Dragon Age: Absolution is now streaming on Netflix. Under is a spoiler-free evaluation.
Have you ever heard the one the place a qunari, an elf, a dwarf, and three people stroll right into a bar? Effectively, if by stroll you imply “break into” and if by bar you imply “impenetrable fortress containing an historical magical artifact.” That’s the setup for Dragon Age: Absolution, Netflix’s animated tackle Bioware’s fantasy online game sequence.
Ringing in at six half-hour episodes, Absolution is a delightfully action-packed good time. Nevertheless, the method to Dragon Age lore on this tightly woven story leaves it feeling inaccessible to these unfamiliar with the sequence. Advanced characters and compelling story beats make Absolution a memorable installment to the fantasy franchise, however the sequence’ bite-size size and dedication to performing as a setup relatively than a standalone sadly get in its personal approach.
That stated, it’s loads of enjoyable, with a stellar ensemble. Our merry band of six embrace elven mercenary Miriam (Kimberly Brooks), suave Roland (Phil LaMarr), exuberant Qunari mage Qwidion (Ashly Burch), gruff dwarf Lacklon (Keston John), dutiful mage Hira (Sumalee Montano), and their charming chief Fairbanks (Matthew Mercer). Josh Keaton supplies the voice of Tevinter magister Rezaren, performing with an optimism that brilliantly morphs as he stumbles additional into obsession. The solid is superb, injecting these characters with magnetic levity and life.
Battle scenes are fluid and dynamic all through, expertly choreographed to showcase vastly totally different kinds. But at a sure level many of the sequence turns into an prolonged battle scene of kinds. There’s little room to breathe together with the characters as they navigate their mission. We’re primarily fast-forwarded by way of their arc from near-strangers to loyal comrades. That is possible owed to the brief runtime and, to be truthful, character relationships are compelling regardless of the impediment. It solely speaks to the power of the writing that we’re left eager to see a lot extra.
Miriam particularly is an enchanting protagonist, each incisive and ruthless as she faces down enemies. Nevertheless, her power lies in a vulnerability superbly wrought inside Brooks’ efficiency. In numerous methods this sequence is about return – about revisiting the positioning of your trauma and deciding how or why or whether or not or to not rise above it. Brooks balances this ache, rage, and remorse as Miriam splendidly.
Because the spine of the sequence, Miriam and her allies really feel so splendidly studied. Their conflicts, each inside and interpersonal, weave seamlessly into established Dragon Age historical past in a approach that captures the sheer breadth of the world these characters inhabit. There may be, nevertheless, an unlucky aspect impact. Whereas Absolution does its greatest to ease in unfamiliar audiences, approaching the story with out information of franchise lore has the potential to minimize the affect of sure twists. Different current animated diversifications – notably Arcane and The Legend of Vox Machina – are extra profitable on this side. There’s simply so little time in Absolution. Although the sequence makes admirable use of each second of it, it usually feels as if a glossary would possibly turn out to be useful if that is your first Dragon Age foray.
Those that already are Dragon Age followers, nevertheless, are definitely in for a deal with with Absolution, revisiting the world of Thedas and seeing the magic powerhouse nation of Tevinter animated for the very first time. There are thrilling callbacks to the video games, transient cameos from beloved characters, and an exhilarating twist with high-stakes implications for future franchise installments. It appears like dropping in to go to an outdated buddy, even when most of those characters are totally new.