We here at OnlySP are incredibly excited for the upcoming onslaught of games coming this October. A lot of those games include sequels that are bridging the gap from PS3/Xbox 360 to PS4/Xbox One. So, we decided that we would take a look at the difference certain details between those games, from the last generation to the current gen.

This is The Next Generation Difference.

For our first Next Gen Difference article, we decided to focus on BioWare’s epic fantasy RPG series Dragon Age. Dragon Age: Origins was released in 2009 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC while Dragon Age 2 was released in March 2011. The next game will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC in October of this year. We’re going to take a look at elements of the game and compare them to each other. While some of the differences should be plain to see, it’s always good to focus on the minor details too. Let’s begin.

| Equipment

Dragon Age: Origins

The first screenshots are from Dragon Age: Origins. The textures are rather blurry in parts but there are elements of detail that show off how the clothing is creased, shiny or even furry in places. The faces meanwhile, are a big step up from the clothing. While not overly impressive, they’re a step beyond the typical cartoonish faces of Oblivion, which was was released 3 years previously. With variations on leanness , wrinkles and complexion, there is a strong variety of different characters here.


Dragon Age 2

A major step up from Dragon Age: Origin’s detail, 2 boasts a significant upgrade in both the variety of armor and the material used in the game. From sturdy leather to white iron to hefty chainmail, the armors are ultimately more detailed and are certainly more stylish than DA:O. In terms of the faces, a different artistic approach has been chosen than Origins, opting for a rather more caricature effect which can certainly lead to a broader range of emotions. While some may view it as a step down, it can help to accentuate the emotions of characters in a scene.

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

Dragon Age 3 : Inquisition shows off a mighty spectrum of armor/clothing in the media screenshots. From the brilliant sheen of the sun hitting iron armor to the wind rippling the cloth of an elf standing in a field, the level of detail is certainly breathtaking. Meanwhile, the faces of the game are also incredibly detailed. Moving on from Dragon Age 2, Inquisition seems to focus on a much more realistic approach, similar to Origins. From the grim weather-beaten face of a solider standing at attention to the elegantly simple face of a lady elf, there is a wide selection of faces here that demonstrate a huge variety in the characters you could create in this game. Simply put, the jump from facial, clothing and armor textures for DA:O to DA3 is magnificent. It’s hard not to make graphical comparisons to Skyrim but DA3’s level of detail is on a whole different level to the 2011 RPG with tonnes of tiny details in the armor and clothing helping making the game even more realised than ever before.


| Environment

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins has great environments. Thanks to some wonderful art direction, each area looks unique and has a distinct flair to it, despite the often choppy visuals that present them.

Dragon Age 2

Definitely not as imaginative or even as original as Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2’s environments were a bit of a sore spot for gamers as they often regarded them as bland and boring locations that suffered from copy and paste. Arguably, a major step down from Dragon Age: Origins.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

A vast and sprawling land that is as distinctive as it is beautiful, Dragon Age: Inquisition’s landscape is full of incredible locations that vary from your typical fantasy woodland to an almost demonic volcanic location. Instead of just showing you some screenshots, why not take a look at the trailer below that showcases the environment in a truly breathtaking fashion.


| Combat

Dragon Age: Origins
Combat in the Dragon Age: Origins was deliberately slow, allowing for a pause feature where you can take control of each character and set up commands to take down enemies or buff your companions. Another combat style was the “real time” combat where you control your character and the AI controls your companions. It’s a very tactically minded style of combat.

Dragon Age 2
The combat in Dragon Age 2 is considered to be much faster and more stylish but has been “dumbed down” and turned into something more akin to button mashing. The tactical view was completely removed in Dragon Age 2. The lack of tactical planning for DA2 is considered one of the worst parts of the game.

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Promising to fix the issues of Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition will focus more on player preparation, timing and the ability to form a cohesive team with party members. Button mashing isn’t the key to victorious battles, it’s tactical thinking. The tactical view returns for DA: Inquisition after being left out in Dragon Age 2.

Here’s a great video showing the growth of combat of Dragon Age: Inquisition from 1 and 2.

Here’s some gameplay of the combat of Dragon Age: Inquisition from E3 2014


| Exploration

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins allowed you to go wherever you wished for the most part, as a majority of the places are open to explore. You can go to any location you wish in the game but the storyline is very linear in terms of progression.There is a different design to each location, which includes cities, villages, snowy mountains and forests.

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 opts for the more “Mass Effect” style of game exploration; where you chose from a city hub where to go next. Unfortunately, in terms of exploration, this was severely lacking in fluidity, which lead to the environments becoming overused and feeling stale or repetitive. The city of Kirkwall is the main hub and you explore different parts of the city along with locations like the beach and the mountains. Fans were incredibly upset with the copy and paste feel of the locations.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

A big focus on DA: I is exploration. As you take on the role of The Inquisitor, you must explore the land, stumble upon surprises and take quests to aid or hinder those around you. A key focus for DA: I is to attempt to balance the mix between a strong story and open exploration. The game is set to focus on the open world mannerisms of The Elder Scroll series, particularly Skyrim, but it is not hoping to perfectly mimic the exact same open world feel of these games. There are promises that no more environments will be re-used like in Dragon Age 2. Players gain influence over the world by capturing keeps or forts in the area, which can help unlock previously blocked sections of the world, granting access to new side-quests and missions.


 

So that about covers Dragon Age for The Next Gen Difference. There are certainly going to be major improvements in both the graphics and storytelling for Dragon Age: Inquisition but it also seems that the game will look back to the previous titles and repackage their best features=. On top of all that, open world exploration is a major new focus point and there’s even more exploring to be done thanks to the largest levels yet.

Dragon Age: Inquisition looks to be one of the biggest and most enthralling games for the PS4 and Xbox One this year and we can’t wait to see it in action this October.

Be sure to check back very soon for another Next Gen Difference. Got a game you’d like to see covered? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nathan Hughes
Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/OnlySP_Nathan) for more nonsense.

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2 Comments

  1. Some of the Skyrim PC mods look stunning – Almost (but not quite) photo real on stills. I doubt this generation of consoles will get that good in their lifetime. It will take proper next gen games to show off the power of the Xbox One and PS4 though rather than these upscaled last gen games

  2. I have both Origins and 2, and Inquisition looks amazing and breathtaking can’t wait to play it.

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