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Videogame: Dragon Age: Inquisition

"Faith lies in ashes. Our fragile alliances crumble to dust as this world is torn asunder. Darkness closes in. Will you stand against it, or lead this world to its bitter end?"

The third installment of the Dragon Age series by BioWare, which was released on November 18th, 2014 in North America and November 21st, 2014 in Europe for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes place across the lands of the Orlesian Empire, Ferelden, and the Dales, after the conclusion of Asunder, The Masked Empire and the Dragon Age II epilogue in 9:40 Dragon.

Instead of the Warden or Hawke, the player takes control of a new protagonist, the Inquisitor. Similar to Dragon Age: Origins, players can customize this hero's class, gender, and race (human, elf, dwarf or Qunari). After a cataclysmic event plunges Thedas into turmoil, the Sole Survivor of said event is tasked with rebuilding the ancient Inquisitionnote  and leading it to restore order and hunt down the agents of chaos, getting involved in the Mage-Templar war and the Orlesian Civil war along the way.

Inquisition features a multiplayer mode where up to four players can take control of agents of the Inquisition in randomly generated dungeons.

Previews: Official site, "The Fires Above" trailer, the Inquisitor trailer, "Lead Them or Fall" trailer, Post-E3 Demo, Pt.1, Post-E3 Demo, Pt. 2, "Enemy of Thedas" trailer, "The Hero of Thedas" trailer.

Spoilers for previous entries in the series will be UNMARKED.

The game provides examples of:

  • After Combat Recovery: Averted. For the first time in the series, your health doesn't automatically refill as soon as the fighting stops.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • The new combat system for dragons allows you to attack their limbs, much like Dragon's Dogma. The demo at E3 shows how taking out a leg causes the dragon to roar pitifully and start limping. The developers wanted to convey that while dragons are a vicious menace to society, they are still living creatures.
    • After killing Alexius, Dorian laments that a man who he used to greatly admire became so twisted.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Claim you're representing the Inquisition and a soldier outside of Redcliffe Village, who won't let you through, will counter with (paraphrased): "Sure, and I'm the empress of Orlais."
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Any decision that would result in a Lost Forever moment is clearly defined in-game.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The purpose of the original Inquisition, before it joined forces with the Chantry and became the Templars and Seekers of Truth. What path the new Inquisition follows depends on your choices (and the first brand-new companion announced is a mage advocate, although one that previously supported the Chantry and the Circle system before the Templar-Mage war broke out).
  • Anti-Poop Socking : The time needed for your agents to complete operations passes even while you aren't playing the game. Since these operations can take several hours to complete, this feature allows players to enjoy the game without having to spend too much time playing to complete the operations.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can recruit a total of nine companions, but as in previous entries, you can only have three companions join the active party at any given time.
  • Art Shift:
    • DAI is built on DICE's Frostbite, as opposed to the aging Eclipse Engine.
    • Elves were redesigned again, to look less human-with-pointy-ears than in Origins, but also less Anime-like than in Dragon Age II.
  • Ascended Meme: In the first two games, the player character would use the same small, plain-looking knife whenever a cutscene death was called for. Fans decided to lovingly refer to this always-reliable instrument of death as the 'murder knife.' And in Inquisition, you have to craft a particular knife in order to learn the Assassin specialization. Guess what this knife is called?
  • As the Good Book Says: The quests that deal directly with the Elder One are named after phrases from the Chant of Light.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: When the Herald becomes the Inquisitor at the start of the second act.
  • Bad Future: The Tevinter magister Alexius, who has hijacked the leadership of the rebel mages based in Ferelden, hurls you into one of these through a time-distorting Fade rift. It takes place solely within Redcliffe Castle, but it's enough to see what's happened everywhere: the castle is riddled with enormous growths of red lyrium, your two companions (besides Dorian, who time-travelled with you) are slowly dying from the red infection, and Leliana has been so horrifically mistreated by the Tevinters that she now appears to be a withered old woman. The inhabitants of this future make it clear that the Elder One's demon army has all but annihilated the civilizations of Thedas.
  • Badass Gay: Par for course with BioWare. Dorian (Tevinter mage) and Sera (elven archer) are both gay and both playable party members. They are joined by Iron Bull, the pansexual Ben-Hassrath.
    • There's also Krem, a transgender man and Iron Bull's lieutenant, though no sexual preference is explicitly stated.
  • Barbarian Tribe: There's a sidequest where the Inquisitor has to rescue some soldiers who were captured by Avvar barbarians. One of the Avvars, the Sky Herald, is a religious man who isn't too fond of what the other Avvars have done and can join the Inquisition if the Inquisitor closes a nearby Fade Rift for him.
