Dragon Age: Inquisition has four person co-op multiplayer, which is a hell of a departure for a traditionally single-player series. But if Mass Effect can do it, why can’t Dragon Age?
Dragon Age: Inquisition’s multiplayer is a separate mode to the single-player campaign, so you can rest easy on that front if you’re a purist.
It takes the form of large, randomly generated maps designed for 20 to 30 minute play sessions, with players battling through five checkpoints with specific victory conditions. There’s no tactical pausing – it’s all real time – so you’ll really want to know your role in the party and be good at it. The idea is to strip the Dragon Age experience down to the loot cycle basics – battling, customising characters, getting more and more powerful. It sounds like a nice break from the story-heavy, 200 hour plus campaign.
There will be three environments available at launch – Elven Ruins, Tevinter and an Orlesian Palace – and more will be added later. The random generation means you ought not to have to repeat the same mission very often.
You’ll play as a hero working for the Inquisitor, rather than bringing your Inquisitor to battle. This maintains the illusion that there is only one Inquisitor – yours – rather than breaking your immersion. Although there won’t be dialogue choices, there is a sort of narrative and heroes will banter among themselves. There will be nine available at launch – three mages, three rogues, and three warriors.
According to IGN, the multiplayer mode has some similarities to that seen in Mass Effect 3, in that there’s an economy in which players earn points towards random unlock packs – but the site says Inquisition’s take is much deeper.
BioWare plans to support the service with lots of DLC, including new heroes and levels – but all of it will be free, just as in Mass Effect 3. After each battle, you’ll earn gold you can use to unlock chests of random goodies – and like Mass Effect 3, if you can’t be bothered waiting, you can use real world money to buy chests. If BioWare holds to the same design ethos as Mass Effect 3, and spending money won’t give you much of an advantage; you won’t be able to buy individual items.
I really, really liked Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer; I never felt I needed or wanted to spend money, and yet I sunk hours into it and felt competitive with players who spent loads. Dragon Age’s multiplayer will probably be harder, as you can’t play a party RPG the same way you’d play a shooter, but I’m pretty keen to give it a shot.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming to PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in November.