Like fish in an enthusiastic aquarium, fans are gobbling up the small flakes of information on Dragon Age 4 showing up on the surface of the internet. While most things remain, understandably, under metaphorical lock and key, one of these claims disrupted the community more than others. According to Daily Sun Knoxville, one of the most integral playable characters in DA4 would be none other than the templar Cullen. It’s important to note that Daily Sun Knoxville may not be an entirely reputable source—I mean, if this was a typical leak, it’s weird that no other news outlets appear to have the same information, especially big gaming outlets like Polygon or Kotaku. The legitimacy of the rumor aside, it did spark a discussion worth having within the community. From where I stand, it only makes sense that Cullen found his way from minor NPC to party member over the course of the four games. However, like many other fans, I find the emphasis on Cullen to be worrisome, especially given the narrative’s unsympathetic treatment of the fantastical minorities in Inquisition.
As someone who isn’t very religious and who’s had very few positive interactions with religion, I always get a little bit worried when it takes a significant role in the media I consume. That same worry filled me in Mass Effect: Andromeda when I began speaking with one of my crewmates, namely the science officer aboard the Tempest, Dr. Suvi Anwar. As I continued interacting with her, I was pleased to find that her character wasn’t limited to being “the religious one”, and that she found joy in the fact that she and my Ryder both had differing opinions on spirituality and the prevalence of religion—a mindset that is often sadly lacking in real life. I left my first Andromeda experience feeling like Bioware really stepped up the nuance in their conversations concerning religion and spirituality, but as the game’s plot twists ruminated in my mind, I came to the conclusion that Bioware and their stories still have a huge problem with avoiding exploring and accepting other religions outside of the Christianity “norm”.
Spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition beneath the cut.
Before my hiatus, I managed to play the latest and last DLC from Dragon Age: Inquisition (which is more like saying I sat in front of my computer reloading the downloads until I could purchase it on the day it released). “Trespasser” was advertised not only as answering one of the bigger questions that the ending of the main game lef, but also finally showing the player some of the political, and otherwise, ramifications of their inquisition. Was “Trespasser” everything the player-base was wishing for? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s exactly what I was wishing for.
Between late 2012 and early 2014, in what was undoubtedly one of the best ideas ever (right up there with Kinder Surprise Eggs and the bendy straw), the Bioware gods saw fit to create an original Dragon Age comic series. The three-part comic miniseries stars characters from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, as well as several original supporting characters, and follows King Alistair of Ferelden and a few new friends of his on a quest to find his father, who is missing and had been presumed dead.
Accompanying Alistair (who featured prominently in Origins) are Varric Tethras and Isabela, who were companions/party members in Dragon Age II. The trio follows a trail of clues through Thedas to help Alistair in his quest, becoming caught up in the centuries-old Tevinter-Qunari conflict and getting trapped in the magical limbo known as the Fade. In addition to the familiar characters and settings, the series introduces several new people and places and expands on the world already established in the games. While the plot and characters are definitely more appealing to someone who is already at least somewhat familiar with Dragon Age, the storytelling and art are solid, and it is not strictly necessary to have played all the games or played all of them in their entirety to follow the plot.
Spoilers for the whole Dragon Age comic series under the jump!
This is one of the last lines uttered by the Inquisitor at the end of Bioware’s newest DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, “The Descent”. Where last time’s DLC took us to the high cliffs of the Frostback Mountains, this time the Inquisitor and crew head deep, deep underground to Orzammar’s Deep Roads—the place where all the darkspawn hang out and where Grey Wardens go to die, if you remember from the first game. After playing through the I-don’t-know-how-long DLC (probably around four hours if you’re sticking to story missions) I, too, have more questions than answers, least of all being “why doesn’t Bioware know how to make good DLC anymore?”
Spoilers for the entire DLC under the cut.
Late to the party as usual, I recently started playing a little game called Dragon Age: Inquisition, a stellar endeavor in videogame storytelling, and a goddamn work of art as far as I’m concerned. Also, it has butts. In my play through I opted to romance Dorian, the gay necromancer from Tevinter, but I then learned to my delight that had I not opted to romance Dorian, he would have begun a background romance storyline with a massive, intimidating Qunari mercenary called the Iron Bull. I found this aspect of the story both hilarious and charming, but after discussing it with my lunchtime friend, Dillon from Goldburgers, he remarked blithely, “that is definitely some kind of bestiality.”
