The Quickest Way To Catch Up On Dragon Age Before The Veilguard Arrives

The Quickest Way To Catch Up On Dragon Age Before The Veilguard Arrives

It’s been ten years since Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third entry in BioWare’s fantasy RPG series, and so it’s likely that a lot of people who are intrigued by the upcoming Dragon Age: The Veilguard have never touched a game in the series before. If you were enticed by the early gameplay or quippy-ass cinematic trailer, you might be wondering if you can jump into the game without any prior knowledge. BioWare is adamant that you can play the game formerly known as Dragon Age: Dreadwolf without playing the three original games, but should you? Let’s unpack 15 years of lore and character development, and get to the meat of what you should probably actually play before The Veilguard arrives.

Bare minimum, you should play Dragon Age: Inquisition before The Veilguard

While Dragon Age is often positioned as an anthology series, 2014’s Inquisition is a direct lead-in to the conflict unfolding in The Veilguard. Solas, the elf shown at the end of the gameplay trailer, is a party member in the third game, and it turns out the whole game is set into motion by his actions. Knowing Solas, his relationship to the people around him, and his place in the grander Dragon Age universe is pretty much required reading for anything happening in The Veilguard to make a lick of sense. Yes, The Veilguard will likely catch you up on some things, but comprehension is the bare minimum. If you want The Veilguard to matter to you, it’s best to see Solas’ story from the beginning. Inquisition is available on all modern platforms through backwards compatibility, so you can play it anywhere.

But isn’t that game full of open-world bloat?

It sure is, reader. However, if you critical-path it, and by that I mean only do main story missions and party member routes you’ll unlock by hanging out with your companions at your base of operations, you can get through Dragon Age: Inquisition in a pretty breezy 30-40 hours.

That sounds pretty reasonable. Anything else I should definitely play before The Veilguard?

Don’t uninstall Dragon Age: Inquisition just yet. The game has three DLC chapters that you can also play, but the one you should definitely make time for is Trespasser. This is the final DLC that jumps the story ahead two years and leads directly into The Veilguard. If you’re going to go back and play Inquisition, the story will not be complete until you see Trespasser through. On top of getting a lead-in for the sequel, you’ll make some big decisions and get an epilogue that gives you an idea of where some of your party members ended up after Inquisition.

That doesn’t seem that unmanageable. Is that all?

Well…here’s the thing. As I mentioned, Inquisition is the bare minimum. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend someone play The Veilguard without at least meeting Solas for themselves and seeing his story from the start. However, I do think it’s worth going back and playing all three Dragon Age games. I do not like Dragon Age: Origins anymore, but I do think having the wealth of lore knowledge I got from it has bolstered my enjoyment of the games that follow. I also have a lot of issues with Dragon Age II, but it led to Inquisition, which is one of my favorite games of all time.

Each game is drastically different in structure and gameplay and has a different protagonist, all under the pretense of Dragon Age being an anthology series. However, BioWare has always tried to have its cake and eat it too, because while it tries to have hard breaks, every game builds off the foundations of the one that preceded it. My advice is that if you don’t like one game, it’s still worth trying the others because they are all vastly different. I don’t like Origins, but I love Inquisition, and plenty of Dragon Age fans hold the inverse opinion. That’s what makes it hard to recommend that people only play one or two of the Dragon Age games: there’s not really a consensus around which one is the best, and they each play a part in building the world you’ll explore in The Veilguard. If you’re really trying to get through the “critical path” of the series before the fourth game launches, here are the most important pieces of the puzzle:

  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening Expansion
  • Dragon Age: Origins — Witch Hunt DLC
  • Dragon Age II
  • Dragon Age II — Legacy DLC
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition — Trespasser DLC

Each game has other DLC packs, but those are the ones most crucial to understanding what follows. If you’re really jiving with one game, by all means go play those other DLCs. But if you’re trying to get through it all as quick as possible before The Veilguard, those are the pieces you need to play.

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