  • Bears Are Bad News: As noted in several dev comments, bears are extremely dangerous, being responsible for a number of Total Party Kills among game testers. Great bears seem to be the size of Red Templar Behemoths, which themselves tower over normal humans.
  • Bee Bee Gun: It is possible to craft, upgrade, and utilize a "grenade" variety called "Jar of Bees". The final upgrade is "And Some Wasps".
  • Beef Gate: Though areas are open, most enemies won't scale to your level, making it hard to access a sub-region if you can't beat the monsters inhabiting it.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Inquisition features destructible environments. So, you can knock out supports of a bridge, causing it to collapse from under the archers standing on it, toppling pillars to create cover from ranged enemy attacks, or destroying cover the enemies themselves are using. Enemies can use this against you too though.
  • Body Horror:
    • Some of the Red Templars have been mutated by their use of Red Lyrium. These mutations range from having red lyrium protruding from them to becoming a behemoth that is barely recognizable as having once been human.
    • Some of the new demons were designed to be very viscerally disturbing.
  • Bonus Boss: Most dragons are endgame-level encounters and are not needed to complete the game, but killing dragons allows the player to get the best crafting materials in the game.
  • Boss Banter: Alexius taunts the Inquisition throughout his fight.
  • Broken Bridge: You won't be able to access an enemy castle, for example, unless you've first recruited enough forces through quests to lay siege.
  • Bullet Time: Haste, a Focus spell for mages, slows down time for your enemies while allowing your squad to move normally.
  • The Bus Came Back: Morrigan, Leliana and Cullen from previous Dragon Age games return to serve as allies of the Inquisition. The devs have also said the Warden, Alistair, Anora, Hawke, Anders and several other characters from earlier titles may appear, depending on your world state.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Inquisition introduces livestock called "druffalos" that strongly resemble bison, albeit with large fangs and dragonlike horns.
  • Call Back:
    • The Temple of Sacred Ashes from the first game returns as the site of a major peace summit. The Breach opens right on top of it.
    • In Origins, Sten comments that people cannot simply be summarized like "The elves are a lithe, pointy eared people who excel at poverty." This game's character selection process contains this: "Elves are a historically oppressed people, distinguishable by their pointed ears and lithe frames."
    • There's an entire line of missions on the war map related to Varric using Inquisition resources to track down the author publishing the knockoff Hard in Hightown 2 books that he potentially found in Mark of the Assassin.
    • Apparently Charade, Gamlen's daughter, is one of the Friends of Red Jenny.
    • If you bring Varric along to the fight with Corypheus in Dragon Age II's "Legacy" DLC, he eventually remarks "If he pulls a dragon out of his ass, I'm done." If you use the Guardian of Mythal against Corypheus in this game and bring Varric along for the final boss, after the Guardian goes down, Varric asks the Inquisitor if s/he has another dragon to pull out of his or her ass.
    • During the quest "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts" players of the Mark of the Assassin DLC may recognize the bizarre clown-assassins as Harlequins, members of an elite unit of the Orlesian military. This is one of the hints that the plot against Celene is orchestrated by a noble, as is the fact that a servant encounters one while searching Florianne's rooms.
  • Chain Pain: Warriors now have the option to yank opponents towards them using chains.
    • Rogues can gain the ability to yank themselves towards opponents this way, too.
  • Character Customization: And now you can change the inner and outer iris colors.
  • Civil War: The ongoing Mage and Templar War, an upheaval in Orlais foreshadowed in II and Asunder, and potential elf rebellion.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: While the actual gameplay is slanted heavily towards combat, the title organization has equal access to all three modes of expanding its influence, with an Adviser attached to each one: Cullen oversees military operations, Josephine takes care of diplomatic efforts, and Leliana keeps the shadowy enterprises running.
  • The Conspiracy: The Inquisition is resurrected to get to the bottom of the claims that a shadowy conspiracy is behind the political strife preceding Inquisition's demonic invasion.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: During the mission to rescue Inquisition soldiers from the Avvars in the Fallow Mire, you come across a seemingly endless horde of undead. If you spend too long fighting them, your companions will urge you to press forward to the Avvars.
  • Cool Chair: One of the bonuses you get for the Deluxe Edition of the game is a throne made out of a dragon's skull.
  • Cool Helmet:
    • A staple of Dragon Age's High Fantasy settings.
    • The Inquisitor's heavy armor helmet is styled to look like a dragon wrapping around their head.
  • Cool Sword:
    • A wide variety of ornate or otherwise nifty looking one and two handed swords are available for your party to find.
