Guest Column: The Redemption of the Inquisition

  • 95 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for austin_walker
austin_walker

567

Forum Posts

5245

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By austin_walker
No Caption Provided

Dragon Age: Inquisition has a complicated legacy. It didn’t have a firestorm of controversy based on a single element, like Mass Effect 3’s ending, and even took home a decent amount of Game of the Year awards. But hindsight—and the release of the similar and even better-received Witcher 3—have exposed its flaws.

In short, Inquisition was great for hanging out with monster-killing buddies and doing plot missions, but its open-world felt too big and tacked-on. 25 hours worth of quest missions and Skyhold hangouts were generally great (although the main plot offered diminishing returns thanks to a too-simplistic villain), but then there were 50-plus hours of wandering around empty spaces picking herbs and fights. It was almost like there were two games—the fascinating, fandom-ready game of emotion and color and humor and tragedy, and a half-baked open-world RPG lacking all the emotion and choice of the rest of the game.

That’s too complex a web for Trespasser, the DLC ending for DAI that BioWare released late last year, to transcend in the same way that “Citadel” became the must-play true emotional ending of Mass Effect 3. But it’s still quite good, in ways that both accent the best of Inquisition and limit many—though not all—of its weaknesses. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at what makes Trespasser interesting—and how it fixes Inquisition’s mistakes while setting up the future of the Dragon Age franchise. It’s probably worth saying that I need to spoil some of DAI in order to talk about what works in Tresspasser and what doesn’t.

BioWare has found itself in the odd position lately. They’ve been needing to salvage otherwise well-received games with final expansion packs. The need for this is somewhat understandable—BioWare makes games that are ambitious in story and space, and aim for both mechanics and emotional depth. They’re big and they’re messy, essentially, and downloadable expansions gives them the opportunity to clean up their messes.

For Mass Effect 3, the mess was relatively simple to clean up: its ending was controversial, in large part, because it went for lore and ignored the characters who were the main draw for many of its players. Citadel ended up being the perfect capstone, throwing a party for almost all of its beloved companions. So how does Trespasser work?

No Caption Provided

Trespasser is small

The best way to dislike Dragon Age: Inquisition early on was to stay in the first open-world zone, the Hinterlands (it even became something of a meme). The game’s big open zones were filled perfunctory quests and exploration spots, almost none of which added depth or complexity beyond “something more to do.” In contrast, the plot missions were tight, with consistent driving momentum and well-designed battles.

Trespasser gets that and runs with it. Structurally, it’s a handful of roughly 45-minute missions, interspersed with hangout time at the base. As a full game, this might be lacking (Dragon Age doesn’t need to turn into Mass Effect 2), but for a four-hour expansion, it works. We get well-designed linear levels, direct engagement with plot, and space for talking with characters—all of which are DAI at its best.

It’s about the Inquisition

One of the more frustrating elements of DAI was how its characters consistently told you that your choices would determine that nature of the powerful new institution of the Inquisition—but no matter what you did, the storyline was superficial. “Here’s the bad guy, he’s really strong, but if we work hard and make friends, we’ll beat him. Okay, we beat him and everyone loves us.”

What few choices are scattered throughout the non-plot sections of Inquisition were mostly supposed to reinforce the idea that you’re shaping the Inquisition to exist as a major continuing player in the world of Dragon Age, even after the world-threatening catastrophe was dealt with. As the Inquisitor sits in judgment, doling out forgiveness for enemies or punishment for long-past crimes, there’s an implication that these have consequences. But a political reckoning never arrived in the straightforward march to victory—just a couple of ominous emails from the War Room.

Trespasser sadly doesn’t get into the details of those decisions, but it does focus on the question of the Inquisition’s purpose in peace time.. Each of your advisors and party members has an opinion on the subject—and it builds to a dramatic and surprisingly nuanced choice. Trespasser gives the Inquisition meaning to its world outside of the simple story of the main game.

