Dragon Age: Origins, its sequel and Inquisition are three games from a franchise that has taken us on countless adventures over the years. Felling darkspawn and romancing fellow adventurers has yet to get old, but there has been a disappointment or two. Origins evoked such a fundamental sense of what makes an RPG great, that when DA II failed to follow suit, the inevitable backlash occurred.
Writer David Gaider once spoke of why he avoided the Bioware social network forum, describing the negativity as being increasingly toxic. More recently, Gaider has discussed the critical judgement of fans on his blog The Bittersweetest Thing.
There have been many reasons voiced about why the second installment of the popular franchise fell short, most of which are opinions I do not share. I really enjoyed DA II, although I do have some of my own criticisms. One smaller example being a lack of character consistency between Origins/Awakening and DA II.
My only real criticism of the game was that the plot, compared to that of Origins, was slap-dash and lacked focus. In DA Origins, you knew exactly what was going on relatively early in the game. You knew what you had to achieve and how to go about achieving it. Gathering allies for an approaching war created a cohesive, goal-orientated experience. That important aspect was missing from the sequel. In Dragon Age II, you escaped one city and gained entry to another. What followed was a seemingly unrelated series of quests leaving you thinking: “Why am I doing this? Why should I care?” Once you realize what end-game you have been led towards, the lack of a suitable build-up left the finale feeling anti-climactic and hollow.
Going from the information that has been strategically drip-fed by Bioware, we are aware of a plot structure that thankfully seems far more reminiscent of Origins than its sequel. Add to this the sheer size and variety promised by the developers, and you can feel confident that you’re about to embark on an adventure of truly epic proportions.
Although there has also been some sparse negativity aimed at the pending title: the addition of multiplayer, lack of healing options, not being able to romance Varric, etc., there’s enough evidence to cement a firm belief that Inquisition will correct the flaws of Dragon Age II while surpassing the greatness of Dragon Age: Origins.
And as the release date inches closer, the only thing I am left to wonder about is if my Qunari mage Inquisitor should be male or female?