Dragon Age: Inquisition Review – This RPG (Role Playing Game) from Bioware (published by Electronic Arts) is not all about dragons, though you’ll end up fighting a few along the way. I played and enjoyed the previous Dragon Age: Origins (back in 2009) and its sequel, Dragon Age II (in 2011) so when Dragon Age: Inquisition was announced, I was really excited and hopeful. We haven’t had a great RPG to play for a long while.
With the hypes surrounding the official launch of the game, a mix of fear and hope hang upon the air. In the end, however, the wait is definitely worth it. Dragon Age: Inquisition, in my opinion, surpasses its predecessors and brings an unforgettable experience to storytelling and massive open world. Only one word can describe the game: Epic.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – Design & Graphics
Powered by Frostbite 3 (which makes the Dragon Age: Inquisition the first RPG ever made with this engine), the game looks beautiful in every angle. The characters (especially the armor and piece of clothing they wear) look gorgeous during conversations and cutscenes, beautiful landscape distracts your journey with waterfalls and fluffy animals, and everything else is simply beautiful to ponder. I thought the combat was too colorful when I looked at the screenshots, but it’s not really the case after you play it. Colors are assigned with purpose, so you know who did what (ex: green for poison effects, red for fire, and so on).
Like any other Bioware RPG games, you start by creating your own character – gender, race, and class. There are definitely no right classes or races here, but your selections will affect some of the dialogues in the game.
Don’t be scared to pick a class that you like, because in my experience, every class has its own merits. You will also be able to bring 3 companions from different classes to combat anyway so they can complement what your character does not have. Later on, you can further specialise in the class that you pick during character creation.
I did spend a long time thinking whether I have made the right character, even after playing the game for a couple of hours. The number of choices you can make with the character creation are endless, messing with your mind with even trivial things: “I think I’ve made my lips a little too big”; “I should have picked the moustache”. These hard-to-make decisions don’t just stop at character creation and will come later during the game.
The game world is massive in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Really massive. You will be traveling from one area to another (lust forests, dessert, etc) and marveling at the wondrous worlds. There are always tons of things to do but they don’t feel tiring and overwhelming (even if some are quite repetitive). Quest markers and locations of interests are marked on the map with clear symbols. They are also neatly organised based on the area you are in, so you don’t feel like looking at this massive list of things-to-do.
I spent about 12 hours at the starting area alone, only to realise that Bioware knows about this “completionist” problem and encourages players to move on and get out of the starting area to experience the real wonders of the game. The starting area itself, Hinterlands, actually covers more area than Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 combined. Crazy, huh?
Dragon Age: Inquisition – Story
I definitely don’t want to spoil any, because it’s one the reasons why I wanted to play the Inquisition. Suffice to say, due to unfortunate and pressing events, you are being chosen to close the appearing rifts where demons can go through and lead the Inquisition organisation in game. As always, there are twists and stories behind all these.
Dragon Age: Inquisition tells a great and beautiful story. If you take your time listening to the dialogues, asking every possible questions, and reading all scrolls and books, you’ll realise how deep and vast the game is.
I would totally recommend reading Kotaku’s beginner guide to Dragon Age, even if you have played the first 2 games. The guide will explain the rich and massive lore in Dragon Age universe in simpler terms that you can understand. You need to know these if you want to enjoy the game to the fullest (or alternatively, read the Codex and books scattered in the game itself).
I’d also recommend to create your saved state using the Dragon Age Keep tool. The tool will explain what’s been happening so far in the Dragon Age universe (from Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age II) and the decisions that you made during the prequels (you can make and save them with this tool). Dragon Age: Inquisition make many references to the events and characters from the prequels, so you do need to know what’s been happening or you will get lost from the start. Even if you’ve played the prequels before (and keep the save games to load into Inquisition), I strongly suggest to give the Keep a go to refresh your memory.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game Experience
I’m sure you have probably read or watched many other reviews about gameplay and the combat system, so I don’t really want to talk about them in detail and repeat what you already know. In short, the combat is fun, yet challenging at higher difficulty levels. If you don’t need a challenge and just want to enjoy the story (while still having fun and challenging boss battles), stick to the Normal difficulty.
Some suggest to use a controller to play Dragon Age: Inquisition on the PC, but I find that a mouse + a keyboard are fine (just have to re-map some of the default keys). Combat are real-time but you can also go into tactical combat mode – where you can assign commands to your companions in an overhead view. On Normal difficulty, you’ll rarely use it except during tough fights like fighting my first dragon:
or my third:
What I like most about Dragon Age: Inquisition is the amount of lore and story the team has put in. They are simply massive. According to my reviewers’ fact sheet, there are more than 80,000 lines of dialogues with great voice-acting and about 1,000,000 words in the game! Alas, you’ll probably not going to experience or hear some of them while you are playing. Depending on the paths you choose and which companions you bring with you, some dialogue lines will be closed. A pity, considering how much effort the team has put in these. However, it’s a great excuse to replay the whole game once you’ve finished with it, right?
Dragon Age: Inquisition – an Inquisitor
Being an Inquisitor is like a king of some sort. You’ll have people to command under you, agents to send, and people to judge. Every time you complete a quest or persuade someone to join your Inquisition, you gain power and influence. These are fun elements in game and bring purpose to every little thing you do (than to simply level up your characters).
You’ll gain Inquisition Perks when you gain enough influence that you can use to further improve your abilities, among other things. You can craft weapons, armors, and runes (to be attached to your weapon and armor) by harvesting plants, leathers, and minerals. There are reasons why you should stab a wild bear or a helpless ram while you are walking up and about.
Dragon Age: Inquisition Review Conclusion
\There are just so much to tell, so much to share. Dragon Age: Inquisition is simply massive and epic. I’ve played for almost 40 hours now and I’m barely scratching the surface. I think I still have a half way more to go to finish the game, but I don’t want to. I want to enjoy completing every single thing in this enormous world: romancing my companions with different background stories worth poking into, and killing every dragons and giants to prove my superiority.
So far, I’ve only encountered minor glitches and bugs and they are expected for a game this massive. They are patchable, however, and not a show stopper.
Memorable cutscenes, dialogues, characters, music scores, and fights (such as killing my first dragon) will stick in my head for many nights to come as I return to the world of Thedas once more and save the world from extinction. There are lots of things to do in Dragon Age: Inquisition and so many things to accomplish and achieve, like killing that Giant ahead of you. But wait, just spotted an Elfroot plant nearby. Have…to….pick it up..
Disclosure: Review license was provided for the review. All opinions are mine