First Impressions: “Dragon Age: Inquisision” (Part II)

on November 26, 2014 in Dragon Age: Inquisition, First Impressions, Reviews

Continuing on with my adventures in Thedas, I’m still reasonably impressed with the game’s quality and adherence to Dragon Age lore. I’m assuming that a Dalish Mage is now irrelevant as a sizeable chunk of Templars now view any mage as being an apostate (which is what a Dalish Mage would have been in DAO and DA2), so they tend to attack on sight.

Similar problems as before continue, although no crashes, thankfully. Camera controls in combat are a bit of a problem, especially when trying to close Fade Rifts that are above the player. It’s very difficult to see when and whether it’s possible to disrupt or close them, even in Tactical view. At one point, I ended up with three out of four party members dead simply because I couldn’t see the status of the rift without moving away from the encounter zone. Nor sure whether this is intentional or simply a design oversight, but it’s certainly a pain in the ass.

Questing around in the Hinterlands gave me a chance to extensively check out the map functions. On the whole, it’s pretty straightforward. It seems that only one quest at a time can be active (unlike Skyrim,where all quest locations can be showing on the map at the same time). It keeps things a bit neater, but also requires frequently checking back in the journal to keep track of where you’re going and why you’re going there.

The automap is pretty standard fare. Fog-of-war blanks most of the parts of the map until you have physically traveled to those areas. I have not found any way to turn map icons off and, upon consideration, am not certain that doing so would be a good idea. Since the game doesn’t tell you where you need to go (it’s just out there somewhere), you’d just be stumbling around blindly in the hope finding the correct location to do whatever it is that you need to do. Icons for quests that have not been encountered do appear and a lot of them are just a lone person standing in the wilderness; something you’d never notice unless you happened to be near them. I can think of slicker ways to do the same thing, but it’s an improvement over earlier games, so I’m not griping about it.

Fast-travel within major areas seems to be pretty much limited to getting back to or between camps. On the whole, I find it a good compromise. Since you’re only allowed to carry 8 healing potions for the whole party and your potions can only be restocked at a camp, it’s a practical approach to the problem. There is enough hoofing around that everyone will have ample opportunity to enjoy the scenery.

Inventory management isn’t much improved over DAO. Barring expending a perk point to increase carry weight, the whole party will be covered by a single allowance. For my character, that’s a flat 80. But like DAO, that’s not 80 pounds. It seems to be 80 items (stacks seem to count as a single item and ingredients don’t seem to count at all). Since I’m a mage, I don’t have perks that increase my carrying capacity, so that appears to be my limit for the rest of the game.

Gold seems to be somewhat plentiful, but not enough so that I can buy everything that I want. Cashing in loot is just about the same as for DAO: schlep it back to some merchant and unload what you don’t want to keep. I don’t know if Inqusition will turn out to be modable in the same way that DAO And DA2 were. If it turns out to be, I’m expecting to see something along the lines of the Utility Sack appear on the Nexus fairly quickly (because inventory is really clunky).

I’ve reached a point where party members have begun to banter with each other (I’m still with the three you start with). Voicing is very well done. Each NPC has a distinct personality and Varric is pretty much the same as from DA2, still a bit of a cynic, and will likely become just as annoying as he did in DA2. On the whole, though, I like him. Major kudos to the devs for lightening the atmosphere.

Crafting is a fairly simple activity. Most weapons and armor can be improved through the addition of bits and pieces that you can find or purchase here and there. They must be taken to a crafting station to be added to the item and there is only one such station at this point in my game. I suspect that others will appear as I expand accessible areas, so it’s not going to be too much of a hassle. Potions are craftable at any Inquisition camp, though. At least that’s what I’m seeing, but take that with a grain of salt as it’s still very early in the game (I’m currently Level 5 and am still working through the first area that I could access).

Quest grinding is going to be a major activity for most players. Lots of short quests involving a lot of running around looking for stuff. And there are plenty of them to do, so don’t be expecting a short game. I’m still on the fence on whether most of these are necessary or not, but they certainly add to the play time and completionists will be at this for a long, long, long time.

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