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Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 5: Learning the Game

Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 5: Learning the Game

Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 5: Learning the Game


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[Spoiler Alert: This and all subsequent entries in this series may be rife with spoilers! You have been warned!]

Previous titles in the Dragon Age series have featured medium, or sometimes even small, environments to explore. One of the most notable differences in the new game is that the world is absolutely huge.

The first area you explore, The Hinterlands, is larger than many games. And it serves as a training ground for you to sort of learn how the game works and to develop your own personal play style.

Dragon Age 5.1

The Hinterlands, in addition to being vast, is absolutely gorgeous; and it’s simply packed with things to do. Here’s what I focused on for the first few days I played the game:


Of course, one of the first orders of business is to learn how the fighting in the game works. Danger lurks everywhere (this is an RPG, after all), and combat is frequent occurrence. You explore the world with a team consisting of your main character and three companions. Very soon, you have more than three companions in your stable, so when you head out into the world, you must choose which companions to take with you. Happily, everyone gains experience at about the same rate, whether or not he or she is seeing action.

The combat takes place in real time. You can only directly control one character at a time. The three you are not directly controlling perform with effective A.I. routines. However, you can, with the press of a button, freeze the action to give specific orders to your party members. You can also set up (very) rudimentary behavior settings to help your characters do what you like without micromanaging. For the record, here’s one area where I wish the game were a little bit stronger. I would like to have had the ability to give more detailed “programming” to the A.I. of my companions.

Dragon Age 5.2


Probably the most satisfying aspect of the game is the exploration. The areas are huge, diverse, remarkable to look at and full of stuff to do, read, discover, fight and experience.

Because the areas are so large, and the graphics are so stunning, it’s quite an enjoyable endeavor to simply wander around the beautiful game world, nudging the fog of war forward and seeing what’s over the next hill, inside the next cave, over the next creek.

Check out this brief 360-degree view video of my first look at The Forbidden Oasis:


The game has literally thousands of lines of dialog, and every single one of them is voiced. Not only voiced, but voiced beautifully. You know how cranky I am about voiceover work in games, right? I have nothing to complain about in Dragon Age : Inquisition. The talented cast features dozens of actors. I’ll single out a few of them in the next entry. But for now, know that your ears are in great hands as you listen to the impressive script that makes up the game.


Questing is extremely organic and intuitive. You talk to a character, you get a quest, the quest appears in your journal. You can set active quests to appear on your map. It’s all quite simple.

The game has a host of different kinds of quests. Collect stuff. Kill stuff. Find stuff. All of that standard RPG nonsense.

Dragon Age 5.3

However: Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn’t stop there. Some of the quests are incredibly story-rich and specific. More on that coming up!

Dragon Age 5.4

Next up:  Vivid characters lead to great interactions and quests!

Ray Ivey

Ray Ivey

A gaming freakazoid, Ray enjoys games on all platforms. Also loves board games, mind games, and all puzzles. Co-wrote the Entertainment Tonight trivia game and designed puzzles for two Law & Order PC games. Also a movie freak, bookworm, and travel bug. Thinks games of all kinds are a highly underappreciated force for social good, not to mention mental and psychological health.   Ray's favorite adventures include the "Broken Sword" and "Journeyman Project" franchises, "The Dark Eye," "The Feeble Files," "Sanitarium," "Limbo," "Machinarium," "Riven," "The Neverhood," and "Azrael's Tear." His favorite non-adventures include the "Thief," "Uncharted," and "Ratchet & Clank" franchises, all of the Bioware RPGs, Skyrim, and Final Fantasy XII.   Ray writes about the movies for the Bryan/College Station Daily Eagle, which is the old-fashioned thing called a "newspaper." He's been on eight game shows. He's taught in seven countries and has visited twenty-one. His favorite classic movie star is Barbara Stanwyck and his favorite novel is "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving.

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