dimensions have opened, allowing evil beings to enter. Choosing a role as a mage, rogue or warrior, players take control of the land, embarking on a quest that involves equal parts combat and travelling around to save this universe.

That's a short intro for a truly immersive game. There's a genuine, strongly written story here, but after the first few hours, you're never forced to follow it - with hundreds of quests spread across forests, mountains, deserts, coastlines and other terrains, you're given an incredible, almost Skyrim-level amount to discover.

At times, that can be somewhat overwhelming, not to mention occasionally boring. Searching through the wastelands for animal pelts or spending hours picking herbs for potions can seem slightly underwhelming when the fate of existence is threatened by colossal demons. But it's a balance RPG games are forever trying to resolve, and the opportunity here to create your own path is greater than the sum of its parts.

The idea of being given complete freedom within grand ambition is a rare one for modern developers, but it's also one so absolutely fitting for a game of this calibre.

World-building and escaping life's humdrum were once key components of video games, but 3D graphics and falling attention spans saw thrill-seekers take charge. Dragon Age: Inquisition brings back a long-forgotten ideal: the feeling of discovery.