Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Multiplayer Is An Unexpected Treat

Originally, Inquisition’s online multiplayer started out as its own standalone game. During the development of Dragon Age II, BioWare used the Frostbite 3 engine to create codename “Blackfoot”. Although never released, the co-op dungeon-crawling experiment lives on through the series’ latest instalment.

Running parallel to the events of the singleplayer campaign, Inquisition’s online component allows players to take on a series of covert missions. As one of twelve unique characters, you will rally together in groups of four, tackling numerous objectives while raking in experience points, gold, and loot. In many ways it feels exactly the same as Inquisition’s solo portion and even works in more complex elements such as crafting.

There is one obvious difference, however. Instead of controlling an entire ragtag squad, you will slip into the mantle of a single agent, customising them to your own liking. To start off, there are only three options available, including the Legionnaire, Archer, and Keeper (read: Warriors, Rogue, and Mage) with the rest being greyed out. You’ll no doubt feel a pang of disappointment to begin with though working towards unlocking the remaining agents is one of the multiplayer’s biggest incentives.

In terms of actual gameplay, Inquisition remains identical whether playing online or off. The only major change is that everything is done in real time with no pausing, doing away with many of the campaign’s tactical overlays. It’s a change of pace, sure, though one that is absolutely necessary in multiplayer.

After being matched with three other agents, you’ll be deployed to one of Inquisition’s three multi-tier co-op dungeons, taking players to locales such as Tevinter and Orlais. Each dungeon is divided into five zones that harbour their own objectives, from escorting messengers and gathering supplies to taking down assigned targets. In truth, we would like to have seen a bit more variety. After a few hours of continuous play, things soon start to become repetitive due to the limited number of objectives, tilesets and enemy types.

Then there is also the grind to consider. Levelling up isn’t an excruciating process, though gathering loot can be a real slog. Unless you’re constantly switching between agents, you’ll always have your eyes on very specific pieces of gear suited to your character. For instance magic-users naturally have no use for greatswords or plate mail, meaning these items are immediately recycled. Although these unwanted goods can be salvaged for materials, it’s a drawn-out process.

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In true EA fashion, there are shortcuts available – for a price, of course. Whether desperate for loot or looking to top up your supply of potions, a few quid will net you a healthy stash of goodies instantly. It’s not unlike the free-to-play business model we see being used for games on mobile and tablet, albeit without the added perks such as daily log-in rewards and the such. What is also a shame is that cold hard cash can’t be used to straight up buy locked characters – you still need to gather all the required materials.

Parallels can certainly be drawn between Inquisition’s online co-op and that found in BioWare’s last AAA hit, Mass Effect 3. Both successfully manage to rework their core mechanics to suit a multiplayer environment, even if the execution is slightly ham-fisted. Aside from that there is the presence of micro-transactions and, more importantly, room for expansion.

Log into Mass Effect 3 today and you’ll see plenty of new free content to play around with. From bonus characters and equipment to maps and enemies, BioWare continued to build on what many thought a superfluous add-on. Let’s just hope Dragon Age: Inquisition gets the same treatment.

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11 Comments

  1. Cheers for the info, Jim. Quick question: can I choose friends as opposed to it just being matched with some random folk?

    • You can set up private matches on PS4. I’d presume its the same across formats.

      • Ah, lovely. I already have Hanny and Connor on the PC version (same as me) so that’s three of us in the same party. Will give it a go soon. Cheers, fella. :-)

  2. Sounds really interesting but i can’t see myself leaving the single player for quite a long time yet.
    Fantastic game so far

  3. I think I’ll be ready to give it a go in about 3 months time. The main game has me completely addicted. It’s just too enormous. Even a simple sidequest can take ages because I keep getting distracted by other things on the way. And those bloody shards! I thought they were just some annoying collectible thing. But no, there’s a reason for them. And now I’m going to spend far too long finding the things.

    The only problem I’m finding is that I might be becoming a bit overpowered for the main story quests. Levelling up too much doing all the other stuff on the way. I just can’t leave half a map unexplored.

    So maybe multiplayer starting from scratch might be fun. Anyone wanting a go sometime, fire off a friend request to MrYd and we can sort something out soon. Assuming the PSN sends the message in a reasonable time. And you don’t just send blank friend requests because I get too many of those and they’re kind of creepy.

    • I agree with everything you’ve said there. 10hrs in and i’m still messing around in Hinterland, having been nowhere else. It suddenly dawned on me last night, after around 6hrs game time, how big this is game world will actually be.

      • That one area has more to do than the whole of DA2. It’s the little quests that don’t just then get forgotten. NPCs won’t just disappear afterwards, some of them are still wandering about and might say things. Or new sidequests appear. And I also found a lesbian picnic, which was slightly unexpected and just stuck in there as if it was completely normal. Which it is, obviously.

    • Completely addicted to it here as well, fella. Both Hannypoppie (my SO) and I are hammering Inquisition. It’s been superb so far. So glad you’re enjoying it.

      • Here here. Apparently hinterlands is bigger than all areas of da:o and da2 combined!

        Have clocked up over 30 hours so far (not sure how). The more you explore the more massive and amazing it seems. The Coast is my favourite area so far. Majestic!

  4. I gave the co-op mode a go yesterday. It’s a fun little distraction with random people. Only problem is, the network code seems horribly broken. And by “horribly” I mean “totally broken and doesn’t work at all, ever”.

    And by “ever” I mean “once you’ve played it once”. I can get into a game quickly (which is a bonus, no hanging around waiting for it to find a game), play it fine, get the rewards at the end, and then it stops working. Every single time. Until I quit the game and restart it.

    Although in such a massive game, it’s impressive that I’ve only had that one problem. And the random message saying that I’ve entered a blocked scene and recording has stopped. And then started again 3 seconds later.

    Just a shame 1 of those 2 problems is trivial and not really an issue, and the other is completely breaks a whole part of the game.

  5. Absolutely loving the single player, so much happening in the war room. would love to get into the multiplayer a bit, if anyone wants to add me please feel free quite happy to play multiplayer.

    on PS4 – PSN id : PaladinEagle

    just mentioned TSA in the message field so I don’t reject.

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