Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware / EA)
It was a close race for number one. No matter how we did the maths, no matter how we worked out, there was very little separating this year's top two. With votes cast by key contributors from across the network, it was clear that both games had had huge impacts on us all. However, there has to be a first place, and after much deliberation the tie was broken and Dragon Age: Inquisition stood as the winner.
The Dragon Age series has become something of a cult favourite among fans. This is largely thanks to the depth of the world and the relationships you cultivate with your companions and the other people you meet along the way. Then there's the combat system that blends real-time action with a tactical top-down overview, simple to use for a novice, but with enough room for advanced tactics from expert players.
With Dragon Age: Inquisition Bioware deviated somewhat from their proven hub-based RPG structure, and they went for a more open world design featuring various regions. It gave the impression of an open world, while retaining most of the core structure we've grown used to over the years. We truly enjoyed the variation the main campaign quests brought, there was a lot of thought put into the stories, with quests and collectibles fleshing out the overall experience. We particularly enjoyed solving some of the puzzles hidden down in the dungeons, and hunting the ten high dragons that littered Thedas.
As you'd expect from a Bioware RPG, the production values are very high. The visual design is strong throughout and the world tells its own story, one steeped in history. The music hits all the right notes and the voice acting is impeccable.
At the end of the adventure, when taking stock, it's the characters that stand out and it's your relationships with them that truly sets Dragon Age: Inquisition apart.
And then there's your own stories. Did you side with the Templars or the Mages during the initial conflict? Did you use religious fever to fuel your Inquisition? Who did you romance? What was your critical choice here or there? Did you send any of your companions packing? After 100 hours with the game there is much to discuss and we can't wait to boot it up for a second go, maybe take the difficulty up a notch, try out a different world state (via Dragon Age Keep), and make some radically different choices.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a brilliant RPG, and it's our game of the year.