*This article contains minor spoilers, but no big plot points are spoiled
My obsession with RPG video games is vast and never ending. I love having the chance to jump into someone else’s shoes–I could be anyone and do anything. I could explore new worlds, meet new friends, wield swords or cast magic spells, defeat massive bosses, discover great treasures, and maybe even fall in love.
I started playing Bioware’s Dragon Age series two years ago and I was instantly hooked. When I discovered a third game was coming out in 2014, I could barely contain my excitement. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a complex, historically rich, and colorfully expansive role playing game. You should really being playing it and I will let you know why!
1. Customizable Characters
You start DA:I by creating your own brand spanking new character! First you can choose your gender, race (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Qunari), and class (Rogue, Warrior, Mage). Then in one of the most complex character customizations I have seen you pick the physical details of your character. You pick the skin color, hair color, tattoo designs, scar details, and even the inner and outer colors of the iris. It is INTENSE.
Your hero can look just like you or become someone completely different! The choices are up to you.
The ten year old version of me dreamed of the day when I could play a female character who looked just like me, so I could be the hero for once. Ten year old me never would of imagined Dragon Age: Inquisition.
2. Large Expanses of Land to Explore
The game designers at Bioware listened to their fans as they wished the new Dragon Age would be bigger than the ones before it, and oh my did they deliver. Dragon Age: Inquisition is MASSIVE. The land of Thedas is where all of the DA games are set, but this newest installment of the series lets us see more of it then ever.
Quests will take you all over the continent–from the high society and passion of Orlais to the wild and open kingdom of Fereldan and to the blustery cold of the Frostback Mountains that separate them. You and your team will travel to cities, forests, mountains, deserts, and swamps looking for a way to end the war the ultimate evil that rages over the land.
Plus, it’s a pretty open world so you can go wherever you want on the map! Just beware of dragons…they often like to appear out of nowhere…
Bioware loves making LOVE a part of their stories and I do too! They’ve done it in the past two Dragon Age games and also in their futuristic space RPG, Mass Effect. In DA: I there are eight romance-able characters: Blackwall, Cassandra, Solas, Cullen, Sera, Iron Bull, Josephine, and Dorian. Some characters are bound by their sexual preference; for instance, Dorian is gay, Sera is a lesbian, Cassandra is straight as are Cullen, Solas, and Blackwall. Some characters are bound by racial preference; Solas will only romance a female elf. This is different from Dragon Age 2 where you could romance any character regardless of gender. I think I like DA: I’s approach because it makes these companion characters more complex. Their sexuality and preference is part of who they are and that is a wonderful thing.
In my first play through I found myself (er, my character, a red-headed, female, elf rogue) falling for Cullen, the reformed Templar with a heart of gold. But there are so many wonderful options–you will have to play and see who is best for your Inquisitor!
Note: You do not have to romance any character/enter into a relationship in this game if you do not wish to!
4. Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi and Queer Identities
Dragon Age: Inquisition has made a monumental step forward for mainstream video games. They have included a wonderful, kick-ass, and compassionate NPC (non-playable character) who just happens to be a transgendered man. That man is Cremisius Aclassi, or Krem for short. Krem is the Lieutenant for the Bull’s Chargers, a group of adventurers that become an ally to you and your Inquisition. As you become closer to Krem and his boss, Iron Bull (who is one of your companions), he lets you know that he is transgendered. He is open about his past and even makes a casual reference to his binding and how he had to keep it a secret because in his home land, women weren’t allowed to be soldiers. So he left his home and found solace and acceptance among friends and comrades.
I was so happy when I heard Krem’s story. It is one of the first times I have encountered a transgender character in a mainstream video game and this is MAJOR for mainstream video games! Indie games have been challenging topics like this for years, but popular big-budget games are just starting to explore these areas.
Read more about the game designer’s journey of creating Krem here:
Also in Dragon Age: Inquisition, there are two other characters whose queer identities are big part of who they are: Dorian and Sera. Sera is a lesbian elf who stalks the streets looking for bad guys to stomp on. She believes in standing up for those who are different, or those who cannot stand on their own. She loves deeply and does not care who disapproves. She is role model for young girls who may be questioning their identity.
Dorian is a homosexual mage who hails from the northern nation of Tevinter Imperium. He is a silly, handsome man with a wonderful mustache who cares deeply about challenging the injustices of the world. As you befriend Dorian, you learn that he has distanced himself from his family because of his sexuality. He believes that his father disapproves of him. His story is not defined by his sexual preference, but it brings up true issues that people face in real life all the time.
Representation is important.
5. Did I Mention Dragons?
A big part of Dragon Age: Inquisition is well…dragons. Of course! You and your team of adventurers will be faced with many dragon fights! They are challenging battles, but I believe in you! Go out and kill some dragons!
So, those are few reasons why I think you should play Dragon Age: Inquisition! Are you a fan of the Dragon Age games? Let me know in the comments! Or if you start playing, let me know what your Inquisitor is like! Adventure on!
Written by Caroline Lux