Dragon Age Inquisition has arrived at last, riding a massive hype train last seen ferrying the likes of Destiny and Watch Dogs. Such hype trains can easily turn in to flaming wrecks when the game they’re carrying can’t deliver on its promise, so let’s see what Dragon Age Inquisition brings to the table in this First Opinion.
The story, which I won’t go in to detail on here, basically sees your created avatar (formed from a combination of four races, three classes and – obviously – two genders) charged with leading an Inquisition on a world-spanning quest to bring peace to warring factions and close a huge breach in the sky that wants to let every demon in the Fade (the nether-y dream world of Dragon Age) into Thedas. You get this job due to you having a mark on your hand that has shown the ability to close fade rifts, and it is a great way to encourage you to go out and explore the huge world of Dragon Age Inquisition, searching for said rifts.
The world you explore is more Skyrim than Dragon Age 2 with large open areas to explore instead of linear corridor crawls of DA2. I have seen snowy hills, wooded cliffs and stormy beaches, and they all look great. The fact that you’re able to climb over hills and off of the beaten path makes the worlds seem larger than they really are. Not only are the worlds fairly large, they are incredibly packed with content. I was, at times, paralyzed with too many options as my map bristled with quest markers.
My favorite NPC companions I have so far encountered include Varrick (the smooth talking dwarf from Dragon Age 2), Iron Bull (a massive, straight-to-the-point Qunari warrior) and Sera (a blunt, smart-mouth elven rogue), and in proper Dragon Age – and by extension, BioWare – tradition, the back and forth banter between your party members is one of the highlights. A particular exchange I laughed out loud at was Sera asking Iron Bull about the women of his people. As he explained their role in society, she said, no, she wanted to know if they were all huge like him. His response? “Oh. S*** yeah.” Her chuckle after that was priceless.
The overall combat is slower that Dragon Age 2, but rather than feeling more tactical, it just feels like you’re pounding on damage sponges. There is little you can do when an enemy rears back for a massive attack other than sit there and get hit, and positioning only really matters on some giant enemies like dragons and foes with large shields, who require flanking. What never ceases to amaze me is when I get an enemy down to next to no health but just can’t seem to knock of that last tick of HP. This happens way too often, where the last dregs of enemy HP take far longer to drain than the rest of the bar, and the results feel clumsy.
Speaking of clumsy, let’s talk about the PC controls. Overall the mouse and keyboard work well, but interacting with things in the environment is not well implemented – especially fade rifts. You have to pan the camera up to see them, but doing so is restricted by the ground, resulting in a minor hassle as you try to finagle the camera up enough to see the rift so you can click on it. This is also a pain when you’re trying to pick up the countless loot drops from enemies after a large fight. I would have preferred a simple ‘interact with nearby object’ key.
Being only about a dozen hours in to Dragon Age Inquisition, there is a lot left for me to see. So far, though, I think that this may be my favorite Dragon Age yet, control complaints and all. That’s saying something as Dragon Age Origins won our game of the year award back in 2009 and Dragon Age 2 was a runner up in 2011. Look for our full review in the coming weeks.