Forget slaying dragons, or saving the world of Thedas from darkspawn. Lets talk about some of the saucier scenes in the new Dragon Age.
After playing through a good chunk of Inquisition, and after writing about a great sex scene last week, I thought I'd take the time to share more of the romance and sex scenes in Dragon Age. Some are good, if not outright hilarious. Some are a tad cringeworthy. But overall, it seems like Bioware has improved their approach to romance in games a bit.
If you don't want to be spoiled on this NSFW content, please stop reading now!
There are nine companions in Dragon Age: Inquisition -- as in, characters you can recruit and use in battle. Only six of these characters are romantically available to the player: Blackwall the Warden, Cassandra the seeker, Dorian the mage, Iron Bull the Qunari, Sera the prankster elf, and Solas the apostate. However, those aren't the only people that the player can romance. Two advisers are also available: Cullen the templar, and Josephine, the diplomat. Each character has their own preference, both in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of race. Certain characters won't become interested in you if you're a dwarf, for example -- which is kind of unfair, but that's how the game is. F inally, there are some flings that the player can pursue outside of these core characters, too. Lets go through them one by one, shall we?
Lets start with the scene we already highlighted last month, which was uploaded to YouTube by DestinStrider. After watching through all the sex scenes in Inquisition, I have no problem calling this the best one -- though I recognise that people may feel differently, depending on who they grow fond of during the course of the game. Still, there's something about this scene that shines. Here's what I originally said last month:
I love that this isn't a sex scene at all -- but it's totally the sort of situation that happens in real life. Sometimes, people walk in on you while you're having sex. There's awkwardness, or sometimes, if it's a friend, there are jokes. That's what makes this scene so great, it feels human -- at least, when compared to most attempts at showing sex in triple-A games.
I guess this sort of gives us more clues about the eternal question: would [insert Bioware protagonist here] be a top or bottom, too.
Finally, is it just me, or is this the sort of thing Mass Effect would never dare to do? And people ask me why I like Dragon Age better.
In other news, I appreciate the fact that Iron Bull isn't picky. You can romance him regardless of race or gender. He's into it! I also love that, if you don't romance Iron Bull yourself, the Dragon Age Wiki says he will develop a romance with Dorian. Dorian! You know, the character that he constantly bickers with, should you have both of them in your party? Dorian, the character that comes from a land that the Qunari are constantly at war with? Talk about scandalous.
Given that Cassandra really loves her trashy romance novels, it might not be a surprise to know that you can romance her, too -- at least, if you're a male Inquisitor. The sex scene you can have with her is kind of saccharine, what with the poetry reading and all that. But, she sort of makes fun of it too.
What I find interesting here is that afterwards, she talks to you about how she'll be remembered. When I think of Cassandra, I think badass -- someone on Twitter recently told me that at the start of the game, it's hard not to feel as if she's the real protagonist of the story, and you're just someone who is along for the ride. So the idea she could go down in history as someone else's lover -- that she could be defined by your romance -- kind of bums me out.
I flirted with Cassandra once during my playthrough, and later actually went with someone else. Funnily enough, Cassandra asked me about my budding romance with a different character, seemingly out of jealousy. The fact characters will respond to your romances with other characters is neat, no?
Thanks for uploading the clip, pimpboy 3000.
Blackwall is such a broody man, it's only appropriate that his romance scene would be this dramatic, too. While I don't know if its intentional, I love the initial awkwardness of your drink with Blackwall. And later, after you do the deed with him, you see this ridiculousness:
What a pose!
Don't worry, though. This isn't the last time you get to see Blackwall, should you play your cards right. And in case you're wondering: Blackwall is available to all female Inquisitors.
Thanks for uploading the clip, PainOfQueens.
Let's look at a more lighthearted sex scene in Dragon Age. I tried to romance Sera in my game as a male Inquisitor, and she shot me down in funny way. She said something to the effect of, but we have so much in common! Loving women, for instance.
Sera might not be the most romantic partner, but that's ok. It means her scene can't seem overwrought. Your relationship with her is defined by hijinks -- there's a part in the game where you can take part in an series of pranks with her. That she would be the sort of person that giggles tons during/after sex doesn't just feel right, it feels human. Sex isn't always serious! Really, it can be hilarious. Bodies are weird, man.
Two things I love about this scene: Sera reveals that the Inquisitor shaves, and the entire reason she sleeps with you is because the idea of Vivienne's puckering arse is the best thing to her. Oh my god. (Though I'm not sure that Vivienne's arse exists in any other state.)