No Caption Provided

It focuses on the characters

One of the first quests you get—although optional—is to talk to each member of the Inquisition. Each of them (except the one who leaves at the end of DAI) gathered for the events of Trespasser and wants to fill you in on what’s happened. Best of all, there’s no real filler to this—everyone’s in a relatively constrained space, and they all have new dialogue at the same time, so you don’t need to talk to everyone in order to find the one person with a new conversation. The quest zones are also dense with both background conversations and opportunities to have direct private chats.

Essentially, if you, like me, see the best of Inquisition as party interactions, Trespasser engages directly with that—even with the one missing party member. Speaking of...

There are actual villains

While most of the quest levels in Dragon Age: Inquisition were well-designed, the game increasingly suffered from a dramatically inert villain, Corypheus. He was evil and powerful, you had to become powerful to stop him and...you did. He was boring, and so was his story. This was all mitigated slightly by an ending that revealed that there Corypheus was just a puppet, and one of your trusted party members was the real antagonist.

That character gets a starring role in Trespasser which is quite welcome, but they’re not alone. There’s also a more direct threat—a mysterious Qunari incursion that may or may not be a full invasion. The entire expansion is tinged with mystery: what are the Qunari doing? Will the Inquisitor find out about the betrayal that the audience saw at the end of Inquisition? Politically, will the people saved by the Inquisition turn on it and destroy it? All these give Trespasser tremendous forward momentum, like DAI had at its best.

With that said Trespasser still seems to be saving its best stuff for the next Dragon Age. The twists at the end of Inquisition and the revelations of Trespasser all do a wonderful job of setting up a complicated, sympathetic, powerful villain for the next game. But it’s frustrating to have played so long for what is, essentially, an advertisement for a future installment. It’s somewhat like post-credit sequences on Marvel movies, promising something amazingly cool at the end of a competent story, and having that dominate the discourse.

No Caption Provided

The “teaser” aspect of Trespasser may be a mix of positive and negative, but in a couple respects, it, unfortunately, reflects the worst aspects of Inquisition:

Itemization remains a mess

In practical terms, one of the biggest issues with Dragon Age: Inquisition was that inventory management and equipment progression was both confusing and annoying. Its crafting system was surprisingly good, but managing building new equipment, finding loot, and buying items from stores, across ten different party members involved far more work than reward.

Trespasser tries to simplify this mess, but ends up showing the core problems faster. The main issue is that its enemies are hard—they’re balanced for characters who’ve played all the other expansions, and have that gear. I didn’t, and got crushed. I’d beat Inquisition on Hard relatively easily, but jumping into Trespasser forced me (frustratingly, since I’d played the entire original game on Hard) to drop down to Casual. The alternative is going through the lists of materials and recipes that Trespasser provides and working with what’s available for every character you want to use—a chore that goes against the streamlined, character-focused strengths that Trespasser otherwise directly engaged in.

No Caption Provided

Trespasser does tragedy wrong

One of the oddest aspects of Dragon Age: Inquisition was that, unlike the previous two games in the series, it was largely lacking in tragedy. In Origins, you can save Ferelden, but you cannot fix it entirely, and you fight off total disaster after total disaster, trying to salvage something from them. Dragon Age 2 was even more explicit: Kirkwall was fucked, and through that lens it was clear that so were all of the institutions surrounding the mages and the templars throughout Thedas.

Inquisition’s biggest tragedy occurs before the game even starts, and kills characters we never knew nor cared about. But the strangest thing about it was that it had a huge, traumatic, tragic choice—but only for a rare combination of specific decisions imported from previous games. Most players would cheerfully move along, unaware of the screams of a hapless minority of players.

Trespasser doubles down on that, rather shockingly. There is a tragic moment of unexpected betrayal—but only if you made choices like a jerk in the main game. In almost all ethical choice systems that video games have installed since the original Fallout popularized the model, games have focused on the unintended consequences of choices. Try to integrate the ghouls and bigots in Fallout 3? Leads to a massacre. Help Merrill with her magical quest in Dragon Age 2? Also a massacre.

