WeView: Dragon Age: Inquisition

This week’s WeView sees us heading off to Thedas as we explore Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ll be completely honest here, I don’t really know all that much about the Dragon Age series. RPGs don’t really interest me, and ones of the scale of Dragon Age seem more intimidating than anything else. There’s just so much to do that I feel like I’d never get anywhere.

Fortunately, it seems Sam is more a fan of BioWare’s epics, having reviewed the game for us back in November. The first difference from the earlier games in the series he picked up on was the impact that choices now make in Inquisition. While choices in previous Dragon Age titles felt futile due to the “inescapable linearity of [the] plot”, your decisions in Inquisition “slightly, and immediately, alter the world around you”. Although the choices you make “do not transform the game beyond recognition”, Sam still praised the way they help to give a “feeling of accomplishment at each milestone” while still “following the tracks of a pre-existing plot”.

The game’s “expansive maps” earned even more praise from Sam, saying they are “where its true majesty lies”. Impressively the game’s first area, The Hinterlands, is larger than the entire playable area of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 combined, an achievement that certainly deserves to be recognised.

More than the sheer size of the maps in the game, it was the fact each area features “its own characters and conflicts, territorial struggles and area-specific enemies” that Sam really loved, leading him to the belief that a single map could be an entire game by itself. He also highlighted the way that each area of the game has its own “visual and mechanical design”, saying that the variety helps to flesh out “a world that we’ve only had glimpses into until now”.

The game’s combat also drew praise, particularly in the way that it forces you to focus more on strategy. Limiting elements like potions and healing spells means that “defence and support in combat play a much larger role than before”, giving it an MMO like feeling, which is only heightened by “downed teammates now being revivable by adjacent allies”, something that particularly useful in the game’s multiplayer.

On the more negative side of thing, Sam bemoaned the way the game’s story eventually “becomes somewhat predictable”, and also felt that some mechanical elements of gameplay were frustrating. For example, the fact that “your character no longer moves to where you click the mouse (on the PC version), and will only interact with objects they are facing and are immediately next to” drew his ire, although he did note that the latter element of his complaint was useful during combat.

However, in the grand scheme of things these were relatively minor niggles, and Sam gave the game a 9/10, wrapping up his review with the following:

Dragon Age: Inquisition is incredible. It’s formidably long – around 40-50 hours for the main story, and hundreds more for absolute completion; it has a great cast of characters and, despite its predictable plot after the end of the first act, it makes some nice touches on the overarching themes of the series, and pays more respect to your decisions than any BioWare game before it.

As is the custom with WeView, I’ll conclude by asking you what you thought of the game. If you feel like sharing your opinion, be it positive or negative, then all you need to do is drop us a comment below. Remember to include a rating for the game from the Buy It, Sale It, Plus It, Avoid It scale so we can summarise the community’s opinion in Monday’s WeView Verdict, where we’ll also highlight a few of your comments.

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26 Comments

  1. Absolutely wonderful game which continued to impress from start to finish. The PC version ran pretty close to perfectly from day one and delighted me with sumptuous graphics, fascinating characters and engaging combat.

    It suffers with a lack of facial capture/animation but so does every big game of this size, sadly. However, outside of this, there’s very little to quibble over. It’s not only a return to form – after the misstep that was Dragon Age 2 – but a resounding success for most fans of the franchise. My personal Game Of The Year 2014.

    Buy it.

    • 120 hours of genuine pleasure. You’re lucky to get that from a decent girlfriend! :-P

    • Referring to DA2 as a “misstep” is being a bit too kind to it. It was a terrible game that involved spending more hours than you should be expected to endure pressing the same button repeatedly to eventually move on to the next area which was exactly the same as the previous 17.

      Inquisition was about 20 times as big, will suck you in for several times longer, and still leaves you wanting more. And there probably is more there too, if I could find where it is.

      So while I don’t agree with your calling DA2 a “misstep” when the words “terrible, shitty abortion of a so-called game” would be better, I’ll certainly agree with it winning your GOTY award. It definitely gets mine.

      • I couldn’t comment on DA2 any further as I didn’t buy it. The reviews put me off it even though I thoroughly enjoyed Origins.

  2. I’d say buy it, because of the amount of content in the game. It took me around 50 hours, and and I still had over half of the side activities/quests/collectibles not done I think.

