Dragon Age: Inquisition – Video Review

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

Developer: BioWare

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Price: From $59.99 (Amazon US) to $59.89 (GameFanshop – PC)

 

Dragon Age: Inquisition Video Review Transcript:

 

After a solid week of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I feel like I can talk about the game in some coherent manner, and it’s mostly good things. After sleepless nights and many a ram slaughtered in cold blood, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a good story driven Fantasy Role Playing Game  with such a huge scope that any completionist could easily dump a few hundred hours on it, which is impressive in this era of gaming.

I wasn’t too sure how to take Dragon Age: Inquisition at first, the beginning of the game had a lot of action and information thrown at me whilst I tried to work out how to use the new combat system and the talents that just spring up from nowhere. After a few solid hours of gameplay the game just plateaued for some time and it took some old school RPG grinding techniques to get through it, but once that all passed it was like opening an oyster and finding a pearl inside.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Boss fight
Closing a Rift in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Interesting characters and a seamless flow of questing brought to life the rich lore and the humongous world of Thedas. When looking at the game with a critical eye different things started to feel quite bland and unnecessary when it came to enjoying Dragon Age. The starting area, The Hinterlands, starts out great when learning abilities and the basic tutorial, but the hand holding becomes tiresome and I found myself wanting more from an open world title.

I kept coming back to the question “is this actually an open world?”.

In any open world game you are punished for being too reckless or… stupid, I found that Dragon Age: Inquisition was more linear than I would have hoped. At the game launch, I was only able to play through the first area, acquiring a horse and fast travel markers; at home I was disappointed due to the fact that everything was split into sections which took away from the “open world” gameplay.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Boss fight
Dragon Age: Inquisition Boss fight

Looking past the promises of an “open world” game, travelling around the land was beautiful to say the least. Textures throughout the game made it great to look at when in combat or just riding around on Shadowfax, (my horse needed a good name). Everything looks great from the grass to the picturesque sky. It shows that the texture quality was given great consideration in the design of the game and this makes Dragon Age so easy to play for countless hours.

When it came to different environmental surroundings the designers really went all out, it didn’t just feel like a new texture pack when changing locations but a redesigned landscape with new dungeons and places to explore.

With great visual design of the game, the combat system is just as good. As a mage watching your magic fly through the air with great weight and visuals, RPG combat was made fun again. When attacks are visually pleasing it makes fighting the same type of enemy a little less boring and monotonous, watching them explode into shards of ice or just simply die from a stab wound is rather satisfying.

Adventuring through the lands of Dragon Age
Adventuring through the lands of Dragon Age

 

When thinking back on how this game made me feel and the experiences I had with the title, nothing impressed me more than the casting of the characters. The voice acting is mostly fantastic; pretty much every character has a great script and story behind them. Meeting a new party member comes about with some nice story and different dialogue options that add to the encounter.

I found myself just wasting time with inquisition questions just to hear the voice acting at work and I don’t regret one second of that. When adventuring out in the wild, your party members will have conversations with one another which have been scripted for different character interactions. I usually kept the party members who had the most interesting dialogue sequences.

The war room was another highlight when discussing the unique RPG style of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Selecting council members to participate in the questing and exploring kept the game more interesting and dynamic. Missions that council members could go on sometimes ended in new areas becoming accessible for questing, levelling up and generating “power points”, Power points is what allows you to send council members on missions to gather information and unlock areas.

Although the war room is a good addition to the game I was left feeling like more could have been done with it. Something more on the lines of a chess-like mini game or dialogue choices that could fail missions instead of knowing you will succeed every time would make it less of a chore.

War Room missions
War Room missions

With a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition you need to be prepared to accept all the characters for who they are and this game really pushes the point with the development of different personalities of the game. Sera is – personally – such a fantastic character, she is a party member (if you choose her to be), a romantic interest (if you happen to be the right gender) and she is an Elven wacko. More fantasy games in the genre could learn a thing or two, or three when looking at the character design model that Dragon Age has.