Meanwhile, Telltale has made an entire subgenre based on moving away from the “nice/jerk” choices of other games. They want choices to be difficult. And so did BioWare, in almost all of their other games. So why is Inquisition and Trespasser so unwilling to push all of its players into those uncomfortable and tragic situations?

This may be Inquisition’s legacy. There’s great stuff in the game, but it consistently struggled to prioritize those things. Trespasser does a good job of making sure the final taste of Dragon Age: Inquisition is a smooth one—but it doesn’t change what Inquisition is--a too-careful attempt at open-world popularity unsuccessfully combined with an emotional, character based-core. I hope, for future Dragon Ages’ sake, that the series can get this balance right.

Rowan Kaiser is a freelance writer focused on video games and television living in Oakland, California. Follow him on Twitter @rowankaiser for unimportant musings on pop culture and politics and very important cat pictures. You can listen to Rowan and Austin chat about games like Darkest Dungeon, and Dragon Age on the most recent episode of Giant Bomb Presents.

Avatar image for hassun
hassun

10228

Forum Posts

191

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#1  Edited By hassun

I could never get into Dragon Age and as the years have gone by I find that my interest and especially tolerance Bioware writing and storytelling has waned considerably. Not sure if that's just me or if they have gotten worse or both.

I often get the sickening feeling of fakeness, shallowness and fan pandering with their more recent games. As if they are going for the -to put it in wrestling terms- cheap pop.

As if you're watching a SyFy/Asylum version of Game of Thrones when you could just as easily watch Game of Thrones itself.

.

Speaking of which I also thought ME3's Citadel DLC was some of the worst fan pandering garbage in modern video game history. It actually made me throw up in my mouth a little.

Not to mention that ME3 was not an easy game to fix at all. The crappy ending was a mere symptom of that game's failings, not the cause.

I still think the real problems with ME3 are that the game's development cycle was way too short or that something straight up went disastrously wrong in the course of making it. Perhaps because ME2 left it with way too many possible loose ends to tie up and they had written themselves into a corner. It's hard to tell for sure.

Either way the extremely unsatisfactory story of ME3 turned me off on the entire trilogy. Whenever I think of Mass Effect now I think of the great first game and the squandered potential of the trilogy as a whole. It will take a lot to wipe that impression from my brain. Good luck, Andromeda.

Avatar image for madman356647
madman356647

827

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@hassun said:

I could never get into Dragon Age and as the years have gone by I find that my interest and especially tolerance for the Bioware style of writing has waned considerably. Not sure if that's just me or if they have gotten worse or both.

I think we've just been spoiled by newcomers who came out of nowhere (like CD Projekt) who managed to blow us away. Plus, it doesn't help we've seen a number of Bioware games over the years.

Avatar image for humanity
Humanity

20999

Forum Posts

5738

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 15

I really enjoyed Inquisition - even collected all of those shards to get those pathetic elemental buffs. When I finished the game I was SO ready to buy any DLC they'd make available just to keep playing, keep crafting, expanding my Arsenal with even deadlier weapons and cooler armor. Sadly that DLC wasn't there at release and it didn't show up until Witcher 3 was released at which point I was ready to begin something new.

This article made me interested in maybe diving back into the game just to see that resolution, whatever it might be. Then that last part kind of freaked me out.. I didn't even beat the game on hard, just normal. Would I be even able to get anywhere in Trespasser after basically having only finished the vanilla game? If I just had to craft some stuff they provide for you then I'm fine with that - I really enjoyed crafting weapons for my entire party - but if it's a level cap sort of deal then that's a bummer.

Avatar image for ht101
ht101

2154

Forum Posts

378

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 11

@hassun: For me, my feelings about DAI have changed since I played it. The Witcher 3 last year made me realize that DAI was not that great. I haven't gotten sick of the Bioware formula but I may be done with their Dragon Age stuff.

Avatar image for austin_walker
austin_walker

567

Forum Posts

5245

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@humanity: God I was... so bummed by fact that those shards didn't ever add up to anything really massive, narratively speaking. What a missed opportunity.