I can't believe they play the Sera Was Never during that scene, too:
It's a song that your bard will sing after you get to Skyhold. Thing is, the bard sings it to flirt with Sera, and if you read a note written by Sera, you find out that this weirds Sera out.
Finally, I think it's worth noting that, according to the Dragon Age wiki, Sera is the first female character in Dragon Age that can be romanced only by other women. In the past, women in Dragon Age games are either straight, or they're bisexual.
Thanks for uploading the clip, CasualGamesHD.
Given that we were just talking about Vivienne, lets look at her 'romance scene' in Dragon Age, too. Actually...you can't woo her. If you try to flirt with her, she shuts you down, hard. It's great -- not just because it's a gnarly burn, but because it reinforces the idea that these characters aren't just here as a prize for the player. Companions can have sex lives outside of you, they can be interested in other people. You are not the center of the world.
I haven't gotten to know Vivienne that well during my playthrough, but she did talk to me about how she is someone else's mistress. She's so matter-of-fact about it, that the revelation felt shocking to me. But I also hadn't considered how the love lives of mages might be different than other people in Thedas, either.
Thanks for uploading the clip, Naughty Gaming.
Sassy, sassy Dorian. Romancing him seems like a lot of fun, assuming you're playing as a dude and you don't mind someone who is very confident about himself. Still, I can't help but cringe at the line that asks the Inquisitor how bad they want to be, or the line where Dorian asks if the player wants to "inquisit" them again. Augh.
I gotta give Dorian props, though. Dat butt:
Really, everything about Dorian is, uh, sculpted. I can't decide if this is stereotypical or not.
Anyway, Dorian's description of homosexual romance in Tevinter is interesting. Homosexuality there is widely accepted, but only as a diversion. Romance is seen as more taboo. This makes the "do you make things serious between you and Dorian" choice a bit more interesting.
Given that I can't stop seeing Billy Corgan whenever I look at Solas, the idea of romancing him is...hard to imagine. But you totally can -- at least, if you're playing as a female elf. Then you get the pleasure of seeing Solas repeatedly shake his head after you try to make out with him. Did I mention that you're actually making out with him during a dream? Maybe I shouldn't make that distinction, though. Solas does like to talk about how there's not much of a difference between the waking world and the fade.
While I'm disappointed we don't get to see Cullen only wearing his feather boa/pauldron thing while naked, I appreciate that the scene following the fade to black shows the female Inquisitor fully robed. That's unusual, I feel like I see more post-coital scenes in media where women are naked, or at least topless, but the men are covered (or the game/movie/etc never shows their genitals). I also enjoy how they both totally just throw everything off the table before getting down to business. Yeah, you don't need that lyrium bottle, Cullen!
More seriously, I like that there's a moment of vulnerability here: you see Cullen having a nightmare. It makes Cullen seem human.
Josephine strikes me as the most innocent romance out of all the major characters. If you try to romance her, she always seems flustered, and sometimes brushes it off. If you keep pursuing her, Leliana steps in, and threatens you -- she's very protective of Josephine, since Josephine is one of Leliana's few friends. Josephine gets defensive about being called an innocent, but...she kind of is. Look at the way she lifts her leg mid-makeout:
What a cutie you are, Scribbles.
In addition to this, one of Josephine's personal missions requires you to elevate a rival Orlesian family to noble status. In order to seal the deal, you have to offer a noble something of value to a different noble, who can sponsor the Josephine's rivals. To my knowledge, you can offer anything you'd like -- the noble will take it. But one of the options is offering yourself, which leads to this scene:
I can't get over this silly pose that the Inquisitor takes while trying to seduce the noble:
What a goof. She probably only sleeps with you because you might be Jesus or something.
You can flirt with Scout Harding...
And you can even get Cullen to bet all of his clothes in a game of cards:
There is a lot of romance in Dragon Age for you to pursue -- and the scenes highlighted here aren't the end of your relationship with the people in Inquisition, either. That's good, because it makes romance and sex seem less like its a reward for getting to know the characters. That's not to say that Bioware hits all the marks here, though. Some scenes can come across as goofy, and romancing characters can still feel "gamey". And honestly, it might not be so much that the sex scenes in the new Dragon Age are great, inasmuch as it might be that they wrote strong, compelling characters -- so it's easier to forgive any stumbles the scenes might have. By the time you see them, you're already very invested in the characters. I know that might not seem like the case if you just jump in and see the sex scenes out of context, but it's hard to capture the entirety of a relationship with just one scene. If nothing else, I'm glad that these new scenes don't have that one awful song from Origins that played during the sex scenes:
I'm curious, though: who did you romance, if anyone? What do you think about the way Bioware handled romance in Inquisition? Let us know in the comments.