First Impressions: “Dragon Age: Inquisition” (Wrap-up)

on November 28, 2014 in Dragon Age: Inquisition, First Impressions, Reviews

As with most games, Dragon Age: Inquisition has its good points and bad points. Clunky inventory and frustrating combat controls probably head the list of bad points. Neither of those is a deal-breaker, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind if you’re considering whether or not to purchase it. Players who use a gamepad may or may not experience some of the same issues.

Taken as a whole, it’s an extremely enjoyable game. The 87/100 it has garnered at Metacritic (PC version) is pretty darned close to where I’d have rated it in a full-blown review. I’m impressed with its adherence to existing lore, happy to see the return of some NPCs from earlier games, and generally having a good time with it. Gameplay is closer to what I recall of DA2 than DAO. This will not sit well with some players (witness the borderline flame-war going on in the user reviews), won’t bother others and will likely not matter one way or the other to players who are new to the franchise.

Whether the game will turn out to be mod-able is an open question. There are a few headaches on the PC version that could be fixed with an appropriate mod and I’m hoping that they will be. Bioware’s track record on fixing gameplay issues isn’t stellar, although they have been good at fixing game-breaking bugs in a timely fashion. The multiplayer aspect of the game (which I have not messed with) may have some bearing on whether it can be modded, but I don’t know enough to comment one way or the other on its likelihood.

Graphically, the game is superb and can strain even a high-end system, so I’m expecting that it will be around for a long while to come. I am still chuckling over a few of the NPC beards and a couple of minor collision mesh issues and doubt that either of these will be repaired by the developers. And once again, I’m back to mod-ability, so let’s move on.

The sound is excellent, the music fits and is not overbearing. Voice acting is superb. Players may choose from two voices for their character, one with a British accent and one American. My character is using the British voice and she is absolutely marvelous. Ambient sound adds real atmosphere to the world. Major kudos to the sound team.

The storyline is interesting, if not exceptionally engaging. It’s typical heroic fantasy fare: the world as we know it will end if the player doesn’t jump in and do something about it. Side quests, though, are a mixed bag. Lots of little human touches, like stumbling over an undelivered letter and then needing to find its intended recipient, make the experience more personal for the player. Then there are the usual fetch-and-carry kinds of stuff that tend to be the meat and potatoes of most adventure games. Each of your party members also has a personal quest of some sort. Varric would like to destroy all of the Red Lyrium that you come across, for example. Fulfilling those requests will improve your relationship with that character. Failing to complete those quests will likely have a negative impact somewhere down the road. This is really nothing new; Bioware did the same with Mass Effect 2 and 3, for example, as well as similar missions in Origins.

The writing is done well. Missions won’t stick in your memory for very long once they are completed (most are rather generic), but NPCs are believable and mostly sympathetic, so your interactions with them likely will be memorable. I haven’t kicked off any major romances options yet, since I’m still with the original three party members. But I’ve discovered that Leliana is still in love with my original Warden (who is still out there somewhere according to my imported world state) and plans to join her as soon as the immediate crisis is resolved. That was a very touching conversation, at least from my end. Leaving aside the ME3 ending, Bioware knows how to tell a story well and Inquisition seems to be no exception in this regard.

I purchased the Digital Deluxe Edition (about $70) rather than just the basic game. As far as I can tell, the extras amount to some weapons and armor and a copy of the soundtrack. I’m not certain that it was worth the extra or not, but since that difference is only $10, I’m not going to gripe much or very loudly. I do, however, expect to be nickel-and-dimed to death on additional content somewhere down the line (we’re talking Bioware and EA here). As far as I am concerned, it has been and likely will continue to be worth the pricetag (I’m noting that there have been no “Black Friday” discounts on it). If you’re into Dragon Age, you’ve likely already purchased it. If you’re not, but are on the fence about whether to get it or not, I’d recommend the basic game ($60 at this time) and then decide whether or not you want any additional content once you’ve had a chance to experience it for yourself. If you’re into Fantasy RPGs, you could do a lot worse for your money.

Happy Gaming!

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