Dragon Age: Inquisition is a BIG game, so you’re probably going to feel a little overwhelmed by it all.
Lucky for you I’ve already poured more than enough time into what’s possibly my GOTY for 2014. Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind when marching into the Inquisition for the first time.
Sadly, you can’t directly import your save files from previous Dragon Age games to Inquisition, instead, you’ll need to go utilise a browser application called The Dragon Age Keep.
Before you get started you’ll need an Origin account, which you can create here if you don’t already have one, as well as ensuring whatever platform account – PSN or XBL – you played previous games on is linked with Origin (PC users won’t need to worry about this. Probably). Unsure how to check? Head here for more details.
Once you’ve got either your PSN or XBL profiles linked with Origin, jump on over to The Dragon Age Keep to import your characters, and to begin building your world states. Once you’re done click on the globe icon situated in the top right of the screen and select to import the state to Inquisition. If you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll be able to see the custom world state you’ve built when you go to start a new game in Inquisition!
While you can purchase reasonably good items to outfit your party members with, the best stuff comes from making your own via Inquisition’s fairly nifty crafting system. And if you have the right schematic, you can also create new upgrades that provide an added boost to your items.
The way it works is each weapon or piece of armour you make requires you use resources from different categories – cloth, metals, and so on – with various resources having differing effects on the final item. For example, using cotton when crafting an enchanter’s coat will award that item +4 resistance to fire, whereas using a bear hide might grant you +2 magic instead.
Experimenting with the different combinations of resources available when crafting arms and armour will unlock some uniquely powerful items. It also allows you to outfit your party members with similar items, but with wildly different attributes that may resonate strongly with how you prefer to use them in battle.
But to get a point where you can experiment with the crafting system, and seeing what different combinations you can make, can only be achieved if you spend time combing Inquisition huge game world for resources.
When you access the first real explorable area – The Hinterlands – I recommend spending a good half hour to an hour plundering your surroundings for herbs, metals, and random boxes and crates looking for anything you can use to begin crafting your own awesome gear. Not only will it give you a sense of accomplishment (probably), but will certainly give you an edge over the enemies you’ll encounter.
The world of Thedas is an interesting place filled with more lore than you can shake a copy of Lord of the Rings at (yes, I know there’s more than just one book, settle down), and whether you’re a returning fan or a newcomer, it’s totally worth your time to explore every square inch of Inquisition’s immense game world.
The Hinterlands alone is packed full of things to see and do. It’s a truly a show-stealing location, one brimming with life and emotion thanks to the powerful Frostbite 3 engine pulling it all together in a realistic, gobsmacking fashion. From its rolling hills to its winding caverns, to the sprawling fields; it’s a place filled with many secrets to uncover. And that’s just one area, least I mention The Stormy Coast, The Western Approach or any of the other truly outstanding locations.
Along your journey, you’ll find codex entries revealing the history behind some of the more interesting places you’ll discover, or you’ll stumble across a mission marker that sends you on an epic quest that benefits your Inquisition in some way, or even new schematics to forge new weapon and armour. That’s one of the amazing things about Inquisition; you never really know what’s just around the corner.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is described as having “dynamic difficulty”, as well as having the more traditional ‘easy/normal/hard’ settings. What this means is there will be areas you won’t be able to explore because enemies are set at a higher level than your own, not unlike in your typical MMO.
For instance, there’s a dragon hanging around The Hinterlands (the first area you visit following the prologue) you can go and visit within the first hour of the game. Only thing is its level will be way higher than yours, and will destroy you with a single fire ball. There are other notable examples, not just in The Hinterlands, but in many of the game’s other locations, as well.
So while it’s tempting to stray further and further away from the main path, I do encourage it after all, know that there’s a limit to where you can go, and what you can see. And if you come across enemies that impede your exploration, file it away for later and return when their levels no longer pose a challenge.
Unlike in previous Dragon Age games, Inquisition’s mages can’t heal your party’s health. As you’d expect this throws the game’s difficulty further towards the “harder” end of the spectrum. The trade-off is potions are no longer items you need to search high and low for, or purchase from merchants, instead, your stock of potions is replenished whenever you either visit a Inquisition camp or stumble across any of the conveniently located supply crafts.
Aside from the standard health potion, you can also brew better potions such as regeneration, lyrium, and so on, depending on whether you’re able to locate the ingredient list to make them. You can also upgrade the effectiveness of any of your potions – increasing the amount of health healed, etc – providing you spend enough time collecting the resources to do so. So whenever you see a herb during your adventures, stop and collect them.
It’s also recommended you have your mage party members learn how the revive spell as quickly as possible. Once unlocked, set the skill as a favourite in the tactics sub-menu so they’re more likely to save mana to use it whenever a party member goes down in battle.
I won’t pretend that Dragon Age: Inquisition is easy, because no matter how much you try and prepare for those big, epic battles, you’re going to face considerable resistance. So when things get a little heated, remember to use the tactical camera, or taccam, in an attempt to swing things back into your favour.
When active, the taccam pause the game and flips the perspective into a top-down birds-eye-view. You’re then free to highlight enemies, cycle through your party members and issue commands for carefully orchestrated attacks against either a powerful foe, or a swarm of enemies. By holding the right trigger you can also fast-forward time after you’ve input attack commands, so there’s no need to even turn taccam off if you so feel inclined.