    It has some great interesting highs, but can be a slow burner some times, If you can get past that, you’ll enjoy it.

    It has deep RPG elements, which may be confusing at first due to all the options available, but it is rewarding if you put the time into it.

  3. Buy it. Nothing else needs to be said.

    Unless something else really needs to be said, in which case…

    After the complete disaster that was the terrible DA2, I wasn’t expecting much. But all those bits that DA2 got so wrong, Inquisition avoids or does right. Saying the first area is bigger than the whole of DA2 is true, but even more impressive when you remember that DA2 just copied and pasted the same 3 sections over and over again for the entire game. The scale of Inquisition is just ridiculous. And looks gorgeous while it does it.

    Then you get 20 hours in and realise you haven’t even begun to explore the world. Even 40 or 50 hours in and you can still find a whole new area which is again bigger than all of DA2.

    The downside is that it might require more time than some people want to invest in a game. And it’s easy to just lose track of the main story and just explore and do endless side-quests. But then again, who wouldn’t want to explore such an impressive world?

    The combat isn’t particularly great (about what you’d expect from an “action RPG”) or challenging though. I guess it might be more challenging if you didn’t spend hours exploring every new place you find and getting a bit over-levelled before you move on with the story. And no matter how strong you are, the dragons at least are a good challenge. And you’ll probably run into one far too early in the game and die in seconds. Which teaches you an important lesson about dragons.

    There’s also some entertaining voice work. Which you’ll be hearing a lot since you’ll have 3 characters rambling away for hours while you’re exploring. Far too easy to accidentally flirt with them and possibly end up in bed too. Or is that just Dorian who’s a complete tart?

    So buy it for the massive and gorgeous world, perfectly serviceable story and battle system, enormous value for money, and important lessons about how quickly you should run away from dragons. (Answer: Very quickly)

  4. Buy it. This is the only game I have not traded in after finishing as I still get cravings to play it, even after putting in over 70 hours.

    The gameplay is abit slow at first, but once you progress the story and end up in Skyhold, it gets good. Their is so much so do, from killing dragons to flirting with member of the Inquisition.

    I love how the characters you choose to have in your party have mini converstations with each other as you wander round the world. When you have both Cole and Iron Bull in your party they have conversation such as:
    Cole; You call yourself The Iron Bull because of your horns?
    Bull: That’s right.
    Cole: But those are dragon horns. Shouldn’t you be The Iron Dragon?
    Bull: …Shit. That is better.

    The ending left me wide mouthed and led me straight to google to read dragon age lore to work out what the hell had just been said.

    I have started a new play through on hardcore mode where it is a much more tactical game, whereas on the easier modes I never used the tactical camera once.

    Can’t wait for some DLC.

    • That reminds me. I need to start all over again on the hardest mode. And maybe try different characters to get all those other interesting little conversations.

      First time I oddly went with my character using magic and then spent most of the game with Iron Bull (because he’s just a massive tank), Varric (because someone who keeps out of the way at a distance is useful) and Dorian (because more magic, and I think he might have wanted to get into my pants).

      But there’s a lot of opportunity there for mixing things up and playing it completely differently. Which I shall soon be trying.

      • Agreed. Some of the banter/dialogue between various party members is superbly done. :-)

      • I was also a mage and my team was always Varric, Cole and Iron Bull. I’ve heard good things about Dorian so I am going to use him more on this playthrough. Although I also need Solas for healing this time as I’m playing as a rogue.

        On hardcore mode you have to think about your team so much more, you pay attention to what abilities each character has as you will die and then be in control of a different character in the middle of battle. As soon as you pick up a new item, you are looking at it straight away to see if it is an improvement, you are using the blueprints more to upgrade items and armour. You get some much more immersed in the game.

        I’m just looking forward to romancing someone else now lol.

      • Only just started playing dragon age, so I think it’d be a little unfair for me to make a solid buy/bargain/avoid decision. (at 10 hours, I’m strongly leaning toward buy it)

        But, I’ve been really enjoying having Dorian in my party. Great dialogue and all round good character.

        And him to Omar from the wire and Paul Smecker from Boondock saints on the list of gay characters that aren’t just stereotypical camp buffoons. Well done to Bioware for that.

        Which reminds me. It’s saint Patricks day. So if you haven’t seen Boondock saints yet. Today is the perfect day!