    • The Red Templars wield glowing red swords that bear a disturbing resemblance to Meredith's red lyrium sword from the previous game. The Red Templar Archers also get similar looking bows, which bear a slight resemblance to Irvine's demonic one from Berserk.
    • You can coat your swords with oils or magics to give them special effects.
  • Coop Multiplayer: The multiplayer mode is similar to the one found in Mass Effect 3: rank-and-file agents of the Inquisition are sent in groups of four to Randomly Generated Levels to fight off waves of enemies, gaining levels and equipment. Unlike in ME3, however, the multiplayer has no impact on the single-player experience.
  • Covers Always Lie: A very minor example. The Anchor that empowers the Inquisitor is on their left hand, not their right.
  • Crapsack World: A cataclysmic event has plunged the entire continent into turmoil, dragons are darkening the skies, and the Mage-Templar War is now just one of many wars that have claimed countless lives.
    • The World Is Just Awesome: Yet, in spite of all of that, one of the trailers has this from the Inquisitor to the audience, saying that the Inquisition's mission will have them traveling across the lands to many different places, both beautiful, dangerous, ancient, while showing images of various beautiful places to show the audience that yes, for all of the darkness and cynicism in the series, there are things in Thedas that are worth saving.
  • Cult: The Venatori are a Tevinter cult that reveres the Elder One and opposes the Inquisition.
  • Darkest Hour: At the end of the first act, when Haven is destroyed by the Elder One.
  • Defector from Decadence / Cultural Cringe: Dorian leaves the Tevinter Imperium due to disillusionment with his country's moral decay (The Imperium is known and criticized for practicing slavery and values greed as an admirable trait).
  • Deployable Cover: New spells can create walls of ice and fire that your party can hide behind.
  • Dialogue During Gameplay: Party banter returns and is interactive this time around.
  • Downer Ending: One of the bad endings has the demons winning the war.
  • Driving Question: What is the identity of the Hidden Villain and who is responsible for the tears in the Veil?
  • During the War:
    • The game takes place during the Mage-Templar War that began in the final chapters of DA2.
    • As of Asunder and The Masked Empire, an Orlesian civil war and an elven uprising to boot.
  • Dysfunction Junction: This is a BioWare game. Naturally, your Player Party has more issues than the DSM-5.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The world must unite to stop a demonic invasion from the Fade, or die.
  • Enemy Civil War: The schism between the Seekers, the Templars and the Chantry, following the dissolution of the Nevarran Accord in Asunder. The "enemy" part varies based on your character's position.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dorian's mentor, Alexius, seems like a rather nasty magister, but he loves his son and is furious when Leliana kills him.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Lampshaded beautifully by Varric while admiring the scenery in the Emerald Graves:
    Varric: Ah, the wilds of Thedas. Lush, beautiful and full of things that want to eat you.
  • Evil Chancellor: The King of Nevarra's most trusted advisor just happens to be a Venatori spy. You can send one of your advisors to put a stop to his schemes.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While Cassandra is talking to the Herald about the need for an Inquisitor to lead them, they're going up the steps of Skyhold's battlements... where the Herald is greeted by Leliana holding an ornate sword, prompting the Herald to look right and see the organized crowd below.
    • While you're meeting with Alexius and discussing his interest in your magical mark the various Venatori warriors that are quite visibly lurking in the background getting ready to ambush you are murdered by your own Inquisition agents, and Alexius doesn't notice until he tries ordering the ambush to be sprung.
  • Fame Gate: By doing sidequests and exploring, you increase the influence of the Inquisition, unlocking main story missions upon reaching certain fame levels.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: As in previous Dragon Age games, the three base classes are Warrior (like Cassandra), Mage (like Vivienne) and Rogue (like Varric).
  • Flaming Sword: Like in the previous games, you can wield one.
  • Flash Step: The Fade Step spell creates invisible waves of magic that pushes the caster ahead a short distance at a blur.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Cassandra has "Hard in Hightown 2" next to her maps.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Dorian's personal quest has a known issue where it may not trigger for some players. While this may be a minor one for most players, those that want to pursue a romance with him are less than thrilled.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The "Enemy of Thedas" trailer features a Dalish mage with glowing purple eyes whose magic is strong enough to knock both Morrigan and the Inquisitor back.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Hawke has been shown in trailers fighting alongside the Inquisitor and their party.
    • This is actually a major element, with more than just Hawke doing it, with everyone from Dorian, to Allistar, to multiple members of your army.
