Published on November 19th, 2014 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Summary: The long-awaited third game to the third-person RPG series finally made it to our consoles! Created by the same team behind the Mass Effect trilogy, this fantasy game has gone through a major overhaul to expand its world and compete with the epic Skyrim machine.
Concept: A large number of dimensional breaches have opened in the land of Fereldin, giving demons an express tunnel into your world, and only you have the power to close them. The premise is good but it hasn’t been delivered with the same excellence that Bioware is famous for. What has improved is the customization depth of your character, and it’s great being able to select your race again, between Human, Dwarf, Elf and Qunari. There’s so much variable banter in this game that even your race and class affects the way characters respond to you, as well as the direction of the narrative.
Graphics: Let’s face it, the graphics have never been a strength of this series. Here, the visuals have been remarkably improved, with much deeper textures and character detail. The most notable improvements are the world you play in, which has expanded massively. Each area is unique with tiered terrains and cliffs, and a mix of direct paths and huge, open sandbox areas. Compared to before the game looks very renovated, but there’s still lingering issues with the choppy frame rate during conversations and cutscenes, which eat a big portion of the game.
Gameplay: The role-playing tactics are easier to manage than from before. It keeps the fast-paced action of Dragon Age 2, but presents you with a more tactical camera angle when you timeout the game to allocate your commands. I think I would have preferred a return to the more traditional turn-based methods of Dragon Age: Origins, but this is well executed too. I also would have liked a bit more variety from the skill trees, more control of my stat allocations, and to get a bit more of that RPG feel back.
Sound: We’ve got to give a hearty applause for all the dialogue and conversations in this game, which never repeats itself over the lengthy course of the game. Your party members will banter amongst each other while you are out adventuring, and will even identify interesting objects, scenery and warn you of danger. The music is a perfectly fine blend of adventuring violins and synths – completely fogettable but very appropriate for the game all the same.
Multiplayer: Yes, there really is an online co-op multiplayer mode, which lets you start a completely new character to level up through dungeons with friends. It features most of the core elements of the campaign, like combat and even crafting, but it’s quite a simple “add on” which I can’t envision players spending much time on.
Awesomeness: Bioware has seemingly done a trade off here: Expanding the size of the world with gorgeous visuals on a vast scale and depth, at the expense of the quality of the story. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t bad, just not of the same caliber it was before. The key characters in the game also lack identity. I’m still not sure why they quit their current lives to join my party, nor did they even ask me. I never felt their desperation of the apoclyptic situation, and I honestly didn’t care if they all jumped off a cliff. That’s not the Bioware I know.
Final Word: Despite it’s technical advances, as a fan of the previous games, I’m not sure if I like this sequel more. It certainly feels different and greatly improved on a technical level, but Bioware’s strength in “warm-‘n-fuzzy” storytelling is a little lost, as it rolls into the action presuming you’re up to speed. The size and scale of the open maps is impressive and great for exploring, and the deep level of appearance customization is fun to tinker with. Overall it’s quite a different take on the old Bioware formula.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing