Join the Inquisition
It took some time but Dragon Age Inquisition is now a fact of life and it is a contender for game of the year, but is it everything that fans like myself could hope for? Bioware have a strong history in creating a winning RPG dating back to Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and setting the bar with the hugely successful Mass Effect series.
However, Dragon Age has often been the unfortunate second son with handed down features from their earlier success. In Origins this was only too apparent if you compared the level up structure with KOTOR as both had points for attributes with a skills option and trees for up grading a huge range of feats, hell even the page looked the same. With Dragon Age 2 the game started to borrow more from Mass Effect with the addition of spoken dialogue in the form of a wheel at the bottom of the screen. Regardless of these short cuts the series has established a loyal following due largely in part to game play but more substantially to the storyline with a huge array of possible outcomes based on the players actions and elaborate world of Thedas. Even the repetitive dungeons with their brick walls, the wimpy voice acting and the heavily restricted world of Dragon Age 2 couldn’t kill of the hunger of diehard fans like myself.
Along came inquisition which was a driving force behind my recent purchase of an Xbox One, I’d even spent months completing the previous games for the 5th and 4th time respectively. So to say that I had built up expectations would be a slight understatement. Thankfully it lives up to the hype. To start Thedas looks great from the cinematics to the different textures of environments the game builds on one of the strengths of Dragon Age 2. This task is made more difficult by the scope of Inquisition which brings you in touch with more of the people that make up Thedas than every before as you recruit people from Ferelden, Orlais, the Imperium and even a Qunari. Throughout the unfolding story you find yourself revisiting familiar places like Redcliff and Haven that are now more detailed but you also journey in to Orlais which has its own specific brand of style.
Game play is where the team has done the most to shake up the franchise as they have responded to the criticism of its of the sequel by creating a more open world experience. This is not to dissimilar from Skyrim with each new area heavily laden with side quests, resources, collectibles and secret areas. However, Dragon Age brings its familiar party system to combat with the addition of the new tactical mode which brings a more strategic element to game play especially helpful if trying to pass the higher difficulty levels. If this was all Inquisition had to offer the game would be a disappointment as it would become a highly repetitive experience but thankfully it well balanced with regular progress through the story in familiar style dungeons. Throw in the war room and the developing relationships with your party members and there are in fact multiple ways to experience Thedas which keep the game fresh.
Inquisition builds on elements from the earlier games in the series and learns from the genre to satisfy almost everything I could have wished for. But it isn’t perfect as there are little areas for improvement that don’t effect the overall game play experience while being a constant source of frustration. To start the voice acting could still use work, especially for a male Inquisitor who I still found a little wimpy and more than two options would also have been greatly appreciated. Considering the amount of customizable element in your characters face this seems like it might have been sacrificed for time and money. On the same point I would like to see more of the in game customization options available in Origins as the huge variation in character builds was something that kept me coming back for more.
Despite these little criticisms Dragon Age Inquisition is a must for anyone who likes action RPG and might change the future of the genre. Now if only I can complete a few play throughs before Mass Effect later this year.
Game play 9/10
Posted on January 21, 2015, in Games, Reviews and tagged Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age Inquisition, Dragon Age Origins, KOTOR, Mass Effect, RPG, Skyrim, Thedas, Xbox One. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.