Dragon Age Absolution: Do You Need To Know The Games?

As new content for Dragon Age is sparse, the new Netflix series Absolution has been highly anticipated. But many people ask themselves if this could be a starting point for new arrivals in the world of Thedas.

Dragon Age Absolution
Dragon Age Absolution: a gift to the fans | © Bioware & Netflix

Building a world that feels rich and complex is hard work. For Dragon Age, Bioware has woven the information mostly into their games. Now finally the animated Netflix-Show Dragon Age Absolution has released, which brings up our question. Do you need to know the games? The answer is kind of yes and no. To understand what I mean, you need a bit more context.

In this series, the main elvish character Miriam and her newfound friends must steal a powerful artifact from the Tevinter Empire for the Inquisition. During their adventures, her dark past comes back to haunt her and a dangerous game is being played in the shadows.

While the series takes place within the universe of the Dragon Age games, the plot is original with its own unique characters. Of course, you can find cameos as a player of the games, but they do not take central stage.

Here you can see a sneak peek into the series:

DA Absolution: Not Enough Time

The short runtime poses a much bigger problem. In only six 20-Minute episodes, the complete heist needs to be resolved, which leaves almost no time for explaining any of the setting. As a player, you know Tevinter and how truly abhorrent their beliefs and institutions are, but a newcomer can only rely on the information given to him by the series. Sadly, it explains very little about the world and its people.

Besides that, the pacing is really off, and everything just feels rushed. No wonder when you consider the few episodes. If you’re not already invested in the Dragon Age Universe, this alone could turn you away.

Considering these factors, the answer to whether you need to know the games or not, is ambiguous. Yes, if you really want to get invested and actually understand the stakes and context of this story. For just casually enjoying a few hours and a nice heist plot, it’s a no.

In conclusion, it’s an enjoyable show made for fans of the games, with cool animation and interesting characters. But many of the side characters deserved more spotlight. Hopefully we get to see more of them in a second season.