  • Guide Dang It: The solution to the Orlesian civil war can be altered by bad dialog choices to your companions before what seems to be the choice point. Ironically this actually isn't explained in the guide.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: A Bioware tradition. The first gameplay demo shows the Inquisitor deciding whether their soldiers should stay with the wounded, protect the nearby village of Crestwood, or push an assault on the attacking Red Templars. The Inquisitor picks the last one - and Crestwood is burned to the ground by the time they return.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A female Dwarf Inquisitor who romances the Iron Bull. A female Elf counts for different reasons - while taller, she's thin and waifish, whereas the dwarves are short and stout all around.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • It is possible for a male Inquisitor to flirt with Cullen in two conversations, though Cullen is attracted to women and thus can only be romanced by a female Inquisitor. The first time, Cullen merely thinks the Inquisitor is being nice. He figures it out the second time, though, and says that he would value his friendship, but is afraid he cannot offer more, and he trusts the male Inquisitor will understand.
    • It is possible for a male Inquisitor to flirt with Sera in one conversation, but Sera, who is attracted to women, will scoff and say "Not even!"
    • It is possible for a female Inquisitor to flirt with Cassandra, who is only interested in men.
      • Sera is attracted to Cassandra, though of course the feeling isn't mutual and Cassandra actually finds Sera rather annoying as well as of the wrong gender.
    • It is possible for a female Inquisitor to flirt with Dorian, who is also only interested in men.
      • Dorian displays some attraction to Cullen, though he understands that he is uninterested.
  • Isometric Projection: Not technically isometric, but definitely a throwback to the isometric view in Baldur's Gate, the (PC-only) tactical overhead view from Origins returns in Inquisition for all platforms.
  • Hell Gate: The Breach; a tear in the Veil that separates the Fade and the mundane realm, opens in the sky, allowing demons and other monstrosities to invade.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Like in the previous game, there is an option to make the headgear worn by the Inquisitor invisible to better show off the player's personal face customization. Played with similarly to the last game in that the helmet's stats and defense still apply, meaning the player will still want to wear a helmet at all times.
  • Horseback Heroism: Inquisition features mounts for the first time in the series.
  • Hidden Villain: The Inquisitor has a single, equal adversary working against them from the shadows.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the main story quests are named after stanzas from the Chant of Light.
  • An Interior Decorator Is You: Many of the customization items you can acquire for Skyhold are purely cosmetic.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Sera considers Cole to be an "it" and refuses to speak to "it."
  • Killer Rabbit: A farmer in the Hinterlands asks the Inquisitor to retrieve his pet ram, Lord Woosley, who has given the farmer's family good advice for generations. Attacking Lord Woolsley causes him to turn into a rage demon.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    The Elder One: Bow before your new God, and be spared.
  • Laser Blade: The Knight Enchanter specialization allows mages to use these.
  • Last Name Basis: Everyone calls the Inquisitor by their surname.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A few times, usually via banter. Of particular note is Cassandra complaining to Varric that he always puts his characters through undeserved hell, and she wishes he'd hand out some happy endings. Varric points out that he does this (and regularly kills off characters) because happy, peaceful lives make for boring stories. Meanwhile, the player of this Bioware game can probably sympathise with Cassandra quite a bit... especially if you're anywhere near the Sadistic Choice involving Hawke in the Fade.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: According to Varric, this is what the Qunari said when they took away the Dreadnought wreck in Kirkwall. He thinks it is the closest thing to an apology they can give.
  • Level Scaling: Averted. Most enemies have fixed levels throughout the game.
  • Lighter and Softer: In a truly bizarre case, yes. After the relentlessly cynical Dragon Age II, this game is way more idealistic. Your party members are generally nicer, both to you and to each other, the mages and Templars have both been humbled a bit after years of war, and the Chantry looks like it's starting to learn from its mistakes. And, best of all, the color palette is much more vibrant.
  • Limit Break: Focus Abilities are exceptionally powerful spells and skills that can only be used through teamwork, building up over time as your party coordinates attacks and brings down enemies. Inquisition Perks can be spent to gain more focus bars, which is spent all at once to make the abilities more powerful. A character's Focus Ability is determined by their specialization.
    • The Inquisitornote : Mark of the Rift. Causes damage in a large area and can banish demons outright.
    • Templar: Rally. All party members gain guard, additional mana/stamina regeneration, and damage resistance for fifteen seconds. Additional focus improves the effect.
    • Champion: Counterstrike. The user draws the attention of all enemies, gains full guard, and automatically counters all melee attacks. Additional focus lengthens the duration.
    • Reaver: The user attacks faster, causes more damage per hit, and absorbs enemy health for ten seconds. Additional focus increases the effect.
    • Assassin: Cloak of Shadows. All party members are made invisible for a set amount of time. Additional focus lengthens the duration.
