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Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 6: A Killer Cast

Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 6: A Killer Cast

Dragon Age: Inquisition Diary 6: A Killer Cast

I don’t get the people who race through Dragon Age: Inquisition’s main quest. I think they’re missing the point.


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

I’ve said this a bunch of times already when talking about this game, but I’m going to say it again: I do not get the people who are racing through Dragon Age: Inquisition’s main quest and finishing the game in a few dozen hours. I think they’re missing the point.

Inquisition has a very similar structure to Dragon Age: Origins and to Bioware’s other great story-driven RPG franchise, Mass Effect, particularly the second game in that series. The structure I’m referring to is this: There’s a central spine of story that you follow, surrounded by MOUNTAINS of optional or semi-optional material, much of it having to do with your companions or other close characters.

Inquisition is particularly rich in this regard.

The game has two main group of NPCs that you can develop relationships with. First, there are the actual party members (nine) and the War Council members (four). That’s twelve distinct, dynamic characters. Some of them are “romanceable,” some not. The first group – the party members – have an under-the-hood “Approval” meter that is affected by your actions. But all of them have stories.

Most of these stories are ignorable. But why would you want to ignore them? That’s what I don’t get.

Let’s take Varric. He’s a disreputable Surface Dwarf (meaning he’s casteless since leaving the underground dwarven kingdom) who, in addition to being a kick-ass crossbow rogue, happens to be a best-selling author. This leads into several interesting directions, including plagiarism, spies using faked versions of his works to send nefarious messages and, hilariously, a reveal that one of the other party members (the stern Cassandra) is an almost obsessive fan of his romance serials.


Figure 6 Varric, Ferelden’s resident Sex Dwarf

Beautifully voiced by Brian Bloom, Varric is as irresistible as he was in Dragon Age II, in which he was also a party member.

Speaking of Cassandra. She’s the super-duper serious warrior who was also figured prominently in the second game. In fact, the entire game was set in a framing device that consisted of her deposing Varric. Cassandra seems cold and unappealing at first, but she really has been growing on me as I’ve begun to see her vulnerable side. She’s sturdily voiced by Miranda Raison.


Figure 7 Cassandra: Tough as nails, but with a senstitive side!

Both Varric and Cassandra have various other globetrotting tasks that I have been helping them with, attempting to up my Approval rating with them. One of these tasks involves the destroying of Red Lyrium deposits.

Red Lyrium? That deserves a quick explanation. Lyrium is a mysterious living mineral that becomes essentially a dangerous drug when ingested. Mages can use it carefully for entering the Fade, the game’s nether world. Templars use it deliberately, because it theoretically helps them control the mages. Of course, they all become addicted, giving the Chantry (the organization that controls the Templars) the ability to control the Templars.

Red Lyrium is a particularly dangerous strain of lyrium that features prominently in the story.

Another great character, the handsome Dudley Do-Right Templar named Cullen, has been in all three games. This time around he’s one of your War Council. His optional but fascinating story involves his desire to break his addiction from lyrium. You get to decide to help him or not on this very difficult (and controversial) move.


Figure 8 The Studly Cullen wants to go cold turkey

Seriously. How many fantasy RPGs deal with a topic like drug addiction?

I could go on and on. There’s the great horned warrior Iron Bull, hilariously voiced by Freddy Prinze, Jr. He’s the leader of a fierce, elite squad of fighters called The Chargers. (He brags that he’s a good boss because he supports Pants-Optional Day.)


Figure 9 Insert “horny” joke here!

His second-in-command is a fascinating transgender character named Krem, beautifully voiced by veteran voice performer Jennifer Hale.

And I haven’t even mentioned the sticky problem of the recently unearthed 150-year-old contract on her life facing another member of your war council.

And then there’s romance. In the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, there are various optional romance opportunities. Bioware has much of the spectrum covered, this time around. In the next entry, we’ll get into the one I chose.

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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