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Dragon Age: Inquisition

By drcoolio34522-01-2015
Dragon Age: Inquisition

The Defence

Electronic Arts
Action, Adventure, Role Playing
Release Date:
US 07-10-2014
EU 10-10-2014

The Prosecution

Intel Core i5 3.0 GHz
AMD FX 3.2 GHz
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
AMD Radeon R9 270
8 GB
26 GB
10, 11

The Case

The most important playable character in Dragon Age history, leading the largest crew of companions in Dragon Age history, exploring the most expansive environments in Dragon Age history. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Despite its undeniable feats, the question still stands: is Inquisition the thrilling adventure that Origins was? Or should we add the dullest game in Dragon Age history to the list?

The Trial

In a word, Inquisition is dense. Really dense. Like Skyrim dense. From the environments to dialogue options to the text spread around through letters, diaries, and tips, Inquisition has content littered throughout all of Ferelden and Orlais just waiting for you to uncover.



Pulling again from the Skyrim comparison, the mere fact of just how much stuff there is to do is thrilling. Everywhere you go there are rifts to close, materials to gather, dungeons to explore, levels to gain, loot to find, and so much more. The continent of Thedas is your oyster, albeit a demon infested mess of an oyster.

To go along with the size, you're no longer some random adventurer, but the inquisitor, a powerful political and military figure, and as such you have an entire army at your command. You can control your forces in the war room, assigning them tasks, missions, and quests that result in anything from simple gold or resources to new mount to ride on. You're not just stabbing your way through to the end of the game (though there is plenty of stabbing), you're attending political parties, delivering justice from the Inquisition's throne, and talking to the Queen of Orlais to talk about matters that impact entire races of people.

With all this gravitas about what you're doing around every turn, you would think that Inquisition would have a much better story, making it even more depressing that it doesn't. The Inquisition, in the most literal sense, is trying to stop all of humanity from being destroyed...but before that you have to go get mama's ring from a couple of bandits because side-quests are now mandatory.

Gotta close it, but first I've got to find mama's ring.

Gotta close it, but first I've got to find mama's ring.

The largest failing of Inquisition is its story. There's plenty of politics, twists, memorable characters, and everything that should make for a good story, but completing side-quests are the only way to get "power," Inquisition's only resource that allows for plot progression. Each zone has at least one interesting quest line, but the main way you'll be getting power are from fetch quests, "kill __ amount of enemies," and "claim all 18 locations" type quests. They're boring, trivial, and most unfortunately of all, take away from a narrative that could have been good if it wasn't interrupted by having to collect rocks for study in every zone.

Dialogue and choices are more sore-spots for Inquisition. Despite having the most characters of any Dragon Age game by far, choices have never felt so meaningless. Besides your companions occasionally "approving" or "disapproving" your actions and an ending cinematic recapping your choices that might as well be BioWare saying "see? we were paying attention!", they have no long-term affect in-game save a line of dialogue or two.

Inquisition may play like an RPG with its party members and dialogue, but feels more like an MMO with its endless questing, huge environments, and lack of opportunities for the player to change the ultimate ending. But just like an MMO, its gameplay is addictive, immensely repayable, and carries the game until the end. Whether you're a warrior, rogue, or mage, combat is fun, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend hours crafting gear for every member of my team just to boost those damage numbers that pop off of enemies after every attack.

Ravines, horses, and dimensional demon portals, what else could you need?

Ravines, horses, and dimensional demon portals, what else could you need?

Whether you play a rogue that dashes behind enemies to dish out enormous amounts of damage or a mage that starts up the tactical camera to issue commands to each party member individually to maximize efficiency, combat is enjoyable to the end, especially during big fights. While you might not be able to take on dragons or giants when you start, those battles are epic in scale and prove just how fun Inquisition's combat can be when all the stops are pulled out. Combine the class based combat with "specializations" that give each class another entire tree of abilities to choose from and you've got a justification for multiple playthroughs on the combat alone.

Playing with the tactical camera does slow down the game quite a bit, but in exchange you turn a standard encounter into something a bit more strategic. Instead of diving into combat head-first and mashing button X until enemy Y is dead, you can freeze time and tell your companions where to go, what ability to use, and set up combos that do extra damage when done in the right sequence. While you can play the game in either mode, the tactical camera is incredibly useful (if not a bit slower) during big fights against things like dragons where your companions can make the judgment that they would rather warm up in the Dragon’s fire breath than moving to the side.

Speaking about companions, they’re pretty good looking guys and gals, and so is the world around you. Being the triple-A game that Inquisition is, they’ve made everything around you beautiful if not a bit different than the previous DA. Trees look like trees, rocks look like rocks, and everything looks like what it is, except for hair. Hair, for whatever reason, is the greasiest looking hair that has ever existed in any game ever.

The war table: Now with more pieces than Risk!

The war table: Now with more pieces than Risk!

Sound design however is great when it needs to be. While most the sounds in Dragon Age come from combat or ambiance, cutscenes and boss fights are different. When that triumphant music comes on and your character draws their sword you know something good is about to go down. The music just conveys the proper amount of “epicness” that needs portraying at any given time.

Regarding the choice of weather to play it on keyboard or gamepad for PC players, the game was pretty clearly made for gamepad. It’s entirely playable on keyboard to be sure just like all of the other DA games are, but don’t be surprised if your fingers get a good workout reaching across the keyboard for healing potions or calling your mount.

Before concluding, I have to talk about the famous BioWare romances though. Yes it's there, yes it's as awkward as ever, and oh my god have you seen that Iron Bull gay romance? It's hilarious and written like a bad sitcom. If you're planning to romance any of the characters, I'll just say that I'm waiting for the Dragon Age dating simulator, because there is some great writing for every romance I've seen so far. It may not be a lot of the game, but what's there is entertaining to say the least.

Oh Iron Bull, always drinking, always killing. Can't wait to romance you.

Oh Iron Bull, always drinking, always killing. Can't wait to romance you.

And as a final note, there’s a wonderful online co-op mode. It’s not a multiplayer that warrants buying the game just for it like in shooters, but it’s a nice feature with procedurally-generated dungeons that allows for even more adventuring with close friends.

The Verdict

It's a shame that Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't the game it could have been given some more time and plot development, but its solid gameplay is enough to carry it for its entire length of dozens of hours at the minimum. While the story drags and minor bugs are there, combat, crafting, and politics in the realm of Thedas and beyond have never been as developed as they are in Inquisition. While Dragon Age: Origins remains, at least in my book, the best entry in the series, Inquisition is a close second, and works marvels for the Dragon Age universe through its open world, expansive lore, and fast combat.

Case Review

  • Combat: It's fast, it's flashy, and there's enough class customization to make it personal to each character.
  • Crafting: Hours were loved and lost just gathering materials to build the best equipment possible.
  • World: BioWare isn't new to open worlds, and Inquisition shows their experience.
  • Romance & Online: Not reasons to buy the game on their own, but they’re icing on the cake and shockingly entertaining in their own right.
  • Writing: Talking with companions and lovers can be hilarious and engaging, but the Inquisitor's is boring, and doesn't offer the choices or dialogue that Origins had.
  • Story: Diluted with side-quests, further worsened by a forgettable antagonist, and not given the time it needed to build.
Score: 4/5
Play it for the world, finish it for the combat, play it again for more world.
Comments (1)
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Posts: 120

So far I haven't found combat to be that good and the camera and controls are infuriating. I've decided to stop playing until the game gets patched and DLC'd.