Dragon Age: Inquisition, Review

I have to admit that I never really got into the first Dragon Age title. Actually, I never knew about the franchise until Dragon Age 2 came around. I kind of did the same thing I did with Assassin’s Creed: played the second game first upon release, and then played the first game after that.

The same was my approach with Dragon Age I really got into, and enjoyed, the second game, and afterwards decided to play the first Origins title. But with that said, I never really got anywhere with the original DA. I'm not entirely sure why, but a lot of people told me that there is a huge difference in the way the two games handled dynamics aspects. It could have been this difference that put me off the first one.

With that in mind, I was somewhat sceptical to play Dragon Age: Inquisition, as there were many rumours that the third game would be returning to its original roots. Given my experience of the two, I wasn't exactly thrilled until I played Inquisition.

You take up arms as a user-created character that has the power to close dangerous rifts in the world. Theses rifts spawn incredible demons that terrorise the countryside, and it will be up to you and a band of merry men to save the land.

Well, they might be merry now, but when they first discover you they are rather hostile. See, you were the only survivor of a rift battle in which hundreds of others died. So naturally in the time of lore and magic, it is your fault that they died.

As mentioned, just as with the previous Dragon Age title, you have the ability to create your own character, changing and modifying almost every aspect of his or her facial appearance. You can also choose whether you want to be a human, elf, Dwarf or Quinari.

But just a word of warning: the graphics in the character creator mode are somewhat different to that of the cut scenes. I found myself painstakingly creating a character for almost 30 minute, get to a cut scene and I go “Ugh, that is my character?” I decided to start a new game and design a new character, only to realise in the same cut scene that I forgot to change her eyebrows from Wildman bushy to neatly maintained.

But starting over for a third time was actually a blessing in disguise. When you log on to EA’s DragonAgeKeep.com, you can import your original Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2 plot choices into Inquisition’s World State. But the choices only come into effect when you start a new game so there was that.

I have to admit that when I ran through the choice that I made in DA2, I couldn't remember much of the title, let alone the plot. Sure, some of the characters and place names did sound familiar, and I do remember finishing the last boss twice (to make different decisions and to see the alternate ending) but that is about as far as it went.

So in terms of the gameplay, it all seemed about the same to me, regardless for the fact that the developers said that they would be going back to the game’s original fighting mechanics and gameplay.

It’s all very basic, really. On the console version, all you have to do to attack someone (or something) with your main weapon of choice is to pull the right trigger that is it. It’s all like Diablo 3 really, just that it is not the X button.

To execute a special power, heavy attack or to use some extra fire power, all you need to do is press the corresponding face button. As the game progresses, you will unlock more abilities which will spill over to another selection menu. To access that in battle, you need to pull the left trigger and then press the corresponding button.

True to any RPG game, you have certain skill trees that you can flesh out to give you added powers and special abilities in battle. From here, you luckily aren't limited to one tree at a time, as you can distribute your skill points across four trees as you see fit. Trees are made up of passive abilities, which remain activated and cost no mana, and active abilities that need to be manually engaged and cost mana to cast.

But don't expect to be doing a lot of damage in the beginning of the game. I think it’s actually one of the main reasons why I struggled to get into Inquisition initially, as I felt that I wasn't doing enough damage to really make an impact. You travel the world with three other party members, and I felt more like an observer than a truly fearsome fighter. If you have played Dragon Age 2, you will see some familiar faces in the party and in the plot lines every now and again which is a nice treat.

Speaking of the world, just as with the previous one, you have the opportunity to explore the countryside while not on a mission. Well, you can do it during a mission, but to me it felt like I wasn't focussed enough on the mission at hand.

During exploration, you can come across many different types of enemies and a true plethora of things to do. It might actually be one of the downsides of the huge world, as there are so many side quests to entertain that you might not know if you are Arthur, Martha or Dave.

With that said, prepare for a long sitting. Dragon Age Inquisition isn't one of those title that you sit through over a weekend. It’s incredibly long with a main-mission only game time of around 60 hours. That is incredible value for money in a game development era where more often than not titles last around 10 to 12 hours.

It’s not the prettiest of game, although there are recent titles that look far worse, but Dragon Age Inquisition is a great title for those who are into fantasy, RPG or just enjoy really long plot lines. There is a ton of things to do and the battles are difficult but rewarding just the way it should be.

The only problem that I had with it was that I just struggled to truly get into the swing of things, but once you get better powers, weapons and abilities, it means serious business. That, and that your character takes a bit too long to come out of its combat stance once something is engaged. Sometime you might want to retreat a little, and if they are still in combat mode, they shuffle along rather slowly.

If you have played a previous Dragon Age, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't get the game. The combat system easy to handle, everything is thoroughly explained and it ties in with the previous games.

In comparison to the rest of the franchise, it fits in there perfectly.


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