    • Tempest: Thousand Cuts. A target and any other enemies surrounding it are attacked many times. Each hit strikes for three hundred percent of a normal attack. Additional focus increases the number of hits.
    • Artificer: Hail of Arrows. Any archery ability is used twice at once for a set amount of time. Additional focus increases the duration.
    • Knight Enchanter: Resurgence. All party members, both conscious and KO'd, are fully healed and a glyph is placed that continues to heal all party members within it every second for ten seconds. Additional focus increases the amount healed by the glyph.
    • Necromancer: Haste. Increases the party's speed by eighty-five percent. Displayed as the rest of the world being slowed while the party moves normally. Additional focus increases the duration.
    • Rift Mage: Firestorm. Rains flaming meteors over a six meter radius. Each individual meteor causes a hundred-fifty percent of a normal attack. Additional focus increases the number of meteors.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: If Alistair is king of Ferelden and the Inquisitor saves the mages, Alistair gets a cameo in which he meets his mother, Grand Enchanter Fiona, but she can't say anything and he has no clue. On a lesser note from that scene, his old friend Leliana doesn't get involved in the resulting confrontation.
  • Lost Forever: As in the previous games, your choices may "close some doors forever".
  • Magic Knight: The first Prestige Class announced for mages is "Knight-Enchanter".
    Description: Wrapped in protective magics and wielding blades of arcane force, the Knight Enchanters are rare, but inspiring sights as they lead the charge into enemy ranks.
  • Mage Tower: If you ally with the mage rebellion, you can build a tower for the mages at Skyhold.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Played With.
    • Averted with the War Table mechanic. Inquisition power is split between three departments: Forces (Military), Secrets (Spies), and Connections (Diplomacy). The three Advisors in charge of these departments will ask the Inquisitor for clearance to send their subordinates on missions which suit their skills (although most missions can be completed by any department, some are more efficient than others). There's a massive number of missions in the game that the main characters never even have to touch.
    • Played straight with the in-game map areas. The Inquisitor and his Companions do everything here, including raiding keeps and forts, saving villages, performing random petty deeds, and fighting dragons and demons. Sometimes this is unavoidable (Fade Rifts can only be closed by the Inquisitor), but sometimes it's downright silly (the Inquisitor could send a small company or group of agents to deliver flowers to a grave site or look for a lost pet—there is no credible reason s/he would need to waste their own time personally).
  • Mama Bear: Provided she was romanced in the first game, Morrigan turns out to be one.
  • The Marvelous Deer: One of the cool mounts included in the Deluxe Edition is a "red hart" (incorrectly listed as a Dalish halla early on).
  • Masquerade Ball: One will feature in the Orlais civil war arc.
  • Moment Killer: Several romances include people walking in on private moments. Cullen even manages to resurrect one moment after it gets stabbed.
  • Mook Maker: Fade Rifts constantly summon demons until the Inquisitor closes them.
  • Multinational Team: The Free Marches, Nevarra, Orlais, Ferelden, Antiva and Tevinter are represented in the Inquisition.
  • Multi-Platform: The game's target platforms are the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox360, with the PC version getting controls optimization for keyboard and mouse, like Origins.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: A more literal example than most, as the online Keep is used rather than directly importing saves from the older titles, which allows players to tailor the major events of the first two games to their liking.
    • If the Inquisitor is from a human noble family, in one optional conversation with Josephine, Josephine will ask the Inquisitor if the Inquisition could take advantage of his/her noble lineage to gain allies, and will ask about the Inquisitor's relationship with his/her parents. The Inquisitor can give multiple answers, from their parents trusting them, to not being in their good graces, etc.
      • Human mages have an optional conversation with Vivienne where they can discuss what their life was like in the Circle prior to the mage rebellion.
    • A qunari inquisitor can discuss their views on the qun - which they were raised outside of - as well as their involvement in mercenary work including any particularly impressive jobs they completed.
    • A dwarf inquisitor can say whether or not they believe in the dwarven religion, whether or not they've been to Orzammar, what their job for the carta was, and whether or not they miss that work.
    • A Dalish inquisitor can vary in their belief in Dalish gods, whether or not they enjoyed the Dalish life in the wild, what they feel the best path of the Dalish should be and their opinions in general of humans and whether they are angered by humans treatment of elves.
  • Mythology Gag: Plenty, of course. For example:
    • There's a ladder with the phrase "Can I get you a ladder to get off my back?" scratched into it, which was a notoriously annoying battle quote for a violent voiced warden in Dragon Age: Origins
    • Another example occurs when Iron Bull complains about the taste of the concoctions the healer of his mercenary company makes. Said healer reminds him that they are poultices and therefore not meant to be drunk (which is what your party members did with them in Dragon Age: Origins.