Also, I think if you plop it onto casual you'll have no problem with Trespasser--and it's definitely worth doing it if (like me) you were desperate for a little narrative resolution.

Avatar image for humanity
Humanity

20999

Forum Posts

5738

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 15

@austin_walker: you and me both, and maybe just like me you kept asking yourself "why am I doing this" as you ran from map to map collecting those little glowing bits.

I think anyone that even half enjoyed that game would have been desperate for something more. It's true I had a ton of fun while playing, but man what a complete non-ending that was after all the buildup. I was certain there was an hour long dungeon left when it became clear that nope, this ..is actually how they're going to end this.

Avatar image for iam3dhomer
iam3dhomer

72

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think it's worth mentioning that other characters can be absent from Trespasser if you don't do their loyalty mission. They only bothered to create new content if you showed interest in the character. That allowed Bioware to simplify the conversation options and not have to worry about Ghost Cole and whatnot.

Avatar image for cageysquid
CageySquid

171

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I've thought about reinstalling this game and buying Trespasser a bunch of times, count this as another one. Good read. Did anyone else get a Shadow of the Colossus vibe killing dragons in Inquisition? I got a couple, and they were just kind of hanging out not really bothering anyone.

Avatar image for pinkcrayon32
PinkCrayon32

94

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 8

It's a shame Corypheus ended up being such a non-factor in the main game after his baller (and well paced) introduction. The next Dragon Age game will certainly be interesting, hopefully they learnt something from The Witcher 3 in terms of open world quest design.

Avatar image for andrewf87462
andrewf87462

998

Forum Posts

45

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm enjoying these columns. We are going to need a new link at the top of the site soon to house all of these.

Avatar image for basileus777
Basileus777

21

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

#11  Edited By Basileus777

Nice article, though I don't really agree with your response to the "unexpected betrayal" in Trespasser, as I picked what you term as the jerk choice and the pay off was executed pretty well. I found it to be a pretty good example of unintended consequences as when I made that utilitarian choice in the main game, I never expected it to backfire on me in such a manner.

Avatar image for thesteve19
thesteve19

107

Forum Posts

29

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Put me in the camp of people who had no idea Alistair could show up in DA:I.

Avatar image for calmgamer
Calmgamer

332

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Fine article. Good analysis of DAI - a game I keep meaning to give another try. +1 for mentioning the Citadel DLC from Mass Effect 3; it was such a great way to finish up the hundreds of hours I spent with that trilogy!

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
monkeyking1969

8276

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 17

Cool. I didn't play that main game or the expansion, yet Rowan Kaiser gave enough background on teh story and game play that his explanations where understandable. Good job GB, and good job Rowan.

Avatar image for rhymesmcfist
RhymesMcFist

79

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

SHOULDA KNOWN I'D GET SPOILED, HAD TO READ IT ANYWAY. I know I'm an outlier, but I enjoy wandering the hinterlands, picking herbs and doing nothing. I'm pretty deeply invested in the Dragon Age world, so I'll have to get this DLC whenever I finally finish the main game.

Avatar image for draugen
Draugen

1003

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 20

I agree with words you wrote.

Avatar image for cheesemuffins
cheesemuffins

15

Forum Posts

112

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

My biggest Issue with DA:I was that they lied to me and told me the tactical combat was back. The tactical view was absolutely fucking useless and I got stuck as a mage casting disables on cooldown like it was fucking WoW for 60+ hours. Sure, you can switch characters, but then your squishy mage AI commits suicide. Also slow-ass horses. The bullshit I put up with to chill with Iron Bull...

Avatar image for fargofallout
fargofallout

427

Forum Posts

140

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#18  Edited By fargofallout

I hated Inquisition so much that I think I finished it out of spite. When the ending happened, I basically stopped paying attention, so I have no recollection of it. "One of your trusted party members was the real antagonist" - I think I can guess who, but I don't know for certain. What a bland story that game had.

This sounds slightly more palatable and interesting than the main game, but I feel like me buying it would be somehow giving Bioware the message that Inquisition is worth any time.

