One of my favorite things about reading is taking in the descriptions of a writer and letting the place and characters come to life in my own mind, allowing for a more personal bond with the material. As such, I have a weakness for text based games which stems back to a fondness for MUDs back in high school and college–shut up, I’m old. Dragon Age: The Last Court is not a MUD, but reading the descriptions and characters brings back fond memories of getting to imagine game worlds instead of having shiny graphics present them to me.
Created by Failbetter Games and tied to Dragon Age Keep, The Last Court is a free-to-play game which takes the player to Serault, a marquisate in western Orlais. While Serault is renowned for its glasswork, it is a pariah state due to not only its remote location, but the actions of a former Marquis referred to as “The Shame.” The player takes control of the marquisate, as either a Huntress (female) or a Scholar (male), and is tasked with managing the resources of their territory economically, politically, and militarily. Choices made in trying to balance, or gain more, resources have consequences for the player, their allies, and the marquisate. In making decisions, players spend action points, of which a player is allotted twenty, which once spent will replenish over time. For those lacking patience, there is the option to spend “real world” currency to refill ones action points more quickly.
For a free-to-play game, The Last Court doesn’t feel restrictive in terms of the limits set by action expenditure. I haven’t come across anything which resembles a pay wall and I feel like I am getting a decent amount of play time in before the points are spent. That the game is browser based is also a nice touch, not that I mind downloading apps, but having a game I can pick up easily on any device without having to do constant updates, or worry about memory, is a rare treat. The UI is clean and easy to follow, though I recommend playing on a tablet, desktop, or something with a larger screen for ease of button pushing—I fumbled a bit on my iPhone, but that could just be me and my clumsy fingers.
The Last Court can be enjoyed by anyone on its own merits as Serault is a fresh spin on a familiar Dragon Age tune with its own quirks and intricacies. There are colorful characters, such as well-read pig farmers and obnoxious barons, and new settings, to include a mysterious sealed Chantry and an expansive forestland. Fans of the previous games will certainly find a special bit of intrigue tied to the larger world they will face in the forthcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition. I haven’t ventured in more than a couple hours and already I’ve come across two cameos by characters from previous installations, which brought a smile to my face to say the least.
For players looking for a fun resource management game to occupy their time, I highly recommend The Last Court. For those eagerly awaiting the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition—e.g. just about everyone I know— and looking for a good text based game, The Last Court is an excellent way to spend time getting lost in Thedas while waiting for the clock to hit midnight on November 18th.