In 2014, the hit series Dragon Age by game developer BioWare got its third installment. Dragon Age Inquisition was a massive success, earning over 100 “Game of the Year” awards. It has been a year since its initial release, so why are people still talking about the game as if it were its first day on the market? The answer is simple, really. Dragon Age Inquisition thrives in areas where other games seem to fall short. It provides an immersive storytelling experience that changes depending on just who exactly is playing the game.
Dragon Age utilizes a narrative technique in gaming called “branching.” The choices you make as the player determine what happens next in the story. Branching allows you to create the hero (or anti-hero) that you want, both in the look and narrative department. When I played as my first Inquisitor, I did everything the so-called “moral” way. I tried to keep the best interest of all of the non-playable characters in mind, a seemingly daunting task. The second play through? I braved the intense story as a guy who just wanted to take a nap, not have the fate of the entire world resting on his shoulders. Needless to say, I was stunned by how different two characters could approach the same situation. Each time I played, my story took a different turn. With an interface like this, I guarantee that no two playthroughs will be the same.
The most fascinating thing about Dragon Age is the amount of lore the series sits upon. BioWare has created a fully fleshed out fantasy world, with its own societal structures and limitations. The world of Thedas is not without prejudice and injustice. Is your character an elf? Be prepared to be doubted by almost every person in power. Do you want to set the mages free? This sentiment will not be met without opposition. There is no choice that is completely right. Someone will always have a problem with what you choose to do, and that’s the fun of it. It’s realistic. The choices you’re asked to make are not apple and oranges. No, BioWare knows just how to toy with your emotions. Do you kill friends to save the world, or do you let possible alliances crumble to ensure your companion lives to see another day? Really think about it. Would you be willing to sacrifice someone you care about for the safety of the world? Dragon Age Inquisition forces the player to face the one thing humans try to hide from – death. Unlike any other game before it, Dragon Age has made me question the way I approach situations in my non-virtual life. There are consequences to our actions, even when we choose the seemingly “right” one.
So, let’s recap. If you’re looking for a thought provoking game that is heavily story-driven and shaped by your choices, then the Dragon Age series is for you. With the “Game of the Year” edition out now on multiple platforms, I do recommend checking the game out, even if you’re new to the series. It is a standalone game, but I would highly suggest you play Dragon Age Origins first, followed by Dragon Age 2 for the sheer amount of lore packed into these games.