This statement perplexed me a bit. Sure, Qunari aren’t human and have some distinctly un-human features, but they’re far from the first or the most exotic humanoid fictional race to acceptably get it on with humans. Even people who have never seen Star Trek know that Captain James T. Kirk has banged no shortage of space babes. In virtually every high fantasy novel, some human or other gets into it with some elf or other. Why does no one think of these human/non-human relationships as bestiality? In the context of non-human but sentient races, what defines bestiality, and does the concept even apply? Which people may we acceptably bang and why may we bang those people and not others? These are the real questions.
Though not the fan-anticipated “Egg Hunt”, Bioware surprised players of Dragon Age: Inquisition this week by releasing the game’s first DLC, The Jaws of Hakkon, on Tuesday for Xbox One and PC (sorry, other systems!). What makes this release surprising is that Hakkon was released with absolutely no promotion, save for a teaser image that came out one day before its release. I’m not exactly sure why Bioware chose to do this, but the buzz and hype this move created seems to have been worth it: I doubt there’s a DA fan out there who isn’t aware by this point. However, people have been speculating on the quality of the DLC itself, which bears a fifteen dollar price tag. Personally, I think this speculation is deserved. Within both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises, some DLCs just haven’t necessarily met the bar on the price they asked for. Fifteen dollars is a lot to be asking for on a DLC that no one knows anything about outside of an image and, as of this morning, a trailer.
This doesn’t answer the question of whether or not the DLC is worth the price of admission. Well, for some it might. As for my opinions on it, whether or not to buy it lies solely in what drives you as a player.
Spoilers for The Jaws of Hakkon and DA:I under the cut.
Two months after my last Dragon Age post, I arrive for my triumphant return to the series. However, for those of you who may have been hoping for some thoughts on Inquisition now that I’ve had ample time to finish a run-through or two (or… just one as the case may be) will sadly remain waiting. Now, while I am an enthusiast of external media of this series in the form of books and comics, I’m not avidly collecting them. My friend, however, is, and it just so happened that I visited her this week. So when I say that we watched the 2012 film Dawn of the Seeker, I’m blaming the occurrence entirely on her. On the whole, Dragon Age maintains a pretty good—or at least decent—quality of media across the board. In my opinion, this film barely reaches mediocre. This frustrates me greatly because Dawn of the Seeker contains part of the backstory of one queen badass and lover of romance novels, Cassandra Pentaghast. The film even does her justice, but the story just ends up being a mess.
I’m sure some of you have heard the superstition “breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck”. Do you know where the sentiment originally came from? Apparently, back in the time of the Roman Empire, it was believed that “life renewed itself every seven years, and that breaking a mirror would thus cause damage to the soul it was reflecting at the time.” This mentality has stuck with us as it seems that the state of one’s soul is most commonly entwined with mythos about mirrors in fiction. While a mirror can sometimes trap a soul, I think one of the more interesting interpretations are when mirrors are used to show one’s inner desires, as well as how those desires can lead to one’s downfall.
Spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition under the cut. Continue reading
Despite being barely further in Dragon Age: Inquisition than I was when I wrote my last article, I felt it would have been strange to end the month with a post about another series. Instead of the video games, though, today I’m going to talk about one of the books. Indeed, many people may not even be aware that there are Dragon Age books. As of now, there are four—with various receptions from the fanbase—and I’ve only read one. The first one: The Stolen Throne. Always hungry for more information on the DA universe, I leapt at the chance to read this firsthand account of the events that lead up to the Battle of River Dane and how the groundwork was laid for the eventual liberation of Ferelden from Orlais. And I wasn’t disappointed. The book provided an interesting, compelling adventure through areas familiar from the first game (Dragon Age: Origins) while providing fantastic character arcs, but the more I thought on it, the more obvious it became that this novel, both early in the DA universe timeline and the franchise’s life, reflected some problematic elements present in Origins, and to an extent, the other two Dragon Age games.
Spoilers under the cut. Continue reading