Bioware’s latest epic RPG sat on my shelf or in my PS4 for a couple months before any of it clicked with me. I had no hype for the game coming into its launch since my last three games from Bioware haven’t really won me over (Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect). The idea of an open world Bioware game, however, tricked me into thinking that this would be the game where I fell in love with Bioware again.
Only, trying to fall back in love with an ex is almost always a disaster.
From the get go, I hated the lead into Inquisition. I never played the second game and I barely remember the first. Many of the terms and concepts being thrown at me were familiar enough, but it felt a bit like a bad fantasy novel. There wasn’t really any lead into the actions. If Dragon Age: Origins had anything worth emulating, it would be the games unique background beginnings for different characters. I loved that as it gave me time to feel invested in the world, but also to understand where my character was coming from. Outside of a paragraph during character creation, Inquisition doesn’t have anything close to a starting point, and I feel the game suffers greatly for it. My character felt too much like a blank slate with zero history, motivation, etc., and his expedient rise to importance within the story felt even more cliched and dull than some of the cheesiest fantasy novels I have read.
I persevered, and though the Hinterlands offered its own additional anguish to the game’s early goings, I am glad I did. By no means is Dragon Age: Inquisition a bad game. There’s a lot to love – characters, lore, class design – and a lot to do. It is one of the most content rich games I have played in a long time. Though I avoided getting into the combat at all costs, the abilities were much improved from those in Dragon Age: Origins. It wouldn’t be for me, but I can see why someone might fall in love with this game just to explore the deeper nuances of its combat systems on a harder difficulty with an inkling to slaughter dragons.
There was also a lot for me to hate. I won’t go into heavy spoilers, but the story’s villain and the overall plot was a letdown for me. There are some background things going on that come to full light after the credits have rolled, but that just makes me feel like Bioware wanted to play it safe and be as generic as possible while also having the cool lore bits in their pocket for later.
It can be very hard for me to define the amount of fun I had with a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition. I get why the series (and Bioware) continue to have huge fans who put hundreds of hours into their games. I was fine with my 30+ and no replay though. When I play a Bioware game, I expect it to be so much more and I want it to be as revolutionary as so many reviewers, bloggers, and friends say it is, but that’s never the case for me. Their games feel formulaic and its a formula I have gone through enough times already. They continue to make interesting new worlds and put amazing characters in them, but I feel pretty done with making a series of “this or that” major decisions and deciding which NPC I want to fuck this go-round. The “open world” aspects of Dragon Age: Inquisition added absolutely nothing of interest to the formula and in many ways detracted (don’t ask me to do MMO-style gathering, dammit) from the experience.
You’ll likely enjoy Dragon Age: Inquisition, but one speedy run through was more than enough for me!