Dragon Age: Inquisition is the new high fantasy role-playing game from Bioware that I’ve been waiting for years for. You take on the role of the Inquisitor, and your job is pretty straightforward. Fix a giant hole in the sky that’s spewing demons. Your player character is customized, both in appearance and dialogue options, so the character is whoever you want to play as. The game explains itself as it goes, so it should be accessible to newcomers.
It should come as no surprise that I love this game. It isn’t perfect (what is?), but I love it. The game breaks down into several different categories which each succeed or fail (relatively) independently of each other: character, story, choices, and gameplay.
For me, characters are always the most important thing, so that’s where I start. Note that I love all the characters, even the ones I dislike. And with the breadth of characterization available here, most people should find at the least a few characters they enjoy.
“I want to respect tradition but not fear change. I want to right past wrongs but not avenge them. And I have no idea if my wanting these things makes any of them right.”
By the time Inquisition takes place, Cassandra has grown into a fierce, physical character who nonetheless cares deeply about people and about the institutions she has dedicated her life to.
I expected to like her, but I didn’t expect to love her. After all, she’s brash and jumps to conclusions. She comes from an order of holy warrior, and is given to solving her problems aggressively. And yet, she’s thoughtful enough to rethink her actions. She owns up to her mistakes. She might have been more comfortable following orders blindly once, but she’s moved beyond that now. And she refuses to do nothing when she recognizes something needs to be done.
I tend to relate to the free thinkers, those characters who are always questioning assumptions. Cassandra is not one of those.
She’s someone who understands the value of tradition, history, and faith–these things have always been and will always be deeply important to her. Yet she recognizes the flaws in her current society and wants to create a world that’s right for the people in it, while still respecting the past from which they came.
Her foundation–that deep caring she has for tradition–isn’t something that I personally understand that well, but in her, I respect it. She cares. She cares for people and she cares for the institutions and beliefs that people draw strength from. She’s matured into a cautiously wise (if at times impulsive) character, who’s main asset is how much she cares about everything. How could I not love her?
“It is dangerous when too many men in the same armor think they’re right.”
Cole is–actually, no one’s quite sure what he is. He’s unique. By nature, he’s a spirit, but he isn’t following the rules of existence for his kind. His one drive is to lessen people’s pain, and he doesn’t necessarily understand things the way a human would.
I was unsure of him, initially, but he grew on me very fast. He just cares about people so much. He’s got a powerful character story that poses some difficult questions for me, ones I don’t know the answers to. And he’s so genuine. He’s made some pretty serious mistakes out of a lack of understanding in the past, but he realizes that and is terrified of making more. He needs help figuring out who he’s going to be and how to fit into this world, and looks to your guidance to show him the way.
I really love Cole. He’s unusual, and unusual in how he sees the world. His main character trait is compassion, but that doesn’t necessarily play out in ways you’d expect. He’s just fantastic.
“I have observed too much and done too little.”
Here’s the philosophical free-thinker type of character I’m bound to love, especially since some of the things he says are actually intelligent and not just something no one’s put enough thought into. A lot of ideas are things that actually require some thought to come up with, which is awesome.
Solas isn’t about being constrained by other people’s ideas of the world. He’s about exploring those ideas himself, without the world’s preconceptions shaping how he experiences life. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but he has an advantage on that score, being as isolated as he is.
This is another character who cares deeply about what happens to people–no rarity of those in this game–so much so that he put himself in potential danger by offering his expertise to people bound to distrust him at best.
“I can get worked up about a group or a nation just fine, but people… It’s too much to hate them one by one.”
Iron Bull is the leader of a mercenary company looking to get hired. As such, he’s about as uninhibited as you’d expect. Possibly more so. He and his people are hilarious, and I didn’t know Freddie Prince Jr. could voice act like that. I honestly had no idea.
Despite being presented (and presenting himself) as the quintessential brute, he’s got some surprises in him. Also notable is that he’s widely popular, and I see why.
Bull has his own (quite cool) backstory and decisions to make, but that would be telling.
“That’s such a terrible idea, I have to do it.”
Varric is a storyteller, a rogue, a businessman, and a people person. Seriously, he knows everyone. And he’s changed since his role in the last game, as I’m sure war tends to do to people. Now, he wants to make a difference despite himself.