Avatar image for olivaw
Olivaw

1308

Forum Posts

6

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@humanity: God I was... so bummed by fact that those shards didn't ever add up to anything really massive, narratively speaking. What a missed opportunity.

Also, I think if you plop it onto casual you'll have no problem with Trespasser--and it's definitely worth doing it if (like me) you were desperate for a little narrative resolution.

Those fucking shards. I would have been satisfied if I'd even gotten a cool, unique flaming sword at the end of it! Just anything at the end that justified that place's existence would have been fine.

But there was just nothing. That's sort of how I felt about Inquisition at the time. A whole lot of build up to a whole lot of nothing.

Avatar image for artisanbreads
ArtisanBreads

9107

Forum Posts

154

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 6

#20  Edited By ArtisanBreads

The villain was bad for sure. That has been a Bioware weakness for a while now, since Mass Effect 1 which did very well with Saren. The Inquisition story seems all based around having a great villain in the way the first Mass Effect did but it fell flat. I really like the linked write up as far as that aspect goes.

I do agree with Witcher 3 making Dragon Age look bad because that game has tons of content too but almost all of it is way better. The bad side aspects of Witcher 3 (like the generic chests, buried treasure, loot) felt right at home in Inquisition.

I think there is a disconnect with what Bioware does in that they focus so much on your party in their games but then don't include them enough in the ending and things like that. It's not that you have to go that route, but in the rest of their game it's such a focus. They do it some (like Morrigan in Dragon Age Origins) but not enough. I was very happy with more of the balance Mass Effect 1 had with a strong villain, solid main plot line for your character in addition to a party, and even some exploration added in. I think DA:I is going for that balance I suppose it just fails. They've said it's a blueprint for the next ME game so I hope it will be more open like 1.

Avatar image for thisisdell
thisisdell

223

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I put 120 hours into the base game and haven't touched the expansions yet and STILL have 2 areas to go back to to finish. I really liked this game.

Avatar image for amyggen
AMyggen

7738

Forum Posts

7669

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Avatar image for theklonere
TheKlonere

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#23  Edited By TheKlonere

Great article Rowan, got me to commit to writing this mess of words which I so rarely do! Thanks for this feature Austin!

God, I put so much time into Inquisition and just didn't care about anything. As one of those strange people that got over DA2's very obvious and very real flaws, I came to love that game and thought that maybe Bioware was moving forward with a different tack on Dragon Age. The relative tight focus of DA2 on a single city and its woes alongside party members who are a sociopath that likes you whose combination of greed and curiosity kills the only family member who could stand him and sets up the events of DA:I in not a good way to a hilariously destructively delusional naive girl who can end up killing her own tribe with your help to cold, broken, violent man who murders his own sister to an irredeemable fanatic ANDERSSSSS made it a very different experience to the usual Bioware party politics. That plus a refreshing focus on family that adds so much to certain story beats My sister is in the Chantry, I have to side with the mages!.

Alas then comes along this pretty little thing called Dragon Age Inqusition where the bad guy wants to kill or become god or some combination of the two god and we all gotta unite together to stop him and you are the only one that etc etc etc. Now that's not to say that DAI doesn't do interesting things in the story. I thought that Sera was an interesting imposition of what an actual working class person would think of what are essentially sweeping aristocratic movements that just mean either she is going to starve or be sent do die for something she doesn't care about nor understand. The twist of the betrayal made sense and was well done but I had long since given up on the game. The combination of the aforementioned boiler plate fantasy story that Blizzard would be proud of, design decisions which were informed by the worst of SWTOR and combat that ranged from mind numbingly easy to infuriating due to lack of granularity of control over ones party STOP STANDING IN THE FIRE all combine into a heady brew of uninstalling the game 65 hours in, watching the endings on youtube and feeling deeply regretful of my time spent in the game.

