Netflix’s Video Game Adaptation Is A Treat For Fans, But Not For Newcomers

One of the most enjoyable things about the “Dragon Age” games is the banter and discussions between characters. Bioware games are praised for their writing, worldbuilding, decision-making, and dialog, and this show captures that. Rather than having the characters argue about whether they want to be selfless and do the right thing, they all want to do what’s right (kind of). But their decisions, goals, and justifications are all influenced by their upbringing, social class, and faith. We see how background characters react to our band of misfits, how even a friendly qunari is treated with fear, or how an elf is immediately discriminated against. This helps make the world of the show feel lived-in and its cultures varied and different.

That being said, the show doesn’t really spend as much time exploring the deeper questions found in the games, because for the most part, “Dragon Age: Absolution” just assumes you’re already familiar with the games and their big conflicts. The show feels in some ways less of a standalone story and more like downloadable content for one of the games, meant to be experienced right after finishing the main story — and not by someone who is just now getting into the franchise. 

There are tons of references to the lore and even the plot of the previous games, but they feel like part of the tapestry of the world rather than callbacks. Someone mentions the player character from “Dragon Age: Inquisition” and The Breach, but it’s treated not as a Leonardo-DiCaprio-pointing-meme moment and instead as a major world event that just happened. There are even plot points introduced that likely hint at a connection to the next game, and they feel like an organic escalation of the show’s conflict.

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