Dragon Age: Inquisition Demo Breakdown - PAX Prime

See my breakdown of the PAX Prime Single Player breakdown on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEVyQstI0Yw


"The Inquisition has a purpose your leader lacks. Join me."

A line from the Inquisitor herself, heard quite a few times during PAX Prime. Every single day, in fact, as Bioware showcased a live demo of the Fallow Mire, a location within Dragon Age: Inquisition that players can explore. In a ploy to draw and fight the Inquisitor, or the famed Herald of Andraste, the Avvar of the region kidnap some of the Inquisition's soldiers. In this side quest, it's your responsibility to find and rescue the soldiers.

Now, let's ease up a bit and give you a sense of the world at its present state. There is a consistent and constant struggle with both faith and identity. Many are at war within themselves, as the events of the Veil tearing have shaken many people, causing them to question their beliefs. So many who have spent their lives dedicated to the Chantry are uncertain what to believe. After the Elder One purposefully tore the Veil, as the Inquisitor put it "some kind of magic gone wrong", it's the Inquisitor's job to essentially "heal the world". Closing the rifts increases not only your power, but also raises your favor with the people and nations affected by the rifts throughout Thedas.

The Inquisition itself seems to have more influence. A good number of templars are present in the Inquisition, probably brought under the command of former Knight-Captain named Cullen. The Inquisition will have its start in Haven, the creepy town from Origins, but will move and expand to Skyhold shortly after the explosion.

Moving on to the Fallow Mire, a very desolate area, recently hit by a plague that caused all the villagers to die. As Cole put it, they died faster than the villagers could burn them...then, there was no one else left to burn". And thus, living corpses also walk the lands, especially hiding in the water.

The Inquisitor's accompanying party is Cole, Blackwall, and Solas. Cole, a mysterious yet kind blonde rogue. Karin Weekes says that "story short, he's a spirit". Personally recommend to read Dragon Age: Asunder for more insight into Cole and his demeanor. Blackwall, the Grey Warden warrior and former Warden-Constable, is also present. While the Avvar and the Inquisition's soldiers have called the Inquisitor the "Herald of Andraste", Blackwall is the first companion to acknowledge the Inquisitor as that title that we've seen so far. And last but certainly not least, Solas is the Elf in your journey that is rather mature and wise. A curious point made known by Editor Cori May is that half of Solas's lines are spoken in a strange rhythmic iambic pentameter that namely his voice actor Gareth David-Lloyd and Patrick Weekes know. Just an intriguing tidbit.

The companions will give advice during battle at certain times, like rushing to the castle and not bothering with idle enemies along the way. Of course, it's to your discretion whether to listen to them or not. But in the Fallow Mire, where there's a lot of open land and little cover, sometimes the suggestions are very helpful.

The quest involves the Inquisitor passing through eight different regions in the Fallow Mire. While you can choose any path you want to take, or skip the area entirely, the demo went this way:

  1. 1. Survive the corpses, spirits, and demons that try to kill the Inquisitor.
  2. 2. Find an Avvar guard and, with his help, destroy the Veil Rift he is guarding.
  3. 3. Find and unlock the gate to the upper Keep while fighting through groups of Avvar.
  4. 4. Slay the "Hand of Korth".
  5. 5. Decide whether or not to let the Avvar guard join the Inquisition.

In exploring the regions, if the party has a mage like Solas, Veilfire can be attained. The Veilfire can be used to find and light hidden runes which will reveal older messages or even ancient messages that need to be translated by your soldiers at a later point. Also, Veilfire can be used in a quest called "Beacons in the Dark." That area-specific quest involves summoning demons with Veilfire and destroying them.

Other than that quest, the Inquisitor can also complete "Holding the Mire" which consists of establishing two camps in the Mire. Camps in general will offer different amenities, like potion tables. Some objects in camp are area-specific, like the Soldier's Memorial that is present in the camp of the demo. The banner was raised in memory of a soldier who died to the beasts in the area. And if need be, the party can fast-travel from camp. These locations will increase the power and influence the Inquisitor and the Inquisition have.

As far as exploring the area, there is an ability that seems like a pulse scanner. Any character, Inquisitor or companion, can do it - it senses nearby items, doors, loot...anything that the present character can interact with. Works effectively for gathering herbs or looting enemy corpses that you may have missed.

Other than the seeking ability, each class has a specific ability. Mages have "Energize", an ability that lights a torch with Veilfire. While Energize is a mage-specific ability, these are namely used for exploration and side quests. Class-specific abilities will not affect the progression of the main quest. Further, because of it, you are not forced to bring a mage. Or a rogue. Or a warrior. However, in quests not part of the main branching story, you may encounter certain opportunities more favorable towards a certain class.

As far as combat abilities, Inquisitors have around 200 abilities to pick and choose from. Not much of the talent trees were shown during the demo; however, one specific combat ability showed itself during the fight with the Hand of Korth.

To preface this ability, the Inquisitor in this demo was a warrior. Not a mage. I'm inclined to believe this is a specific Inquisitor-ability.

At the top of the steps were two Avvar archers attacking the group. During the demo, the Inquisitor summoned a green cloud that resembled something similar to the Veil. Think the power of a singularity in Mass Effect. However, it was stationary. The dev playing the demo moved the camera away from this spherical fog, but the archers were dead and the cloud dissipated at the end of combat. 

I'm not completely sure what this ability was, but if one were able to tear the Fade during combat, who knows what other abilities only the Inquisitor has?

But then again, the main objective is to close those rifts. The Inquisitor's hand glows an extremely bright green when close to it. First time engaging the Rift will summon waves of demons from the Fade who will protect the Rift. The Rift itself will coagulate into crystals and will not be interactive until all the demons are dead. Once that happens, engaging the Rift a second time will remove and heal the tear.

The demo itself centered on showing off the combat gameplay, like jumping off ledges and taking fall damage (and by the way, you can swim and take damage from diving too deep into water). Rogues are extremely fast, and keep that speed while in stealth. Hell, something kind of silly is that even if you're in stealth standing right next to an enemy and breathing down their neck, they won't know any better. 

A few things listed on screen to pique your curiosity. Armor, items, different baubles and that sort of thing. Let's take care of the remaining questions and answers raised during the demo.

Friendly fire can be switched on or off in the options. 

There are no plans for local co-op for campaign. We can translate this into there's no local co-operative mode for the release. This also stands for multiplayer mode, as well.

While consoles will run rather well across PS4, Xbox One, and PC, draw distance and some graphics will need to be slightly decreased to work on the previous-gen consoles PS3 and Xbox 360. Frostbite 3 is an intense engine and will utilize the best on the current gen consoles.

Multiplayer combat is harder than single player combat. If you want to prepare for the hardest difficulties, best to do multiplayer first.

There will be no Mabari pet or companion; however, there is a War Nug mount.

What a hell of a way to end a panel breakdown. War Nugs. That's the end of this breakdown - thank you very much for watching. If you have any outstanding questions, please place it in the comments and let's talk about it. Don't forget to subscribe for more Dragon Age: Inquisition. Thanks for watching - my name is Ashe. Fen'harel enansal.