While I'm sure Trespasser is a fine piece of content I just did not feel that giving Bioware more money to once again "fix the ending" of one of their video games is sending the right signal. DAI not only has turned me away from further investment in itself but investment in the series as a whole and perhaps Bioware games in general. Will Mass Effect: Andromeda address any of the concerns raised by DAI? Or will it be the Fallout 4 of Mass Effect - more of the same, broken in the same ways, pushing the same buttons but giving you less buttons to push.

Avatar image for iam3dhomer
iam3dhomer

72

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The part of Inquisition I loved the most was how the story of building the Inquisition added context to all the little questing I did. I wanted to do every dumb little thing because it all felt like it was all building towards a greater whole (Whether it really was or not was less important, because I felt empowered in the moment.) For me that's why story in games is important, the way it provides context to my actions. And building this organization from the ground up worked together nicely with the "hanging out with buddies" feel that Bioware's party system is best at.

In contrast The Witcher 3 (Though better written in a lot of ways) was really bad at giving me context for what I was doing. The whole world was structured around money, to the point where I didn't want to loot everything because I felt bad about stealing from poor villagers, but at the same time I felt like money barely mattered to me in the game. Instead I felt like I needed to take quests and explore so I could get experience, basically a second more meta form of currency. On top of that was a story that I felt like was pushing me forward in a rush, which was also at odds with the quest and exploration the game wanted me to do.

I feel like people so easily throw the writing in Inquisition under the bus in comparison to The Witcher 3, but if you look at story as context for play I feel like Inquisition was a lot stronger in the moment. The Witcher 3 just seemed like a great world that was at odds with the line of progression in its gameplay.

Avatar image for gigabomber
Gigabomber

177

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#25  Edited By Gigabomber

The Dragon Age series has always felt like a poorly organized stage play to me.

I mean that I've felt more immersed in actual stage plays.

Avatar image for tennmuerti
Tennmuerti

9465

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 7

@olivaw said:
@austin_walker said:

@humanity: God I was... so bummed by fact that those shards didn't ever add up to anything really massive, narratively speaking. What a missed opportunity.

Also, I think if you plop it onto casual you'll have no problem with Trespasser--and it's definitely worth doing it if (like me) you were desperate for a little narrative resolution.

Those fucking shards. I would have been satisfied if I'd even gotten a cool, unique flaming sword at the end of it! Just anything at the end that justified that place's existence would have been fine.

But there was just nothing. That's sort of how I felt about Inquisition at the time. A whole lot of build up to a whole lot of nothing.

From a munchkin perspective those buffs you got were way better and more OP then any old ass potential flaming sword.

Avatar image for kenori
Kenori

67

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

So I'm confused how this system works? Am I supposed to just submit a title for an article? Or submit the full article up front? I'm confused...

Avatar image for basketsnake
BasketSnake

1821

Forum Posts

48

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

I hated Inquisition so much that I think I finished it out of spite. When the ending happened, I basically stopped paying attention, so I have no recollection of it. "One of your trusted party members was the real antagonist" - I think I can guess who, but I don't know for certain. What a bland story that game had.

This sounds slightly more palatable and interesting than the main game, but I feel like me buying it would be somehow giving Bioware the message that Inquisition is worth any time.

Me too. Never again.

Avatar image for conmulligan
conmulligan

2243

Forum Posts

11722

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 11

#29  Edited By conmulligan

Welcome to the site, Rowan!

I enjoyed Inquisition a lot more than most, but I can certainly understand why people were turned off by the amount of fluff Bioware populated the world with. I think the general structure was well done, though, and there's potential for terrific game there. I'm hopeful that Mass Effect: Andromeda takes Inquisition's basic formula and just does a better job of making those hub areas more meaningful.

Avatar image for phili151
Phili151

330

Forum Posts

55

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I am all about these guest columns.

Avatar image for n7
N7

4159

Forum Posts

23

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 2

With that said Trespasser still seems to be saving its best stuff for the next Dragon Age. The twists at the end of Inquisition and the revelations of Trespasser all do a wonderful job of setting up a complicated, sympathetic, powerful villain for the next game. But it’s frustrating to have played so long for what is, essentially, an advertisement for a future installment. It’s somewhat like post-credit sequences on Marvel movies, promising something amazingly cool at the end of a competent story, and having that dominate the discourse.

