SPOILERS ABOUND. BE WARNED. Though the word “review” does kind give that away. And it’s not really a review. More of a… ramble. Anyway. Here be words:
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this game because of it’s literal massive-ness. Admittedly, the Hinterlands is a huge starting base (leading to this “Leave the Hinterlands” meme I’ve seen floating around). And, yes, the Hinterlands is a pretty enormous arena to start new players off with, but it’s only one arena of the game.
People haven’t complained about the size of Skyrim, and that entire landscape is open-world. Yes, it has its dungeons and its caves and its cities, but the whole countryside is open.
“Hey, see that mountain over there? The one at the other side of the Markarth? Yeah, I’m gonna climb that thing. Might take me a while since I’m in Whiterun, but whatever. Come, Shadowmere! Let us adventure! :D”
Sticking with the comparison of Skyrim and Dragon Age, which I’ve seen a lot of:
Skyrim is an a country within the land of Tamriel.
The Hinterlands is a region within the country of Ferelden within the land of Thedas.
(By the way, I am not bashing Skyrim. I love the Elder Scrolls)
Besides, you need so much “power” to get to the next level. (I think it’s 8, if I remember correctly), so one only needs to do so many quests to get out of the Hinterlands. I know, Bioware gamers by nature are completionists. But the Hinterlands aren’t locked once you leave. You can always return 🙂
Bioware has never created dull characters, and there’s no changes here. DA:I gives us a veritable rainbow of colourful characters. Aside from your nine companions, you also have your three advisors. Not to mention allies, agents and NPCs. (Oh, Scout Harding ❤ you adorable little squishy scout)
And yes, I’m a massive Cullen fangirl. I’m completely in love with his character development. We watched him go from an infatuated, adorkable Templar intiate, to a mage-hating bundle of angsty, then grow into a stern-but-fair Knight Captain who somehow was still adorably bashful, and finally into a strong, capable, commander who’s haunted by his past failures and Lyrium addiction (which you can help him overcome). I mean, look at this adorable face ^-^
I find it nicely compares to Varric’s development. While still the Snark Knight, you can definitely tell Varric is blaming himself for everything that’s gone wrong in Thedas. And, to be honest, I can kinda see why. While he’s one of my favourite characters, if it hadn’t been for him mounting his expedition to the Deep Roads, finding the Red Lyrium idol, introducing Anders to Hawke, and leading Hawke to her (I always play as female) confrontation with Corypheus, then I suppose none of the events of Inquisition would’ve happened.
No Red Lyrium. No Elder One. No Warden Corruption. No Chantry-go-boom.
Oh, Varric. My heart broke to see you so despondent </3 😦
I’m not going to go too deep into it, but Sera irritates the ever-loving crap out of me. I think it’s because she has absolutely no respect for a Dalish Inquisitor. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if Sera is romanced by a female Dalish Inquisitor, and then finds out about the Temple of Mythal, Sera actually laughs at her that the Dalish got their history wrong.
That’s cruel, Sera 😦
I went out of my way to make Solas my Inquisitor’s BFF. Not sure why, but I love him. I love how he’s so serious, but he can snark with the best of them. He and Iron Bull have the best banter. They play chess. In their heads. That’s damn cool.
I’ve completed two playthroughs so far, (midway through my third) and each time I’ve played as a female Dalish mage. The first time, this was because I always play Dragon Age as a mage and, wherever possible, an elf. IE, Elf-mage Warden and mage Hawke.
I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find that this character origin actually makes the most sense in a playthrough. The amount of elvish magic that appears in this game is astounding. The Well of Sorrows? Elven. The Foci? Elven. Numerous temples, veilfire runes, quests, all Elven. And Solas. Elgar’nan, Solas. You… you sneaky little Elf-mage, you.
My first two playthroughs, I’ve recruited the mages instead of the templars. I’ve allowed the Grey Wardens to remain in Ferelden and work with the Inquisition. I made Stroud stay in the Fade instead of Hawke. And finally, I’ve allowed Morrigan to drink from the Well of Sorrows instead of making Ellana Lavellan (my Inquisitor) do so.
In my third attempt, however, I decided to try recruiting the Templars instead. It felt wrong. So very, very, wrong. I’ve nothing against Templars (I always romance Cullen), but I feel like a traitor if I approach Templars to make an alliance when playing as a mage. So, instead, I went through the Templar recruitment mission and saved the game, then went back, completed the mage recruitment mission and continued on the game from there. So now I have two save files for one game.
I must say, the Templar recruitment mission was more enjoyable. It felt like a journey into Lavellan’s psyche. And Cole appears first! Cutie-pie Cole. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about him, but I don’t see how, he’s so adorable and friendly and helpful and oooohhh he’s like a little lost puppy that I want to cuddle!
Sorry. I’ll stop fangirling.
So… this playthrough I think I’ll allow Lavellan to drink from the Well, and I may conscript the Wardens as prisoners.
And never, ever, ever, ever, ever in a million years will I sacrifice Hawke to the Fear demon in the Fade. Sorry, Stroud. But I don’t know you that well, and Hawke has Fenris to look after. Plus, I saw a Youtube video where Hawke died in the Fade, and Varric basically had a breakdown in front of the Inquisitor, crying at the thought of losing his best friend in the world. Mythal, that’s just… no. No. Never. No.
So. All in all, I’m in love with this game. I’ve rambled on enough. I could probably go on, but my eyes are aching.
Blessed by, my darling wee pixies