Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Lightning Spell Still Kicks Ass

If you slam your staff into the ground so hard that lightning shoots out of it, it should probably feel pretty powerful, you know?


I’ve been playing through Dragon Age: Inquisition’s new DLC The Descent, and it’s been nice to come back to the game. I haven’t played Dragon Age in a focused way since last fall, when I reviewed it. As I took a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the controls, I also reacquainted myself with how badass the spellcasting animations in this game can be.

When my mage casts her lightning spell, she spins her staff and then slams it into the ground, then lightning explodes out of it, straight into the nearest enemy.

That’s my favorite animation, for the starter spell Chain Lightning. The one for the Energy Barrage spell is up there, too:

It’s all so physical and satisfying, and makes me remember one of the main reasons I liked the combat in this game: I played as a mage. Going into this DLC as a level 23 knight-enchanter, I’m more or less able to transition between melee combat and spell casting, reaving my way through enemies then bailing out to pound the ground with some lightning. The combat encounters are kind of a mess—too many enemies in close quarters, and they take quite a while to kill—but playing as a mage, it’s still pretty damned fun.


I remember the whole “mages slamming their staves around” thing came about in Dragon Age 2. Before that game came out, BioWare developers had been talking a lot about making Dragon Age combat more punchy and physically satisfying than it had been in Origins, particularly for magic users. Turned out it was a good addition—when you discharge a blast of lightning from a magical staff, this is probably about how it should look and feel.

I’m still playing The Descent, and I’ll have more on it soon.

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The Knight-enchanter was effectively unkillable at later levels. Melee attack that recharges your barrier, combined with the short barrier CD and a bunch of other widgets, would usually result in me being able to take down dragons several levels higher than myself with the rest of my party watching the floor.

Granted, the damage dealt by said blade was somewhat abysmal, so said fights took a small eternity, but the rewards were sooo worth it.