Dragon Age Inquisition was Totally Worth the Wait
Dragon Age Origins was an awesome game and Awakenings is still considered the best DLC/Expansion ever made. Critics agree and so do I. It is the benchmark for what all great expansions should try to measure up to. Dragon Age 2 kinda sucked, let's admit it. I was not a horrible game, but not great either.
Enter the long awaited sequel Dragon Age Inquisition! I have been EAGERLY awaiting this game and it delivered everything I expected from it and much, much more! No boring grey City scape like DA2. This is a beauftiful and rich world scape and VERY big. When I saw that Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor got game of the year on another game site I was stunned! (they were both vying for best PC game). In all fairness though, it was idiot critics that gave Mordor Game of the year.
The fans on that same game site voted this game, as game of the year by at least 24% over Shadow of Mordor. I got bored very quickly with the "so called" game of the year. I am not bored at all with this game! It is much more interesting from a story and depth of gameplay point of view. The depth of the story/lore is simply staggering.
Story and Gameplay
I am not going to go into the story too much in this review, because you can find that anywhere and this is going to be a long enough review as it is. I also don't want to spoil anything either. All I will say is that the story is a blend of the events from the two previous games to some extent, but with a new evil encounter with a character called Corypheus.
Breaches are his tool to this end, which evil creatures come out of. This where you come in. With your "mark" or power, you can close these "breaches" (kind of like Oblivion gates.) which you mysteriously aquired and don't know how due to amnesia. I've already said too much, so onto gameplay.
There is literally nothing not to like about this game, except the stupid "hold the right mouse button to look around while moving" which I have always hated about the DA interface. They stayed very true to form in this new game as well. Mouse look without button holding BioWare, c'mon!
At least now though, there is an option to "auto center camera to ground." which will point the camera basically straight ahead and when your movement keys are hit, your view automatically changes/centers. I LOVE that option, so I don't constantly have to have my finger on the right mouse button every time I turn. That sort of thing can get sore after a while and I hated that about the old Dragon Age games. I would prefer good old mouse look, like in every other game but this "Auto center camera" option is a very welcome addition!
Speaking of cameras and camera angles I found that there was a major improvement in that area over older Dragon Age games. The controls do feel more "comfortable", than the old controls from previous games, but I will make no secret of the fact that I was not a fan of their movement/combat interface to begin with and I am still not, although it is much better now for sure.
Characters and Dialogue
The dialogue is, in a word, amazing. Very well written and voiced. I am only so far into it (cause it's a huge world/game) and when BioWare bragged at how big the world was going to be, they were not kidding! It really is huge. So many places to go and environments.
The comic relief from your followers/party, keeps them interesting. A good thing, seeing as most followers in other games are quite annoying. The banter that goes on between followers/party members, is absolutely hilarious sometimes. Especially between Varric and Cassandra.
One of the most interesting parts for me so far in the storyline is how the NPC's respond to you. Let me explain. I am a Kunari character. When I talk to people in the game, they not only refer to me as a Kunari (no big deal, cause it has been around for a long time in games) but it's "how" they respond/interact to you within the context of the main story that impressed me.
Each class/race has dialogue written specially for them and it is game wide! That is a lot of extra writing and voice acting. Kudos to BioWare for effort on that one! The whole direction of a conversation can change based on your race or traits, not just your answers. It has feeling and does not sound "scripted" or "robotic". This helps the progression and fluidity of the story more than you might think. It "makes" you want to help them. It is seamlessly executed.
Varric is back along with some of your other past favorite characters, like Cassandra, so that made it feel very familiar and the engine does too. It's not too much of a departure from the older Dragon Age games, it's just way better!
Combat and Game Mechanics
The combat is quite typical of older Dragon Age games, only much improved too and not just in the graphics dept. The tactical view (top down) and 3rd person views both feel "smoother" and more responsive than they once did. The same but different, if that makes any sense. So, from that standpoint it will not disappoint old Dragon Age fans or newer ones either. It only gets better it seems!
The Boss battles are quite epic, intense and fun! All the old capabilities of the older engines are there too, like being able to switch party characters on the fly. Unfortunately, I have to take away a point for lame bow mechanics, which DA has always suffered from and it does not seem to have improved much.
There is another aspect to this game that deserves mention as it make this game rather unique to other Dragon Age games and RPG games in general. I really like it. It's called the War Table and it is in the War Room. This adds a nice touch of strategy to the game and was something I found refreshing. I am not into Strategy) games much, but this is "just enough" of that style to make the game that much more interesting.
The war table is basically your world map divided into Ferelden and Orlais and in order to be more successful in your questing, using this map (by spending your Power points which are basically "influence" points) you can use your political, military and spying (as well as Inquisition) perks to open new areas of the map for questing and to tip the scales of power in whatever way you see fit.
It is a really nice addition to the game that adds a real "thinking" aspect to this RPG that I have not done before. I can sometimes spend quite a while at this table, pondering what next move would be best, given my current situation. This is one of the reasons this game gets such high marks from me. They really gave this game depth and originality. I have seen some people criticize this game for different things, including this, but really, in my opinion, they are overly spoiled and don't know a great game system when they see one. There are many things to love in this game, many.
Overall, it is a fantastic effort that in my opinion beats the "game of the year winner" I mentioned earlier. The music is great (the main theme song is one of those ones you can listen to for long periods, without getting deathly sick of it.)
The graphics are well done. In fact, I can't just say it's a pretty looking game, (even though it is) but it's dark dungeons or regal city areas are very "mood setting" too. There is great attention paid to the overall feel of each environment and it does not feel fake or randomly generated. It feels more hand placed and the lighting and shadows are fantastic in this game.
When the release of the game was delayed for a almost a month, I thought "Good!" at least it won't be a mess, like some games. The final product shows the extra polish too! I have had no critical game breaking bugs except one that involves turning off the online options because the game kept crashing to desktop with no error.
After a 5 min. Google search, I found a tip that said to turn off the Origin options in game. So basically any online options like "share game stats" online etc. there are 3 of them, uncheck all 3 boxes. Problem solved. Besides the odd graphical glitch (people sticking half-in and half out of the ground) and the odd weird camera angle it is realtively bug free. In a nutshell, it plays well overall and feels very fluid and smooth engine wise, not clunky.
The inventory and skills screens feel very much like other Dragon Age games but again, it feels improved/better. Everything in this game feels classic but better from every standpoint. If you want a large world and interesting game play, that can keep you going for hours, this is it. It makes me want to explore and progress. A very good thing in my gaming book!