by William Thompson
previewed on PC
Loot and Levelling
Winning battles means that items can be looted from the dead. As with most RPGs, the loot quality improves over the course of the game. Our hero has a bag limit of sixty items, although he can hold multiples of some items. Weapons, armour, coins of various types, as well as treasure and other random junk can be collected and sold off to merchants. Various items can be mined as well which can be used in crafting. I can’t say too much about the crafting, as I didn’t get a chance to do any in my allotted time.
Levelling up characters will be a feature that many gamers enjoy, though. Upon levelling up, there are a multitude of options open to gamers in how they upgrade the character. Team buffs, individual buffs and defensive bonuses, improved weapon proficiency and cool-down bonuses are some of the options that will affect battles, but there are other characteristics that will help throughout the game such as increased charisma. Dialogue choices also affect how other characters and factions perceive you. The full voiced dialogue also seems to have an effect on the storyline, but with only three hours of the preview, it was hard to tell.
Thedas is a massive world. I tried to explore as much of it as I could in the short time I had with the game, but I hardly got out of the first area, the Hinterlands because of the sheer scale of the map. Fortunately, Dragon Age: Inquisition has employed a Fast Travel system similar to the one used in Dark Souls 2. The Fast Travel system allows instant movement from one unlocked point on the map to another.
During the preview event, Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director at Bioware did mention that the PC version was still being optimized (due to the nature of having a range of video cards to work with), but from my time with the game, I can say that Inquisition continues the trend set by the first two with wonderful visuals. The Frostbite Engine has been used for the first time in a Dragon Age game and was quite impressive. Thedas is at its glorious best visually. The ancient castles, crumbling brickwork, rocky outcrops, lush wooded areas and beautiful clear streams all help to give the land of Dragon Age a lively feel. Animals roam the forests (and can be killed for meat and hides, if that is your thing), but so too do bandits and those creatures that spill forth from the open rifts.
Keeping the Faith
Three hours could be considered a decent amount of time with some games, but not Dragon Age: Inquisition; I hardly scratched the surface of the main storyline. I did get side-tracked at one point as I went on a side quest that had me gallivanting across the countryside, but that went to prove the scale of the land of Thedas in this third instalment. And from what I’ve seen, those who enjoyed Origins will be much happier with how Bioware has moved back to the tactical squad style of gameplay. I’m definitely looking forward to heading back to Thedas when Dragon Age: Inquisition releases shortly.