Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4, 2014)

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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!

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9 thoughts on “Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4, 2014)”

  1. I’m 8 hours in and just got out of the Hinterlands, so I’ll probably crack your 30 hour total playthrough. I have actually been reading all the flavour text on scrolls and books and also when you “claim” an area – they put a lot into it, if you stop to smell the roses. OR elfroot, or whatever collectible you may or may not feel like collecting =)

    I think there needs to be more games like these. (I’m not far enough in to make a review, obviously) but the trilogy epic RPGs are the only place where you can get a full and epic storyline that has history and spans years of gametime. You can’t get that anywhere else.

    Agree in most cases, the writing can be much improved. I can’t quite recall now, and its been so long, but I think I really enjoyed the KOTOR series writing.

    Maybe I was just young and foolish, compared to the old and foolish I am now.

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    1. I dunno if I want more series like this. My problem with epic fantasy is that most of the length comes from unnecessarily bloating the text with cliches or other nonsense.

      This is also why I think The Hobbit is a far superior book to The Lord of the Rings.

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      1. Hobbit was awesome. I agree that they could make more of it Epic and less of it WoW-quest like. Baby steps, I hope. Still, the Lord of the Rings movies gave you a lot to look forward to, even though it was over the top action. Hell, Mass Effect (which I know never did grab you, if I recall your comments from other places…) besides the ending, was an epic run through the galaxy. They got a lot right with that game, and made it better each time (again, except the ending).

        The problem with DA:I is that The did good with DA:O, bad with DA:2, and then back to good with DA:I – but had no strong ties between the three. If my Grey Warden (or ghost of it..) from my DA:O run shows up in all of his glory that would be an epic moment and awesome gaming memory. Triology RPGS allow you to own those moments, if done right.

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          1. People yes, me and my character – no =) Having the story centered around my hero (like Mass Effect) is what I meant =)

            Greedy, I know.

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  2. Just started playing this Saturday after having it since Christmas. Probably shy of eight hours at the moment.

    I’m really enjoying it though. I tried to get in to Origins, but the combat always sucked me out of it because I just wasn’t having fun. Never put more than a handful of hours into Origins on a few separate occasions, and never bothered getting Dragon Age 2.

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