I Went to the Hinterlands…

This post contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition, up until the immediate aftermath of the quest ‘In Your Heart Shall Burn’.

I booted up Dragon Age with high levels of anticipation, which were only made worse by the fact that my Xbox wanted to install the game, delaying my start time by a further half an hour or so. Then, to make matters worse, there was the business of The Keep, the website that EA/Bioware are using to allow you to carry over your choices from the previous games, or build a tapestry of choices if you’ve never played before. What’s the point of playing Inquisition without taking the choices of my previous games with me? That’s over 80 hours of gameplay, it has to come with me. Most importantly, Alistair has to be alive and well, and married to my Warden.

Obligatory 'he is King of Everything' caption.
He is King of Everything INCLUDING MY HEART.

I saw that The Keep had picked up on my Dragon Age II Hawke, so that was all well and good. But then after that was done, of course I had to spend at least another fifteen minutes or so getting my character’s look just right.

But after all of the setup, finally it was finally time to dive into the game! Varric! Did they make his chest hair more majestic? Oh my, is that a hole in the sky? And what’s all this about a war room and missions? It was all pretty exciting and all peppered with long chats with my associates, which is where I think Dragon Age is really at its best.

Seriously, it's snowing and your shirt front is non-existent!
Seriously, it’s snowing and your shirt front is non-existent!

Then my character was dropped in the Hinterlands and if I thought it was joyful before, now it was even better. It was like… Skyrim in a way. A huge map (true, restricted in its own way but still pretty damn big for a Dragon Age game), a full party and quest markers galore.

But this is both a blessing and a curse, and it started to take on a worryingly Warcraft-like feel after I looked up at the clock and realised that a good five hours in the Hinterlands had passed and all I had gotten were more quest markers. Every time I looked through a skull: five more markers on the map. Every time I investigated something: it turned out to be a letter or object pointing to another quest marker. All rifts had to be closed, all camps had to be settled, all shards had to be collected.

I sat there contemplating why it was suddenly so dark outside and why my stomach was rumbling so much and what exactly I had been doing for all that time:

  • Chased down some Templars. Took back a ring. Delivered ring back to grieving widow. Chased down more Templars who were camping out somewhere.
  • Chased down some apostates who were hiding in a cave. Chased down more apostates who were hiding in another cave. What is with apostates and caves?
  • Escorted a lost Druffalo, sorted out some wolves, hunted some ram, killed a nug by accident and felt bad (also annoyed that it didn’t give me anything).
  • Collected lots of little shards. Solved one-line constellation puzzles and all I got was some lousy object in a cave.
  • Closed lots of rifts. Found that the hummmmmmmmmm whoooosh KABOOM doesn’t get old.
    Harvested a lot of herbs, looted lots of chests, shamelessly looted lots of bodies.
  • Returned to cave previously full of apostates and destroyed a red lyrium vein which I could have sworn wasn’t there before.
  • Came to the gradual realisation that I had been unwittingly grinding and as the so-called Herald of Andraste, should probably be focusing on the higher mission of sealing the breach and saving the world, rather than fetching things, looting, and endlessly running across fields before realising that it was probably easier to just summon the horse.

I was back on track after that, not getting too bogged down in completing Every Single Quest right that minute for the sake of having a beautifully clear map. It was time to progress the actual story. More joy!


After about twenty hours of gameplay, the Big Bad Reveal happened, Haven was destroyed and I got a fricking castle! A really, really huge castle! Running around Skyhold was great fun, and then to make things even better, Hawke showed up. But wait… Why was she talking about Anders as if he’s dead? Hawke and Anders ran off together into the sunset at the end of my main Dragon Age II playthrough… Sure, they still had their issues to work out but still…

It was back to The Keep, and back to a horrifying revelation. The Keep had picked up my Hawke’s name, but, as the giant yellow warning at the top of the screen said, it didn’t import my save from my previous game. With a dawning sense of cold realisation, I looked deeper, discovered my own stupidity and found that the choices in Dragon Age II in the Keep, the ones that had contributed to formulating my Inquisition game, were wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. So I did the only thing that I could do.

I scuppered twenty-one hours of gameplay. I fixed the choices and started over again, deleting my previous save for good measure.

And I still spent the first five hours in the Hinterlands clearing those damn quest markers!







One response to “I Went to the Hinterlands…”

  1. John Brown avatar
    John Brown

    So… the big question for me is, do I buy and play DA2 on my 360 before getting DA: Inquisition for the ONE? If I don’t am I missing out on a bunch o’ stuff?

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