Bioware is known for excellent storytelling, and Mass Effect 3 does NOT disappoint. At it’s core the Mass Effect trilogy is all about heroism, family, and adventure. While other RPGs have made the promise of a “branching story line” based on player decision, none have come close to the level of complexity that the the Mass Effect franchise actually achieves. By now you’ve heard how it works, as the player progresses through the narrative he/she is forced to make a number of difficult game-changing decisions. I would venture to say that almost everyone that has played Mass Effect has had a slightly different experience, and that’s just incredible.
I was a colossal fan of Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer and really felt like the folks at BioWare created a truly memorable cooperative experience with almost endless replayability. When I got wind that Dragon Age: Inquisiton would have cooperative multiplayer I was instantly excited and intrigued. Scott and I made our way down to the Microsoft booth during media hour (just a few moments ago) to give Dragon Age: Inquisition Multiplayer a shot. The four player cooperative experience was just announced a few days ago and the idea of running around Thedas with friends causing trouble sounded appealing to say the least.
DA:I Multiplayer will launch with twelve unique characters, which we discovered today will all each have their own personalities and backstories. We were also informed that there will be many many more on the way. The three big archetypes (warrior, mage, and rogue) will be present, but each playable character will be different and will have unique abilities and skills to unlock. For instance there will be both a necromancer and fire mage each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Hands On: Our party began within the elven ruins, during my initial session I was assigned Tamar, the Reaver. Tamar was the largest of the four characters and was wielding an impressive looking double bladed axe. Within a few moments of clicking around on the Xbox: One controller I had the basics down. Tamar had four abilities which I was told would be customizable upon release; meaning that the buttons and abilities could be remapped based on player preference. By pressing “B” Tamar would enter into a defensive stance that slowly drained stamina. This defensive stance would block and counter enemy attacks with an impressive looking knockdown strike. I was elated to see the addition of this mechanic, which really added to the technique and strategy of playing Tamar. Timing was key, and getting a block off just in the nick of time felt very satisfying. Also in her arsenal were an AOE aura, mighty blow, and the reaver’s signature life draining attack. I’m fully aware that I likely named these attacks incorrectly, but I’m writing this from the roof of the convention center while dodging bird poop and praying for WiFi.
Our party made our way through the Elven ruins map cutting down wave after wave of enemy Templars. After each brief encounter we scoured the area for gold and goodies and were each given our fair share of the plunder. Some rooms were locked and needed the Assassin’s lock picking ability to gain entry. Most of the locked rooms we entered contained an extra wave of enemies and others just had piles of gold ready for pick up. Even our team of tired journalist strangers was able to eventually make our way to the final boss, a red lyrium infected Templar powerhouse. Sadly, we didn’t quite take him down, but definitely did our best.
The combat itself was fast and, most importantly, VERY fun. All of the abilities of Tamar (the Reaver) and Argent (the Assassin) had beautiful animation and purpose on the battlefield. Like Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, I have a feeling that DA:I multiplayer will be best played with friends who don’t mind chatting over their headsets and working as team.
Rest easy internet, Dragon Age: Inquisition multiplayer is a very satisfying cooperative experience that manages somehow to not lose any of the magic that made Dragon Age so special.