New Stories

“Dragon Age: Inquisition:” The Video Game for Book Readers

by Dan Spanner

An insurmountable, magical rift in time and space has just torn through the ceiling of sky above your head. It screams out demons of various and terrifying shapes. Then, it erupts an explosion and quakes the earth at your feet and plummets the town around you into oblivion.

This is the opening of Bioware’s “Dragon Age: Inquisition.” Creators of the famed and glorious “Mass Effect,” “Knights of the Old Republic,” “Jade Empire,” Bioware is a company that wears the badge for deep storytelling and memorable, iconic characters.

Their stories are filled with romance, tragedy, joy, engrossing worlds, and characters that become true friends and companions. They are longer, lengthier games that one could spend around 60-80 hours within its main story and side-character endeavors.

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” came out in 2014, so why talk about it now? Yes, it is the most recent Bioware title worthy of praise and recognition. The game was met with adoration by fans and critical acclaim, but even still, why discuss it now?

I recently finished a play-through of “Inquisition.” Smiling to myself as the end credits began to roll, drinking my hot cocoa with an abundance of marsh-mellows, I realized that I treat “Inquisition” differently than my other video games, and even, other forms of entertainment.

I am an avid reader and gamer. I have consumed an alarming amount of both art forms my entire life. Video games, though, are a special entity to me. I keep up with almost every modern, console game. I devour them with a full heart, and then I go preaching their immaculate stories and marvelous feats to others that truly don’t care and think I have a part of my brain missing.

For “Inquisition,” the game is out-of-date. It’s ancient history now. In terms of systematic technicalities—combat, quests, mobility, graphics of landscapes, facial animations—the game doesn’t age like the grandest wine.

In relation to its story and the characters within it: The game is infinite. It’s relevant. It holds a modern tongue in its discussion of politics, gender, sexuality, war, friendship, and faith.

After setting down the controller this past week, I concluded that “Inquisition” isn’t really a video game to me anymore. It’s become one of my favorite stories to listen to, again and again. I treat it as if I’m re-reading “Harry Potter” or “The Hobbit” or “Peter Pan.” And its manuscript of dialogue most definitely weighs more than I do.

Talk to a Dwarven author, an eventual long-lasting friend of your character’s, about his views of love and sacrifice. Talk to an ancient Elven mage about his dreams that last for days, and how nothing is more important than the spirit of a being, not their physical form.

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” was not made for the everyday gamer looking to blindly pull the trigger and run the level.

It’s a game for the loving reader who wants to delve into the modern discussions of the world but with the bonus of directing your own self through it. Plus, yes, there are dragons.

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