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DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION REVIEW

joshuaboy
joshuaboy Members Posts: 10,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

Here are your Dragons

Ninety hours. That’s how long it took me to roll the credits on Dragon Age: Inquisition. Though it’s true that quality can’t be measured purely in terms of quantity, that number is still significant. That’s part of why Inquisition is not only one of the most expansive RPGs I’ve ever played, but one of the few that successfully fills its gorgeous, massive world with meaningful things to do and see. A frustratingly vague plot and typical BioWare bugginess drag it down a bit, but both in combat and out, Inquisition marks a welcome return to the RPG depth that made Dragon Age: Origins and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic so magnetic.

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, you aren’t just the leader of some merry band of adventurers, but the focal point of a sweeping, large-scale movement to bring reform and order to a land ripped apart by civil war and political strife. Literally, in a way, as interdimensional demon-spewing rifts are tearing holes in the sky across the world. Your organization has tons of tiny moving parts to manage, but major actions, such as scouting new regions and undertaking new story missions, require power - a central resource that’s doled out for doing nearly anything of note across Inquisition’s nine large areas. It’s a brilliant idea that gives purpose to all the side-questing and sightseeing by directly tying it to story progression.
Some of Inquisition's regions seemed restrictive, even corridor-like when I initially set foot in them, but they soon opened up into vast sandboxes. No matter how many demon-spawning rifts I closed, or hidden shards I found, I always felt like I was making tiny dents on the tip of an iceberg. That’s not to say it lacks a sense of progression; the way you start as a band of upstart rebels and grow into a highly influential martial and political force is one of Inquisition’s most satisfying traits. It’s just that the sheer volume of content borders on overwhelming. Thankfully, a handy quest map makes it easy to track each region’s content, which allowed me to focus my attention on a set goal… at least until wanderlust inevitably set in.
And boy, did it set in often. The diverse landscapes of Ferelden and Orlais strike a smart balance between open spaces and narrow, directed paths. Unclaimed keeps and unexplored ranges on the horizon kept tempting me away from my current story objective, while clearly marked pathways kept me from ever feeling truly lost. In fact, I never once felt like I’d hit a dead end, because you can barely walk in any direction for a minute without stumbling upon something to do – and amazingly, none of it ever feels like filler.

That’s partly because of how good of a job Inquisition does of contextualizing its many pieces. Whether it’s with a well-delivered piece of dialogue or a smartly-written bit of supporting lore, every quest you undertake has an air of being something more important than the simple fetch or 🤬 task it actually is. But better still, it all leads to tangible rewards through a series of well-designed crafting and progression systems that give Inquisition’s huge body of content the spine and structure required to keep me engaged. Completing a cursory task for a farmer may open up new mounts for you and your party to ride, and making the right conversation choices with a seemingly unimportant NPC might lead to empire-wide bonuses. You never know how even your smallest actions might impact your experience, which gives further purpose to all the scouring and scrapping you do out in the field.
Not that said scrapping needs much incentive beyond the excitement it provides. Inquisition’s new tactical view lets you pause and give orders at will from an overhead perspective, much like you could in Dragon Age: Origin on PC. It takes a little getting used to, especially when the camera decides to misbehave, but once you come to grips with it, it becomes a powerful tool for coordinating your party. You can hang back and set traps for over-zealous enemies, have your rogue creep along the edge of the battlefield to go for flanking bonuses, orchestrate explosive ability combos between party members, and much more. Inquisition successfully marries the measured approach of old-school BioWare games with the flashier, action-oriented approach of Dragon Age 2 and the later Mass Effect games. The result is combat that feels pleasingly punchy when controlled directly, and tactically sound when played like a puppeteer.

Like most BioWare games before it, Inquisition isn’t without its fair share of technical annoyances. Dialogue sequences would occasionally hang, interface elements would suddenly stop working, and sound would randomly cut out in the middle of battle. Most of these could be fixed with a quick reload, but those interruptions still took me out of the experience a little too often. A day-one patch is supposed to remedy many of these issues, but if you plan to play without updating, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
Where Inquisition really stumbles, though, is in its story. It gets off to a vague start, and never really congeals. The Dragon Age universe is rich with impressively nuanced lore and socio-political intrigue, but Inquisition lacks the heart and pathos of BioWare’s best games. There are some interesting individual beats, but the how and why that’s supposed to connect them is all very tenuous. It’s a shame too, because all the main characters are well-written and acted - particularly Dorian, whose familial struggles provided some genuinely emotional moments. By the time the story reached its 🤬 though, I cared about the people involved, but I had little connection to what was at stake, or Inquisition’s completely forgettable villain.

