PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows
November 18, 2014 (North America)
November 21, 2014 (Europe)
You are the only one who can stop demons flooding into the land of Thedas. A cataclysmic event plunges the land of Thedas into turmoil. Dragons darken the sky, casting a shadow of terror over a once-peaceful kingdom. Mages break into all-out war against the oppressive Templars. Nations rise against one another. It falls to you and your party of legendary heroes to restore order as you lead the Inquisition, hunting down the agents of chaos.
With the ongoing EA sale on Xbox One, I figured I would chime in with a few words about one of the discounted games, Dragon Age: Inquisition. So in this article, I’m going to give my first impressions of the game after having played around six hours of it. This is in no way a definitive say on whether the game is good or not. This is not a review. But there are some things to say that could help you understand whether or not Inquisition is a game you’d like to buy.
Now, fair warning, I have never played a Dragon Age game before this one. If we’re going to be technical, I did play Dragon Age: Origins for a few minutes when it came out before deciding I’d get something else. Looking back, I can’t quite remember what I didn’t like about the game, but I trust my past self enough to believe perhaps the Dragon Age franchise hadn’t fully fleshed out their ideas and mechanics into what I assume Inquisition came to be. And that’s sort of the overall impression I get from this game: After having not played the two previous entries in the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition feels like the polished version of what Bioware had in mind all along. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the developers didn’t drastically change things up for this most recent game, but even if they did, what they ended up with is certainly a game worth buying.
If Bioware has spent all this time tweaking and perfecting the series’ gameplay and features, then I don’t think it is unreasonable to compare The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with Dragon Age: Inquisition. I don’t mean to imply that they are two games doing the same thing, but rather that Skyrim was an entry in a series that built upon and improved the features established in the games prior to it. Inquisition seems to have done this as well, although I couldn’t say for sure because, again, I haven’t played the previous two entries. This game does a fantastic job of simultaneously feeling like both a console RPG and a vast MMO. I know I wasn’t initially sold on the combat system (more on that in a bit), but once the world opens up and you get to explore, everything seems to fall into place. I started off with a single storyline quest, but seeing as how I was just thrown into a very large mountain range, I decided to explore. I found an abandoned house and ransacked it because, well, free money. Inside the house’s only chest I discovered a letter from a husband asking his wife to meet him in a safer place. Surprise! The wife was dead. But the important thing is that randomly searching a house initiated a sidequest that added not only play time to the game, but also a sense of true discovery.
Dragon Age: Inquisition has a lot of this. Nearly everywhere I went, there was another quest to take on, a vein of iron to mine, an Elfroot to pick, a landmark to discover, an outpost to settle, a group of wizards and knights to annihilate… The game is simply overflowing with things to do. I don’t know if the other Dragon Age games attained this level of play value (I sincerely hope they did so that I may enjoy them), but even if they didn’t, Inquisition did.
The only aspect of the game that I was unsure of (but slowly growing to appreciate) is the combat system. I chose to play as an archer, the greatest archer in the land. The combat is a two-fold system that allows the player to battle like normal, use a pseudo-RTS plan-out-your-attacks system, or a combination of both. I started out fighting like I would in most games: fire my arrows and occasionally use my abilities in real time without switching to a stop-and-go strategy system. However, a significant part of the combat in the game is your chosen party and using them in tandem to turn the tides of battle. One of my qualms with the combat was that my character moved rather slowly when aiming. There’s no running around and dodging between arrow shots here like in Skyrim (as far as I know). You stick to your guns and fire away. This made me feel sluggish and encumbered unnecessarily, but I discovered that while playing this way is certainly an option, you’re far more likely to succeed if you take control of your party members and try and devise a strategy for each battle. The AI do a pretty good job on their own, but giving them some guidance can definitely help.
I don’t have much to say about the story so far considering I haven’t gotten more than an hour or so into it, but I don’t currently have anything bad to report, so at least there’s that. The voice acting is good, the writing and plot are interesting and done well. The textures can be a bit iffy here and there, but nothing major. In short, Dragon Age: Inquisition does a lot of things right. Some of the mechanics can be a bit sticky, but overall, everything that is required to make a good game is snugly in place. Regardless of whether you’re a Dragon Age veteran or a newcomer such as myself, I feel comfortable in recommending you pick up Inquisition, especially while it’s cheaper than usual.