Ah those bloody mask wearing pseudo-Frenchists…
When you play an RPG, especially a Bioware RPG, you expect to solve the world’s problems. All of the problems are belong to you. As the Inquisitor, you have to solve a doozy. Orlais’ (the Thedas equivalent of France) civil war, between the empress and her brother. In the meantime, they, like their real French inspirations, have surrendered, this time to demons and rebels. Sigh.
Your first visit to the Exalted Plains, where the Orlesian civil has been hammering the populace is pretty freaky. Undead and demons roam the plains, packs of wolves are running around picking off the vulnerable and defenceless. All the settlements are smouldering ruins of what used to be beautiful houses along the riverside. Even the soldiers still alive are all exhausted, hungry and tired of the war between siblings.
Then, you go to the Winter Palace and everyone in attendance of the ball is dressed up in fancy gowns and worried about keeping up their appearances whileplaying The Grand Game. You know what? I’m with Sera and Blackwall. Screw the nobility and their stupid wars. What about the people you’re supposed to be governing? Obviously the war has to end one way or another, but I kind of wish that the stuff going on in the Exalted Plains played a more integral part of the story, with some proper mention on the ballroom floor.
On the flip side, I really enjoyed the diversion of going to the ball, not for the fancy dress ups or even the court intrigue. It was solving the mystery of who would be insane enough to bring chaos and destruction upon the country, and even to be able to have a hand in guiding the leaders to an amicable peace. It was even a nice to have a break in the combat, not because it’s boring and repetitive, but because the change in pace is refreshing. More importantly, after your adventures at the ball, you might get this cutscene as a reward.
I just love this game. Serious at the right moments, funny at the most unexpected times, but always asking the question of what you believe, and hold to be the most important.
Join me next time, for more adventures in Thedas!