It is clear that BioWare made this game, from the dialogue options to the story direction, Dragon Age: Inquisition has all the typical BioWare trademarks. Being able to have sex, say anything insulting you’d like and be as uncharacteristically nice for a change, it’s all in there.

Dialogue Choices in Dragon Age
Dialogue Choices in Dragon Age

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty and nitpick the hell out of this game –

Full of story

The lore of Dragon Age is great, Chantry, the Maker, Templars and Mages, and most importantly demons and dragons. For most players, they will not discover a dragon until 10 hours plus in the game because the game is just that pack of dialogue and hand holding. For new players this can be seen as a ward against Dragon Age and it does not try and get the new player involved which is a shame to say the least.

Rushing through the game doesn’t help either. The game doesn’t want you to be the next Completionist but it wants you to explore every part of the map for you to get the most out of Dragon Age.

I wish there was more action and information about the happenings of Thedas in the first few hours, it would have been that push I needed to not sleep at all is  the true sign of a great game. I like being a complete wreck when going to work in the morning with tales of triumph and defeat ultimately confuse coworkers.

 

Dialogue Choices in Dragon Age
Dialogue Choices in Dragon Age

Talented

The talent tree system is a little lack lacklustre. The three classes; rogue, mage and warrior all have pretty stock standard specialized abilities with one or two good ones thrown in for the fun factor. I feel as if a combat system built around an average talent tree is not good enough for a game that consists of over 100 hours of gameplay. Getting bored with the abilities of three classes shouldn’t really happen in a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition but it happens now and again.

The game suffers a little from the combat; fights never really go for a long period of time unless it is a boss or an impossible battle. Having fights that don’t allow you to use all of your combat skills to great effect is a disappointment and honestly as a mage, spells look great when casting them at a run of the mill enemy, but targeted at an oversized boss does not have the same effect but you are able to cast all of your abilities during the combat.

These sorts of things happen with most fantasy RPGs and I cannot wait for the day when a system springs to life to counteract this issue.

 

Invisible Walls

As mentioned before, the game does not feel like an open world RPG and one thing that really made me puzzled was the invisible walls everywhere.

Battles in Great Halls
Battles in Great Halls

Let me jump off a cliff – at a camp I came across during my adventuring there was a cliff which overlooked a grand valley. I tried everything in my power to jump off, but the game just did not want a bar of it. An open world should be, well, open. Not being able to jump off a cliff is one thing I really did not expect Dragon Age would have. If you do manage to jump off a cliff into the black void you are “magically” teleported back to your launch point after a fade to black.

All I am saying is that if you can die by sliding down the side of a mountain, it should be the same when jumping off into nothingness.

Overall 7.5/10

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The game is one of the greats of the Fantasy RPG genre. Putting the player into a world of magic and mystical lands, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic game to anyone who is dedicated enough to put in the endless amount of time and effort required. Venture forth, into Thedas where adventure, glory and an inquisition to rival all inquisitions will begin.

 

My personal issue with Dragon Age: Inquisition

I have decided to keep this part separate from the review mainly due to its specific nature. Dragon Age: Inquisition did not run as smoothly as I would want it to. I spent a whole day figuring out why crashes and performance issues were plaguing my playthrough of the game. My gaming rig is quite good, the game had set ultra high for most advanced graphical settings, but poor performance was a large issue.

It seemed (but not confirmed) that changing resolutions to a setting that was not native to the monitor really screwed up the game to a point where it become unplayable. This was a huge issue when capturing game footage. The reason that this does not impact on the review of such a good game is that the majority of people will not experience this issue and the problem was fixed by fluke.

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1 COMMENT

  1. So please forgive me for the very very late comment. Great review by the way!

    Just a quick question: I haven’t played DA:I in a while (thank you Fallout) and plan to finish my characters at some point. But what is the armor your mage is wearing?

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