This week I finally wrapped up the newest fantasy RPG title from Bioware, Dragon Age Inquisition. The game boasts over 100+ hours of content, and it’s not an exaggeration. But having now played it, do I think it was worth putting in all that time?
Back in 2011 when Dragon Age 2 released, I agreed with many that the game was a lackluster sequel to what had been one of the best Bioware games since Mass Effect. The linear quests and randomly generated maps were the opposite of what we had come to love in Dragon Age Origins. After the disappointment of Dragon Age 2, ( and then further disappointment in Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic) I downgraded Bioware titles from ‘Pre-order’ status to a “Wait and see”.
When Dragon Age Inquisition was announced, I was already losing interest in Bioware so I didn’t give it much thought. Leading up to the release I didn’t really look at trailers, videos, or previews/reviews. I was content to let it pass me by. After the game did release and started getting some high praise around the internet, I started to consider it. Ken purchased the game at launch and even he seemed pretty engrossed in the title. By the time the ‘Game of the Year’ accolades started trickling in, I had added it to my list of games to play.
The launch of the game was quite buggy which is not uncommon for Bioware titles. It’s sad that they have a reputation for it and still don’t seem to have done much to improve their quality assurance. Thankfully most of them were fixed by the time I actually sat down with the game. Even then there were still a few bugs which ranged from ones most people didn’t mind (being able to duplicate items), to ones that drove people crazy (the game not correctly tracking High Dragon kills to unlock achievements/trophies).
The gameplay and mechanics from Dragon Age 2 have been thrown out of the window for Dragon Age Inquisition. The game feels much closer to Origins in both it’s size and open world. The game still restricts you from areas until enough of the main story quest is progressed, but once and area is unlocked you’re free to move through it as you wish.
Each new area is packed with side quests, some that help the Inquisition, some that have no bearing on it whatsoever. For the most part these side quests are entirely optional. However each main story event must be unlocked with power points. The points are generated from doing side-quests, closing rifts, establishing camp sites, and a large array of other activities in the game. So while side-quests my be optional to a point, you will need to finish a few of them of your choosing to proceed with the main quest line.
Being something of a completionist, I felt compelled to finish every activity in each new area before progressing with the main story. It was at this point that I started to understand why the game was reportedly so long. With so many side activities to be done it sometimes feels as though you are drowning in quests. Even Skyrim didn’t make me feel that way. The whole time it just felt like the game had a lot of copy/paste side quests in each area to fill space and keep the game going longer. They could easily have cut out half of the side-quests and wouldn’t have lost anything.
Choice is always a central theme in any Bioware game, and Dragon Age Inquisition is no different. However while each Mass Effect game reads your console memory for save files on the previous titled to determine your choices, Dragon Age Inquisition did not. Instead of a simple questionnaire before the game started, Bioware created the Dragon Age Keep to enter all of your previous choices. I knew the site existed before hand but stubbornly opted to go with the default selections when I started Dragon Age Inquisition. I spent the rest of the game regretting it. Thankfully, Youtube has provided videos of the dialog that occurs when my choices were selected so it’s not a total loss. I would advise using the site however if you’ve yet to play the game yet.
Overall I did find the game to be quite enjoyable. Would I have given it game of the year? No. However Dragon Age Inquisition is the game we were all hoping for when we got Dragon Age 2. It has at the very least, given me hope again for future Bioware titles.