    • When talking about the events at the grand ball the Empress of Orlais threw, Dorian remarks, "I hope you tried the ham they were serving. It tasted of despair. Fascinating." The ham also gets a mention in Party Banter when Varric and Blackwall compare the worst things they've ever eaten.
  • Nay-Theist: According to Bioware, the restored Inqusition is strictly separate from the Chantry and will even have some anti-Chantry policies.
  • Neck Snap/Murderous Thighs: Leliana uses her legs to break the neck of her Venatori torturer.
  • Nice Hat: Apart from the Inquisitor's signature helmets, it seems that absolutely badass cowboy hats will also be equippable. Vivienne has a Maleficent-style horned hat (a welcome change from previous mage headgear).
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Some decisions you make can cause you to lose the game without falling in battle.
  • Noodle Incident: Several throughout the game.
    • You are advised to flee if you spot Leliana with a ball of twine, a measuring stick, and a handkerchief.
    • Leliana tells you it's not a party until someone's undergarments end up nailed to a chantry board. Actually a Call Back to Leliana's Song.
    • Sera might as well be the Anthropomorphic Personification of Noodle Incident. Nearly every time anyone mentions or speaks to her one of these comes up.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Redcliffe Castle gets taken over by the Venatori and, like in Origins, you're tasked with reclaiming it.
    • The entire Winter Palace section is a salute to the fancy-party-plus-murder-spree Mark of the Assassin DLC from Dragon Age II - which in itself was probably inspired by Mass Effect 2's Stolen Memories DLC.
  • Old Save Bonus: Seems to be averted for the first time in the series, but in an unusual way. Dragon Age Keep, a web application that allows players to replicate their old world states for import to eighth-gen consoles, has manual input as the default method of world state creations (though it does try to salvage as much data as it can if you uploaded your DA player profiles to any of the Origin services earlier). Since everyone can use DAK, those who jump into the series at Inquisition and choose to customize their backstory won't be at a disadvantage compared to those who recreate their personal world state from the previous games (unlike in Mass Effect 3).
  • Opening the Sandbox: After a certain event, you gain the ability to explore Ferelden and Orlais.
  • The Order: The Inquisition, an organization formed to restore order and root out conspiracy.
  • Order Reborn: The original Inquisition was disbanded nearly a thousand years ago.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Inquisition introduces giants to Thedas, and they are bigger indeed. They're at least twenty five feet tall, Iron Bull barely reaching their shins, have huge tusks, and only one eye. Likely the first time players will see one is on the Storm Coast, where they find it fighting a high dragon... and the dragon running away. Not surprisingly, they are yet another entry on the list of hostile creatures.
  • Pair the Spares: If both are unromanced, the Iron Bull and Dorian will begin a relationship.
  • Papa Wolf: A rare villainous example with Magister Alexius - everything he does in the game is intended to save his son's life.
  • Party in My Pocket: Party members disappear when the Inquisitor is mounted and re-appear when the Inquisitor dismounts.
  • Party of Representatives: The party members embody various viewpoints and have differing levels of investment in certain issues, as discussed here.
  • Playable Epilogue: You can continue to explore the world after you complete the main questline.
  • Player Headquarters:
    • The Inquisition's headquarters, Skyhold, is a central area where the player can speak to their companions, similar to the party camp in Origins. The fortress is also customizable to some degree, similar to Admiral Anderson's apartment on the Citadel in ME3. The Inquisition gains other fortresses as the story progresses.
    • The Village of Haven serves as the Inquisition's temporary headquarters until the player gains control of Skyhold.
  • Player Party: As in the previous titles, you can switch control to any member of your current party at will.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Unlike in the previous games, you can travel quickly between known places even on the local map of the area, simply by selecting your destination—which is probably due to the sheer size of outdoor levels.
  • The Power of Friendship: Focus is a resource that is built up in combat through teamwork and allows the party to use powerful abilities such as the game's only true healing spell.
  • Power-Up Mount: You can now ride horses to get around areas faster.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: The Flames of the Inquisition DLC, which includes weapons, gear and an armoured horse.
  • Prestige Class: This time around, each character can only have one specialization, but it will have more effect on the story. Each companion has a set specialization that matches those available to the player.
    • Templar is a Warrior specialization that focuses on damaging magical enemies and inspiring the party. Cassandra is a Templar.
    • Champion is a Warrior specialization that focuses on controlling the battlefield and protecting the party. Blackwall is a Champion.
    • Reaver is a Warrior specialization that focuses on causing more damage as they take more damage. Iron Bull is a Reaver.