Oh my goodness, THIS. Look, I get that these games were built to incorporate decisions and their consequences from the prior games into the future of the series, but holy crap I just hate when all you get to see is basically a huge "LIKE THIS PLOT? GET THAT PRE-ORDER MONEY READY BOI".

Great article.

Avatar image for virgilleadsyou
VirgilLeadsYou

64

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Dear Rowan Kaiser

I really liked reading this article!

I've never checked out any of the DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition.

It was basically my GOTY, and since I'm someone who tries to explore all available story content,

my time with the game felt like it had a satisfactory finish.

I liked the ending, but since reading this piece, I'm excited to check out Trespasser.

I was worried about your discussion of one of the Tragic choices in DA:I, right until I understood who you were discussing. Not only was I positioned with that rare choice, but I had decided it easily.

If there's specific fallout from that decision in Trespasser, I'm excited to find out!

Though, I disagree about the value of having all roads leading to some unforeseen level of tragedy,

I enjoyed the read!

Avatar image for vikingdeath1
vikingdeath1

1341

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Wait wait wait..... That part where you were in the Fade and had to choose between Hawke and some Gray Warden guy... That Gray Warden could have been Loghain or Alistair?!?

WHAT?!

Oh, and good piece-o-writing duder!

Avatar image for nedshead
nedshead

35

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It seems like Bioware can never make anyone happy. Bioware is by far my most beloved developer. I loved Inquisition. Sure not everything in the game is worth doing but a lot of it is at least for me pretty good. I hate when people compare it to the Witcher 3...they are vastly different games in all but one thing "the open world" People praise CD Projekt and for good reason the Witcher series is great! But kinda bugs me when people crap all over Bioware like they don't do good work anymore. Not saying the article is by any-means but some of the comments in here bothered me. Anyway I think the article brings up fair criticisms of what was wrong with Dragon Age but I don't agree with the extent to which it goes. I thought all of the DLC for Inquisition was fantastic but felt that trespasser was the weakest of the 3 for me but I did appreciate the try for something different.

Avatar image for redhotchilimist
Redhotchilimist

3018

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

I'm not gonna read this for fear of spoilers, but I want to say one thing: Judging by the title, I'm still so bummed they never released Trespasser on 360. I'm sure the four other people who played it on the old consoles are equally sour about that.

Avatar image for justatippler
justatippler

28

Forum Posts

17

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This was great. I've loved Rowan's writing elsewhere (especially Gameological/AV Club) and it's awesome seeing him here.

Avatar image for lab392
Lab392

495

Forum Posts

6

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Great piece. Keep these coming! I'm so excited to see who you have next!

Avatar image for mento
Mento

4519

Forum Posts

531024

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 39

User Lists: 187

#38 Mento  Moderator

Hey Rowan, welcome to Giant Bomb. Sorry about getting caught by the whole "name inappropriateness" filter thing. My friend Geoff Uckland says it happens more often than you'd think.

Avatar image for veektarius
Veektarius

6420

Forum Posts

45

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 1

#39  Edited By Veektarius

I might give DA:I another chance based on this article. I was the sort of person who finished it originally, without having played the Witcher, and immediately resented how little effort they put into its main storyline. Very much a Mass Effect 2 kinda game in that it focused on the little side stories. The fact they were connected by a vast world map didn't make them feel like they flowed together any better.

Honestly, two or three fewer characters might have solved that games problems, if it meant more resources went into the rest of it.

Avatar image for austin_walker
austin_walker

567

Forum Posts

5245

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@kenori:Here one (of many) articles on pitching articles to game outlets.

Avatar image for duecenage
Duecenage

320

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 6

Hah, It's funny. I was just thinking about Dragon Age: Inquisition again and how I need to get the story DLC. Maybe I spend my long weekend doing that!

Avatar image for frytup
frytup

1812

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#42  Edited By frytup

Everything about DA:I bored me to tears. Writing, quest design, combat. Everything.

