Having spent a little over 100 hours playing through Bioware’s latest RPG epic, I can say that Dragon Age: Inquisition is a seriously ambitious attempt to merge character-based storytelling and open-world exploration. As a purely narrative achievement, it’s less successful than its predecessors: the open-world gameplay tends to dilute narrative urgency, and—since the player-character opens the game with no existing ties and no solid contextual grounding—many of the choices the player gets to make during the narrative end up feeling as though they lack heft and meaning. They lack actual weight, since the writing never quite sells, on an emotional level, why any of those choices really matter.
But for all my complaints about its narrative effectiveness—and niggling irritations about gameplay and display, I mean seriously the font size and that menu screen—Dragon Age: Inquisition does at least two things that are the next best thing to revolutionary. And those two things primed me to love it, even despite its flaws.