      • *add him to the list

  5. A big fat Buy It from me too.

  6. I mostly enjoyed the 85 hours i put into it, but i put it aside before completing it and don’t know when i will return to it. I was a bit of a noob having not played the previous games and i found that levelling up was very slow. Also i found it annoying having to manage the assets of all the team members continuosly on top of my own.

    There were several occaions when the game glitched and i was unable to switch characters. Then there would be occasions when in the midst of battle my companions would all be just standing around doing nothing.
    The environments were nice and occasionally quite pretty, but navigating some areas could be a pain, particularly those with multiple levels.

    Despite the flaws it occupied me for hours at a time – although i will say that often it would feel like i had achieved very little in that time – but there was still enough going on to hold my interest and some of the main missions were really enjoyable, in particular the one centred around the ballroom.

    In summary, it might not quite scratch your Skyrim itch but it will keep you going while you wait for The Witcher 3. Buy It.

  7. To be honest I was quite disappointed with Inquisition. The whole game feels quite unpolished and very disjointed to me as though the game was developed by multiple teams that didn’t speak to each other as much as they should have. As such, the game is full of brilliantly done bits, but just doesn’t fit together quite right.

    I can’t deny that the game looks and sounds fantastic, particularly with regards to the lighting. The series has always looked okay (creepy Bioware-face aside) but Inquisition, on the PS4 at least, can easily justify a release on current-gen consoles. The standard of voice acting is very good, but unfortunately Sera is one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a game in some years and really detracts from the experience. My wife played the entire game, completing most everything and spoke to Sera only once to recruit her during a playthrough of 120 hours, just because she was so annoying.

    Whilst Bioware have clearly put an enormous amount of effort into creating a large world with distinct and detailed areas, unfortunately the same could not be said for the writing. I never found myself engrossed in the story and most of the time the plot lacked direction and relied upon completing sidequests of middling interest levels to unlock more plot progression. Most of the characters are well written, and the relationships feel better handled than most games, but outside of a sidequests and scenes in Skyhold they can be ignored entirely.

    My biggest issue with Inquisition is the sheer number of bugs and glitches. Quests won’t trigger, important loot will never appear, one quest won’t start if you approach from the wrong direction, audio will drop out occasionally, and possibly the most egregious is that more than one of the trophies can be subject to a glitch that means they cannot be obtained (something that should be properly tested if all games have to have trophies).

    Overall, whilst there is a lot about the game that is good I cannot completely recommend it at full price. It has to be a Sale It from me

    • I agree about Sera being annoying. Although she just have a friendship quest that involves running round playing pranks on the other inquisition members, which was really funny and one of the most memorable quests of the whole game.

    • Having gone back and given the game another go tonight I’m going to have to change my vote to Avoid It. Unfortunately I was laboring under the impression that they had fixed the bugs such as equipped items disappearing from your inventory. It would appear though, that after the best part of half a year the game is still littered with bugs that by now should be a distant memory. Very disappointed in Bioware for not fixing these sooner

  8. Don’t expect much from the multiplayer, the single player however is very good and I recommend it. Not perfect but close enough that it’s very enjoyable and has me excited for the next game. Buy it.

    • Funny you should say this.

      After the amount of time I put into the ME3 multiplayer, I was really looking forward to seeing what they’d do with it in this game.

      But you’re right, it was very disappointing. Hope they get back on point for ME4.

  9. It’s awesome in almost every way Dragon Age II wasn’t. Massive open world to explore, loads to do, loads to kill and loads to enjoy. Great story and some great characters. In a nutshell, buckle up and prepare to ride the bull. Buy it, love it, and play it until the cows come home.

  10. I could go on for ages, but I’ll keep things short:

    I went into Inquisition hoping to soothe my longing for more Mass Effect. It offered a very different experience that still scratched some of the same itches, and I love it. The horse-riding is rubbish, parts of the inventory are confusing and stupid (it can be hard to tell rubbish from collectibles as well as valuables) and it’s easy to fall into repetition in combat, but otherwise it’s a stellar game set in a beautiful and deep world.

    It’s like Kingdoms of Amalur’s world, inhabited by Mass Effect-esque lore and Xenoblade combat. And you should buy it. But don’t bother with the multiplayer.

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