It's a huge compliment to Rowan that this article almost compels me to give it another try.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
ArbitraryWater

15931

Forum Posts

5508

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 58

#43  Edited By ArbitraryWater

All of this sounds great... except for the part where I didn't finish Dragon Age Inquisition and would have to do so for a lot of Trespasser to resonate with me. Even though I've found myself increasingly tired of some of the ways Bioware writes its games, I probably would've finished it if not for the big open environments being equal parts big, open, and empty of meaningful content. In some ways, I'd rather replay Dragon Age 2 than try to finish Inquisition.

I dunno how Mass Effect Andromeda will shape up, but I'm afraid the last few years haven't been kind to my relationship with Bioware. If it's anything like Inquisition, I might stay away from it entirely.

EDIT: I should probably give props to Rowan for this quality article. It almost makes me want to finish DA:I!

Avatar image for aktivity
aktivity

490

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#44  Edited By aktivity

I liked Trespasser a lot more than I liked the main game and it was by far the best Inquisition dlc. Although it annoys me that some of the fairly big decisions you make are highly unlikely to get any more than a small mention in DA4, because this is a paid dlc.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

5968

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I loved Inquisition, even though I do mostly agree with the common complaints of how that game wraps up. I feel I'd have to finish up another playthrough in order to get around to Trespasser but everything I've heard about it makes me want to do so.

Avatar image for tissot
tissot

87

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#46  Edited By tissot

I immensely enjoyed Dragon Age: Inquisition. It is the only game since ME series I've bought any DLC content, let alone all story content. There are plenty of better characters out there, but I got a say I eat the cheese BioWare feds to you and happily do hours after hours of the character specific quests. I find BioWare still does amazing work with the grandiose of specific moments visually and making sure they pop up, even example on DLC Jaws of Hakkon's the ice dragon fight at night with moon shining behind the dragon has visually burned into my mind. ME series was especially good with that aspect.

All in all the combat is also huge part of DA to me. There are almost no other major studios crafting these huge story RPG games that have pure spell casters as a option. To me that is essential for my enjoyment on RPG's. As a PC gamer it doesn't quite get into the heights of DA Origins hardest difficulty combat, with the need to stop the time every other second to plan every movement to stay alive. Even so I could have sank extra 15 hours to DA:I with just a new area, harder new enemies, better loot to be find and not much else, and enjoyed it.

All that said I totally agree with the negatives this article puts up. I did like some of the underlying points you could pick up, if one goes all in for the texts and some elvish dialogue that is being talked. But corypheus could have been so much more with the backstory he has. What Inquisition is when /if they win, that foreshadowing that started early on on the core game was something I liked. With Trespasser finding more about the direction of Inquisition, alongside much deeper dive on the real "big bad" was what I cared. It delivered satisfying result to one of those.

Avatar image for cogg
Cogg

6

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I find it interesting that Inquisition was a let down for so many people - I feel that it's easily the best one in the franchise, and among the top 5 RPGs I've ever played. The story was nuanced and the secrets of Thedas were revealed at just the right time in splendid ways. I've never seen a game as committed to its lore as Inquisition was. After 2 whole games of learning about the history of Andraste and the wolf and the origins of the chantry - and then having everything turned up on its head with the reveal in Tresspasser is probably one of the best reveals I've ever seen in a game. I had my suspicions about the big reveal in tresspasser once I entered the temple with Morrigan earlier on and it turned out that I was correct in guessing the reveal.

I loved almost everything about inquisition (except for The Descent, that DLC was a nightmare), it's nice to at least see it getting talked about here on Giantbomb; whether people like it or not, it's undeniable that there are some incredible things they pulled off with this game.

Avatar image for j_unit2008
j_unit2008

323

Forum Posts

275

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Another one.

Avatar image for zorak
zorak

296

Forum Posts

241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This mirrors a lot of my thoughts of the base DA:I, though I'm interested in checking out Trespasser now. Thanks Rowan.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.