Believe it or not, we folks at TheGamer talk about games quite a bit in between our work. I imagine the gang over at TheWeather talk about how chilly it has been lately, while the team at TheWeekendPlans are always talking about their adventures big and small. I envy the workers at TheLotteryWinners, but right here we talk about games. Recently, one of the games on the docket was Dragon Age Inquisition, which regularly comes around. This time though, what TheGamer had planned was abuse for Sera, and that will not stand.
When it comes to Dragon Age companions, a great deal of subjectivity is involved. Personally I never liked Solas much even before he revealed his true colours, and Alistair is right at the bottom of my list despite his popularity. I understand not everyone is going to agree with me all of the time, despite my track record of always being correct about everything ever. However, I have always felt like Sera got a bit of an unfair deal.
I’ve played through Inquisition three times in total, once romancing Sera, and twice Josephine. I always tell myself I’m replaying to make different choices, but there are only a handful of decisions that I’m curious to see the other side of. Initially I was torn between Sera and Josephine and, with no way to romance Leliana, opted for Josephine a second time too. But Sera has a unique charm that a lot of people seem to disregard.
Dragon Age has always been a more whimsical game than Mass Effect. The space opera has some funny characters and comedic moments, especially with a well-timed Renegade interruption, but mostly it’s a more serious saga. Fantasy has a little more room for silliness, and as such we see more extravagant characters and comedic weaponry, like Sera’s jar of bees. Sera is in many ways the perfect Dragon Age companion, not because she so flawlessly reigns above all the others, but because she’s the type of character you could only get in Dragon Age.
Whether you romance Sera or not, she’s there as you best friend who helps you blow off steam and helps keep you grounded in a very human way – even though she’s not a human, and you might not be either. I can understand why her pranks and jokes are annoying to some. For all its natural humour, Dragon Age tries to tell an epic story, and video games already have the albatross of being historically struggling to tell large stories effectively. Sera’s comic relief is not always welcome, and calling central villain Corypheus “Coryphe-spit” only highlights that, for all Dragon Age’s grand ambitions, it culminates in a fairly standard battle against a dull villain B-tier paperbacks might be embarrassed by.
But to blame Sera for Dragon Age’s shortcomings feels a step too far. Dismissing her as annoying is one thing, and a subjective read on a character designed to be in your face, but Sera has a crucial role amongst all the brave knights and dutiful warriors, pulling them all together not as a group of fighters, but as friends. Love her or hate her, the game wouldn’t be the same without her.
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