Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Dragon Age: Inquisition Pre-Launch Event which was an awesome treat. The guys over at Gamespot put on a great show up in their office in Sydney for around 20 lucky people. We all got around 3 hours of playtime with the release version of Dragon Age: Inquisition and here are some first impressions.
Firstly, it looks great, the team over at Bioware really have put a lot into inquisition by the looks of it, comparing it to Dragon Age: 2 there would be no competition that Inquisition steamrolls over any previous game in the series. The texture qualities are pretty much spot on, getting that right angle to view the armour close-up seems to be the first thing I do when it comes to Role playing games.
Seeing blood splatters and weapon damage as the story unfolds really immerses you into the game to a point where you forget that you’ve been dying on the same enemies about 5 or 6 times.
The particle effects of magic blew me away; starting off as a mage, I really enjoyed the magical abilities as they had weight behind every cast, I felt as a mage should on the battlefield, exposed and glass cannony. Using the different elements caused the enemies to experience a range of status afflictions such as burning, freezing and fearing your godlike power.
Every class had their abilities on display which makes for a fun play though; the rogue/ranger in the early levels can unlock explosive ammunition that makes for some interesting visuals in combat. The abilities that sounded as if they would be the best looking were the ones I wanted for my party; Cassandra (the warrior) had the coolest ability by far taking advantage of a hook that launched from nowhere to bring an enemy into her melee range.
The combat has to be one of the main points of Dragon Age: Inquisition, controlling your four heroes through any given combat can be stressful and may lead to stupid mistakes being made in the heat of battle. The tactical battle system is actually good to my surprise. The tutorial does an “okay” job at explaining the basics of the combat system, but it mainly consisted of trial and error mostly. Pausing real-time combat to allow for strategic gameplay is just fun; taking a step back to assess the situation and create vantage points for your party members is just great game design.
I was a little disappointed with the talent tree unfortunate, it was quite basic with only a little bit of intricacies in place. There is a section available for points to be spent to boost an already learnt talent, but I felt this does not enhance the game but more feeds the OCD nature to unlock every talent. In saying that, every class has more than one talent tree that focuses on different aspects of their class. I think more time is needed to really give an in-depth review of the talent trees and the overall synergy with the party.
The “open world” seemed a little boxed off for my liking; it feels more like a “shoebox” RPG. Running into invisible walls when trying to jump off cliffs and explore behind rocks that I can clearly jump over destroyed the feeling of being in an open world for me. I can appreciate and understand the development of such a world, but when looking at Skyrim or any other open world game you have the ability to do anything but the game will punish you for doing something stupid.
I felt like the game was holding my hand when it came to exploring; very noticeable paths that lead from mission to mission kind of detoured away from the feel of an open world. At points where I was able to jump off cliffs into the unknown I was teleported back to the place of jumpage with no penalty whatsoever.
So far this game looks, feels and plays like a “GOOD” Dragon Age game, and should please many of the hardcore fans who love the gameplay as well as the lore. A big thank you to the guys over at Gamespot for hooking me up with a few hours of gameplay and also the team over at Bioware who presented such a good night.