Character development aside, Varric remains as lovable as ever. He’s funny, and he’s fun. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when he’s suffering. And he’s still the one going around the camp, forming relationships with everyone and watching out for their mental health.
He’s just the sweetest person ever, and entertaining to boot.
“Magic is dangerous, just as fire is dangerous. Anyone who forgets this truth gets burned.”
Oh, Vivienne. Don’t you ever have anything nice to say about anyone? Even her compliments are actually backhanded insults.
Vivienne is the picture of taste, refinement, and cultured condescension. She’s very well-spoken, educated, traditional, and acerbic. I understand her character the least, possibly because I usually have the lowest approval with her–I tend to play as varying levels of pro-mage, and Vivienne (despite being a mage) is rather anti-mage in her views.
I understand that her personal experiences under the restrictions mages have to live by have been generally positive–she hasn’t experienced any abuses and has actually had every opportunity to succeed despite those restrictions. But it might physically hurt me to support her views.
So that means I haven’t gotten her personal quest yet–I’m working on it–and I have a limited view into her character.
Still, she has a lot of conviction and drive. She created an influential position for herself at court out of a position that used to be similar to that of a jester. She would rather be doing something important than sitting around waiting for someone else to fix the world. And despite her jibes against pretty much everyone, she does seem to get along with a decent amount of the other characters, and even enjoy trading quips with some of them.
“We could make the world better. It’s just easier to shut our eyes.”
The honorable, self-sacrificing warrior who’s part of an entire order of honorable, self-sacrificing warriors. This order somehow manages to recruit mostly from criminals despite its reputation–possibly because self-sacrifice isn’t the first course of action for anyone with something to lose–but it attracts those looking for a higher calling or noble purpose as well.
As such, we have no idea what Blackwall’s background is, and he doesn’t like to talk about himself. All we know about him is that he joins the cause because it’s the right thing to do. And he’s all for honor, righteousness, and protecting the innocent. He’s the gruff loner fighting for whatever best helps the world. Even so, he’s got quite a few layers.
“It works for me, and everyone I know. Same reason everyone else thinks they’re right. It’s all bull, so pick the advice you like.”
It took a long while for Sera to grow on me. I couldn’t understand half of what she was saying, and the parts that I did understand mostly consisted of dirty jokes or potty humor. I also disagreed with her a lot. But after a while, I came to appreciate her goals and what she represented. She stands for some important things, even if she does manage it in the most crass way possible.
She’s about independence, freedom, equality, and justice. She doesn’t care about legacy or history. All she cares about is who she is now, not where she came from. And she cares about the commoners around her who get hurt while the nobles play out their dramas without caring what happens to these people.
Her thinking is overly simplistic, yes. But she’s too busy actually doing things to spend her time thinking everything over. She may not feel connected to her heritage, but she’s too busy living her own life to care about her people’s history. She isn’t very emotionally mature, but she’s too busy acting on all the wrongs she sees around her to focus on her own personal development.
I can’t relate to that at all (except maybe the heritage part), and I’d certainly prefer some middle ground between doing and thinking, but it does make me wonder what I should have been doing that I haven’t, because I spend so much time in my head. I couldn’t change and wouldn’t want to, but it does make me wonder.
“Selfish, I suppose. Not to want to spend my life screaming on the inside.”
He’s so much fun. He’s extravagant, he’s grand, he likes to think of himself as being on show. Dorian was not made to fade into the background.
He’s also a mage from a country where mages rule, a country with a less than stellar reputation worldwide. Dorian understands his country’s faults, but he loves it nonetheless and desperately wants his home and his people to be better.
Dorian knows who he’s supposed to be, and he spends his entire life ignoring that and paving his own way instead. He chooses to be who he wants to be instead. And instead of politicking for power and influence, he chooses to fight for the things that he believes matter. Like not tearing holes in the fabric of reality.
He’s a fantastic character, and I don’t know if I can adequately describe him. He’s intelligent and thoughtful enough to make up his own mind against everything he’s ever been told. He’s developed core moral values over the things that matter to him, and they aren’t the things that he’s been told should matter to him. And he loves his homeland. Flaws and all.
And that’s the rundown on the companions for Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m definitely going to have more to say about the game, but I’ll try to intersperse that with talking about other things.
Any opinions on DA:I or its characters? Love them or hate them?