    • Assassin is a Rogue specialization that focuses on spike damage and avoiding enemy attacks. Cole is an Assassin.
    • Tempest is a Rogue specialization that focuses on enhancing their abilities with unique potions and strengthening their ability to use items. Sera is a Tempest.
    • Artificer is a Rogue specialization that focuses on laying traps to damage the enemy and disrupt their movement. Varric is an Artificar.
    • Knight Enchanter is a Mage specialization that focuses on close-quarters combat and protecting the party. Vivienne is a Knight Enchanter.
    • Necromancer is a Mage specialization that focuses on terrorizing enemies and controlling the dead. Dorian is a Necromancer.
    • Rift Mage is a mage specialization that focuses on damaging and weakening enemies while controlling the battlefield. Solas is a Rift Mage.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Hawke appears in the Enemy of Thedas trailer, helping the Inquisition fight a giant demonic spider. You will be able to customize Hawke's appearance and personality.
  • Psycho Strings: The Elder One's theme.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: You are tasked with reuniting the factions of the ancient order that helped end the previous magic wars.
  • A Quest Giver Is You: As the Inquisitor, you can send rank-and-file agents of your organization on missions (presumably, the same agents and similar missions as seen in the Coop Multiplayer). This is in addition to Player Party members who also work for the Inquisition but instead fight alongside the Inquisitor in normal gameplay.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: For some party members, some pieces of their wardrobe always remain the same, like Cassandra's trenchcoat-like garments. However nothing stops you from putting a metal head on top of a robe-wearing mage if the helm doesn't forbid mages from using it.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted for the first time in the series. Every area is rendered in full, vibrant colors with plenty of light. A good comparison is Redcliffe, which is so completely unrecognizable as a quaint mountain hamlet surrounded by flowering gardens, fields, and the shimmering water of Lake Calenhad that the player may actually forget this is the very same "brown town" they saved way back in Origins.
  • Relationship Values: The approval/disapproval system returns, however the approval bar is now invisible to the player. The player is not told how many points are added or removed from a companion's approval bar, only that a companion approved or disapproved of the player's actions, with vague descriptors like "slightly" or "greatly" added for particularly small or large changes (though it's unknown if each corresponds to a given value, or if they cover a range).
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Templars and Mages fighting in the Hinterlands are the lunatic fringe of both groups that refused to withdraw with their respective factions and randomly attack almost everyone. The main groups are more than happy to leave you to deal with them.
  • Romance Sidequest: Various romance options for your main character are available, as in the previous games. Indeed, developers have confirmed eight love interests, more romance options than any previous Dragon Age game. From the beginning, Cassandra and Blackwall are straight, Josephine is bisexual, Iron Bull is pansexual, Sera and Dorian are gay, and all six are available regardless of race. When the developers got extra time, Cullen was made romancable by female humans and elves, and Solas was made available to female elves.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • During Iron Bull's personal mission on the Storm Coast, the Inquisitor has to decide between two options. On the one hand, you can save the Dreadnought carrying Qunari soldiers, solidifying an alliance with the Qunari and Iron Bull's place within it at the cost of his mercenary group's lives. Or they could sound the retreat for the mercenaries, scuttle the alliance, get Iron Bull branded as Tal-Vashoth, and allowing the Dreadnought to be blown apart by Tevinter forces.
    • During the Warden arc, you have to give either a major Grey Warden character - Stroud / Alistair / Loghain - or Hawke an "I'll hold them off" moment. The Warden feels guilty on behalf of their Order's actions, Hawke for not finishing Corypheus.
    • Heck, even earlier than that. Mages or Templars? Whoever you don't choose? Goes to The Elder One!
    • There's another example that only applies if you imported a save from the Keep in which Sebastian was recruited but Anders was kept alive instead of executed. During a War Table mission, Sebastian gathers his forces in Starkhaven and launches an invasion of Kirkwall to annex it (off-screen, you learn this in the summary of the mission). You're given a choice between either sending Leliana's forces to help Sebastian's forces annex Kirkwall, or sending Cullen's forces to help Guard-Captain Aveline repel the invasion. The sadistic choice is between either supporting Aveline or supporting Sebastian, both of whom were companions in the previous game, though that depends on how one feels about Sebastian.
  • Secret Test of Character: Although the scene near the game's end sets itself up as a Sadistic Choice for the player to make (similar to Iron Bull's earlier), Morrigan answers in a heartbeat that she's willing to lay her life on the line in exchange for the safety of her son from Flemeth. It also gets lampshaded immediately after, with the character that was tested being unsure whether they'd passed or failed it.
  • Sequel Escalation: The inqusition will be building up forces like in Origins, but with Orlais thrown into the mix.