Ultimately, the tale I was truly invested in was the one I carved out with not only the major story decisions I made, but where I spent my time, who I spent it with, and how I chose to run the Inquisition. In the war room, little mini-stories played out as I decided which of my advisors should handle different tasks, the outcomes changing depending on their aptitudes. In the the throne room I’d sit and pass judgement on those I’d brought to justice during previous quests. Who do I execute? Who do I exile? Who get’s a second chance? Combined with the excellent party banter, content like this ensured that my story remained interesting even after the curtain had fallen on the main campaign.
One more thing to do after finishing the campaign is the surprisingly good online co-op, which has you leveling a totally separate character up to plow through a variety of dungeons with friends. It leverages the campaign’s enjoyable combat, and even the full-featured crafting system to boot. It isn’t a primary reason to buy Inquisition by any means, but it does boost its already substantial replay value considerably without imposing itself on you if you just want to play single-player.

THE VERDICT

When I’d finally slain my first dragon in Dragon Age: Inquisition, I felt a little sad at the thought that I was probably beginning to exhaust its seemingly endless stream of content. But then I saw the quest ticker: “Dragons Slayed - 1 out of 10.” In all my hours, I had only ever seen three. It’s a surprisingly huge, dense world, and I soon realized there were still entire sandboxes I hadn’t even set foot in. Even in my hundredth hour, I’m still discovering. Despite its less than compelling plot, I still want to go back to explore and fight through every nook and cranny of Dragon Age: Inquisition, until every dragon’s skull is mounted on my wall.

8.8

GREAT
Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't spin a great tale, but it brings the series closer to its roots with deep RPG systems.

Comments

  • kzzl
    kzzl Members Posts: 7,548 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Everything I'm reading sounds like this game is a must have for me. 🤬 has me eager to see what they'll accomplish with the new Mass Effect, too.

    I tried doing that online 🤬 that let's you create the choices of the previous games, but I have no recollection of those stories.
  • afro thunder
    afro thunder Members Posts: 2,479 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So what about the Grey Warden from part 1? Does he make an appearance in this or is Origins forgotten?

    I might consider getting this but I'll wait a little to make sure it truly isn't as awful as part 2.
  • Lou Cypher
    Lou Cypher Make Reasonable Choices. H. E. Double Hockey SticksMembers Posts: 52,521 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Played one and 2. Gotta play this. Sucks that i played the first 2 on xbox and wont be able to transfer character. Unless i buy this on 360 which would be dumb.
  • Alkinduz
    Alkinduz No Prep, No Glory Members Posts: 2,070 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Origins is One of my all time favourite games. Most def gonna cop this later on, ain't got the time now lol smh..
  • lord nemesis
    lord nemesis You ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight? Members Posts: 11,946 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Copped the 🤬 couple days ago. Its almost too much 🤬 to do. I got a grip of quests in progress
  • kzzl
    kzzl Members Posts: 7,548 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My only complaint is the 🤬 hair.... man, my dudes beard looks like that spray on hair Shawty Lo got on his head. I LOL'd at that 🤬 .

    Game needs more music as well, for atmosphere and stuff. Or maybe more sounds effects for immersion. 🤬 feels empty when you running around to what's almost dead silence in the game.

    🤬 seems straight as an RPG, though. Gameplay and graphics are good. Story and voice acting could of been done better.
  • dallas' 4 eva
    dallas' 4 eva Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFC EAST CHAMPS Members Posts: 11,216 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This game is the 🤬 .
  • Negro_Caesar
    Negro_Caesar Fuck Bitches Get Money Members Posts: 6,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So I should buy this?
  • John_Blazini
    John_Blazini When it comes to half the niggas on the IC's kids...I am the father Members Posts: 14,837 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Playing now it's dope
  • John_Blazini
    John_Blazini When it comes to half the niggas on the IC's kids...I am the father Members Posts: 14,837 ✭✭✭✭✭
    kzzl wrote: »
    My only complaint is the 🤬 hair.... man, my dudes beard looks like that spray on hair Shawty Lo got on his head. I LOL'd at that 🤬 .

