Heroes and magic and dragons, oh my!
For all the good that is BioWare's Dragon Age franchise, it has always fell short in one category: environment. While packed with lore, action and adventure, it's always been done on a small scale with repeating or reused locations.
However with Dragon Age Inquisition, it looks like the franchise will be lacking in environment no longer.
As was said with a number of RPGs at E3 this year, the general rule of thumb for Inquisition is "if you can see it you can go there." In essence, we're talking what's likely to be at the scale of Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (if not larger). Mounts are being introduced for the first time in the series. It looks like riding on horseback will be quite welcomed when traversing presumably vast distances between areas. Individual locations weren't explored in any depth during E3, but the few shown both looked great and seemed much more open than those of its predecessors.
Furthermore, these areas are dynamic -- plants grow and animals roam around. It was mentioned during the demonstration that how a player treats these environments also matters. For example, should a player slay a noticeable number of bears in a given area, the number of bears encountered will decrease, meaning the player is essentially killing them off.
Of course, players would probably find more appeal in slaying dragons like the extremely large and formidable one shown during the demo.
All-in-all, the whole environmental aspect of this still-in-development game looks quite promising.
As far as the story of Inquisition goes, the player assumes the role of the sole survivor of a blast that took the lives of thousands. Not exactly unscathed, the protagonist (known as the Inquisitor) is left with a scar-like mark that allows him (or her) to seal various rifts from demons and other underworldly foes.
Ultimately, the Inquisitor's role is to become the leader of leaders. Like in previous Dragon Age games, there is a party to control. Though this time around, the player also has an army to control and can send out orders to troops from the briefly shown war table. As far as the player's party is concerned, all that's certain is the party consists of members like a Quinari mercenary, mage apostates and others.
It's unknown if any of the previous game's main cast will be playable or even make appearances; though, the dwarf Varric was teased at last year's E3 when the game was originally announced.
In combat, things have evolved a bit from Dragon Age 2. Players can still swap between party members with the A.I. controlling the others, but Inquisition is going to take things far deeper than that. This time around, the game will feature a tactical mode that players can switch into during skirmishes. Here the game pauses so that orders can be given out at a character-by-character basis including where to go and what to do once there. Just how polished the system is at this point is unknown, but as shown during E3, it looks fairly put together.
Sure to be an epic fantasy role-playing game experience, Dragon Age Inquisition launches Oct. 7 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.