  • Sequel Hook: As Dragon Age is meant to be a long-spanning series and not the end of the trilogy, this obviously won't be the last game. Corypheus and his elder god both die in the final battle, but after the endgame and the credits Solas is revealed to be Fen'Harel and working with Flemeth for an unknown goal, with Flemeth possibly possessing his body at the end for her own purposes...or Solas absorbing Flemeth's powers for his own purposes. It's kinda vague.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: In the same vein as the Cerberus Guardians in ME3. This emphasizes party teamwork - you can't punch through the shields even with magic, so you need to flank or disarm them.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: In-Universe; Word of God says that "Hard in Hightown 2", the book next to Cassandra's maps, is an unauthorized sequel to Varric's original. The book had previously appeared in Varric's companion specific sidequest in Mark of the Assassin, where he was furious to discover someone ripping off his work, leading him to collect all the copies he could find at Chateau Haine so he could burn them.
    • And it appears that Volume Three has cropped up in Kirkwall and elsewhere as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Krem's stories of previous jobs with the Iron Bull is about "me, him and five other guys" defending a village from bandits and being paid in rice, a nod to Seven Samurai.
    • The codex entry for the Orlesian city of Serault refers to its glassworks "with beauty all but the sunless see". Sunless Sea is a game made by Fail Better Games who also made Dragon Age: The Last Court which takes place in Serault.
    • One of Cole's cryptic comments?
    Cole: He teaches them to fight with a secret flaw, part of a glorious strategy.
    • Cole makes a lot of shout outs to Bioware own works and movies. He references Revan and Soylent Green for example.
    • The Plants Vs Corpses in Crestwood.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Originally announced as Dragon Age III: Inquisition, the III was eventually dropped from the title, due to the transition to next generation consoles. Plus, DAIIII as the abbreviation probably would have been awkward.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: According to party banter with Varric and Solas, humans like to blow stuff up and generally make a mess of things. The remnants of the Conclave where the Breach opened also resembles a nuclear strike.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Any standing water that goes above the chest forces the Inquisitor and the party to a safer area a few steps back.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Knight Enchanter Prestige Class drew many comparisons from fans as being the substitute for the Arcane Warriors from Origins. Solas actually confirms in game that the Circle based the Knight Enchanter magic on the Arcane Warrior.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Ferelden gets a third evil swamp: the Fallow Mire was ravaged by a plague and the plague's victims have risen as undead.
  • Tarot Motifs: The party member selection screen consists of a deck of tarot cards modeled off of the party members. Each party member's card is based off of one of the major arcana.
    • The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition includes an actual tarot deck as one of its contents, which will presumably use the same imagery and expand on it for the cards not already represented by the party members.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Red lyrium returns, only this time an entire order of Templars has dug it up to use. True to form, it grants them immense power, at the cost of horrifying mutations and mass deportation from the lands of rationality.
  • Trap Master: The Artificer specialization for Rogues.
    "Intricate mechanisms are the core of the artificer’s craft: deadly traps; distracting contraptions; marvels of engineering turned to deadly purpose. If an artificer is standing at the far end of a seemingly innocuous stretch of the battlefield, you should find another path."
  • Twenty Bear Asses: One of the early quests involves hunting Rams for their meat to cook to feed hungry refugees. You need at least ten whole carcasses.
  • Unicorn: The Deluxe Edition includes a "Bog Unicorn" mount, which is just an undead horse with a sword through its head.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The Hidden Villain is deliberately prolonging the various wars for their own benefit. Case in point, the Breach opens right on top of a peace summit for the Mage-Templar War.
  • War Is Hell: Many characters are scarred by the events of the civil war. The first trailer shows the world on the verge of collapse, with a shell-shocked Varric standing amidst a field of dead in Crestwood.
  • The War Room: Skyhold has one, complete with war table. The war table allows you to manage the Inquisition's operations: side quests that you send your agents to take care of.
  • The War Sequence: One region is so thoroughly under enemy control that you have to send in your army to deal with it.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The Multiplayer characters all have a small selection of lines and reactions to others' lines. A very small selection.
  • Where Is Your X Now?:
    The Elder One: Tell me: Where is your Maker now? Call him. Call down his wrath upon me. You cannot, for he does not exist!
  • Wham Line: The Stinger:
    Flemeth: You should not have given your orb to Corypheus, Dread Wolf.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: High dragons are able to generate strong winds by flapping their wings while on the ground, pushing away melee characters and deflecting projectiles and spells.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The launch trailer shows vistas of Thedas to a wispy, ethereal cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."

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alternative title(s): Dragon Age III Inquisition
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