If Skyrim Met Dragon Age, We’d Have the Perfect Fantasy Game

dragon age3

I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the past uh, 15 hours or so, and it’s been the first time I’ve stepped into a fantasy video game world (that wasn’t LOTR-based) since Skyrim. Bethesda’s game is arguably the best single-player fantasy title in history, yet Dragon Age has its own set of strengths. In a perfect world the two would combine to create a simply unstoppable force, though I’m not sure if it’s physically possible given the enormous work it goes into making each game their own way.

Skyrim’s Strengths

There is no better open world fantasy map than Skyrim, and before that, Oblivion, and before that, Morrowind, and you get the idea. Skyrim is a game where you can start in one place, and then literally go anywhere and do anything. Yes, there’s some vague semblance of linearity, but you can sink 50 hours into the game without ever getting past the first few intro missions.

Skyrim also has an absolutely incredible amount of cool quests, many of which go many beyond the simple “go here and fetch this variety’ that usually plagues the genre. The Daedric ones in particular were more memorable than any story quest, and the amount of quests and the beautiful, hidden locations in which you find them.

Skyrim’s Weaknesses

Story and characters are what Skyrim lacks. The lore of the universe is actually pretty solid, but given that you’re a permanently silent protagonist with a face that’s almost never, ever seen, it’s hard to establish your character as a likable lead or the star of compelling story. The individual quests of the game can have their own fun little stories, but without a larger cast of characters, or a lead you can actually feel connected to, its overall plot is lacking.

Itemization is strange in Skyrim. There’s a minimal focus on loot, and even though you can get individual pieces of armor, it’s usually the same full sets that are the best in the game, be they Daedric or Dragonbone. There are a few memorable weapons, but not enough, and not enough cool ways to get them either other than the Daedric quests. It doesn’t need to be a lootPG like Diablo, but more diversity would go a long way.

dragon age4

So what are Dragon Age’s strengths and weaknesses? Pretty much the polar opposite of everything I’ve brought up for Skyrim.

Dragon Age is broken up into segments rather than an open world, and can often feel very linear in regard to its difficulty. But it makes up for this by having a fully-voiced hero you can relate to, and a huge supporting cast full of colorful characters, the kind Skyrim is lacking.

Dragon Age has been pretty lacking interesting quests, but it handles itemization better than Skyrim with customizable weapons and armor that allows for more diversity, both visually and skill-wise.

If these two could learn from each other and adopt the strengths of the other to compensate for their weaknesses, they would be absolutely unstoppable. I’m not sure Skyrim needs the help as it has sold a zillion copies regardless, but I’m trying to imagine how great it would be with the colorful cast of a Dragon Age game, and a more coherent plot with better items.

I suppose there’s room for both to exist in the scene, as they do different things well and it would probably be impossible to have the scope of Skyrim with the story of Dragon Age, but I think both games should try to move toward more common ground. Both are close to perfect, but they’re just missing what the other has.

I’m currently roaming around uh, I don’t even know what the land is called in Dragon Age, but I’m having a good time all the same. That said, I miss the endless amount of caves and towns and cities you can randomly come across in Skyrim, rather than just a handful in Dragon Age. And sometimes there’s SO much dialogue, that you just want people to shut up. Just because characters do have a 300,000 word script to work with, that doesn’t always mean all of it is worth hearing.

Which series do you prefer, Skyrim or Dragon Age, and why?

[Photos via Bethesda and Bioware]

Similar Posts


  1. I´ll take the Souls series or even Dragon´s Dogma… personally I’m a mechanics kind of player and Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age have some of the most wooden combat I´ve ever seen.

    1. Agreed. Having spent many many hours in the Elder Scrolls games, I look back at my experiences as somewhat enjoyable but ultimately hollow. The game play never ends up being very engaging or challenging and the plots are never good. Sure there are endless amounts of things to do, but they all kind of blend together and nothing really sticks out years later. Mods kind of helped for a while to make the game more interesting…and that is fun, but it shouldn’t have been necessary.

      I started Dragon Age Origins, and it never clicked with me either (though I haven’t tried Inquisition). I’ve been a fan of RPG’s for most of my life, but the NPC’s never really seemed very interesting and the combat just wasn’t very fun IMO. I had to spend what felt like hours talking to every single new character of the new village I was visiting, which then piled on tons more meaningless side quests that I really didn’t have any desire to complete.

      My personal favorite “fantasy game” has to be Dark Souls. The game play and combat never get boring to me, and I love that the incredibly deep and complex story line and lore are never shoved in your face, and you have to piece almost all of it together yourself. I’ve played it from start to finish over a dozen times now, trying out various classes and even going through as Soul Level 1 (never leveling up) and it still feels fresh.

  2. I read you title and thought “didn’t Dragon Age just meet Skyrim?” Inquisition has a massive and packed open-world with the fast traveling and tons of crafting materials to harvest that defined the Elder Scrolls games in the past. Plus, it’s even buggier than Skyrim was, so there’s that. I’m extremely bent that there’s no way to switch between ranged and melee weapons easily, though, and the downgrade to ally AI customization is terrible. I can’t imagine why BioWare keeps taking the best features of Dragon Age out. I hope the story blows my mind at least.

  3. I haven’t played Dragon Age, but I’ve sunk about 200 hours into Skyrim, at least. Currently I’m playing Oblivion, and although I had got sick of playing Skyrim after playing it five times pretty much consecutively (although I only finished the main quest the first time) and now all I want to do is play it again.
    It’s not just how much more beautiful medium Skyrim is compared to Ultra HD Oblivion, but how much smoother the gameplay is. The combat is still a bit wooden, but the crafting, alchemy, levelling up and magic are all so much better in Skyrim.
    I think I would prefer Skyrim, mostly because I love RPGs a lot more than more linear games, but I agree that the characters are fairly bland, and there really needs to be more voice actors.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.