    Game needs more music as well, for atmosphere and stuff. Or maybe more sounds effects for immersion. 🤬 feels empty when you running around to what's almost dead silence in the game.

    🤬 seems straight as an RPG, though. Gameplay and graphics are good. Story and voice acting could of been done better.

    The 🤬 beards lol..they don't fit the faces..🤬 I think this was the first game I have ever adjusted the cheek bones...i thought it would make my beard fit....it didn't .
  • louis rich
    louis rich BeantownMembers Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2014
    cool game, played about 6hrs of it, i think it needs more like final fantasy, skyrim or frycry4 more>>>>
  • lord nemesis
    lord nemesis You ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight? Members Posts: 11,946 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Playing as a Qunari warrior. Getting my ass beat in the Hinterlands
  • focus
    focus The #1 Nigga, I Don't Need No Hype. Members Posts: 5,361 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Did a bunch of 🤬 in the Hinterlands, just made it to Haven. Starting to get into it. Can get addictive.
  • StoneColdMikey
    StoneColdMikey mikeyismod CHITOWN THE BEST TOWNMembers, Moderators Posts: 33,543 Regulator
    This game has the longest intro ever
  • kzzl
    kzzl Members Posts: 7,548 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Once I got the learning curve game became a lot more fun. IGN's review was right, the characters are good, but the main story is just decent enough to move 🤬 along.

    I see there's a multiplayer mode, which is pointless IMO. Space that could of been used to add more 🤬 to the single player.

    I want to know what the DLC is looking like. I'm not planning on finishing this till everything is out for it.

    If this is a sign of things to come, I'm even more anxious to see what they can do with the new Mass Effect.

  • focus
    focus The #1 Nigga, I Don't Need No Hype. Members Posts: 5,361 ✭✭✭✭✭
    When you get to
    Skyhold
    tho
  • Swiffness!
    Swiffness! PART OF THE CONSPIRACY Members Posts: 10,128 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Building a whole new PC system JUST for this game.
  • dallas' 4 eva
    dallas' 4 eva Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFC EAST CHAMPS Members Posts: 11,216 ✭✭✭✭✭
    focus wrote: »
    When you get to
    Skyhold
    tho

    Bruh I'm literally to the point to see how the main story of the game ends and start a new game and just do EVERYTHING over the 200 thousand billion hours it will take.
  • kzzl
    kzzl Members Posts: 7,548 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2014
    focus wrote: »
    When you get to
    Skyhold
    tho

    I spent at least an hour just talking and micromanaging the gear. I hate to not talk to everyone in the crew, no telling when you might miss something. They be having cut scenes when you least expect it.
    Just did that mission to stop that queen from getting assassinated.
    I'd gotten up to 50+ power points prior to that. Trying to do missions in certain places before my level is too high to get xp for kills. Level 13 with a little over 19 hours in so far. I don't think I'm far in the story at all, might be next year before I finish this.

    I'm so 🤬 glad they allow you to re-edit your ability points.

    Just found out they let your character from DA2 make an appearance in the game. I didn't have any data from it gave me a default instead.
  • dallas' 4 eva
    dallas' 4 eva Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFC EAST CHAMPS Members Posts: 11,216 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just finished this game and I'll all say is only thing I was disappointed in was the story, felt like this game was just an introduction to Dragon Age 4.
  • focus
    focus The #1 Nigga, I Don't Need No Hype. Members Posts: 5,361 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2014
    Just finished this game

    Damn, really? I'm splitting my time between like 6 different games right now, but still. I feel like i'd be playing this game well into 2015 without finishing it regardless. There's so much to do. I spent hours yesterday doing nothing but cleaning out my inventory and crafting/modifying armor, weapons, skill trees, accessories, etc for all my party members.
  • dallas' 4 eva
    dallas' 4 eva Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFC EAST CHAMPS Members Posts: 11,216 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I heard they released 3 DLC expansions for this, they worth my time?
  • The Recipe
    The Recipe Members Posts: 10,570 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This game was slept on, im addicted to this joint now. This one of them games you keep in the tuck for a drought. About 100+ hours in and a bunch more game to play.