Monday, 15 June 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition - Game Review

Dragon Age: Inquisition
by BioWare and Electronic Arts

What is it about:
A cataclysmic event plunges the land of Thedas into turmoil. Dragons darken the sky, casting a shadow over lands on the brink of chaos. Mages break into all-out war against the oppressive templars. Nations rise against one another. It falls to you and your allies to restore order as you lead the Inquisition and hunt down the agents of chaos.

Explore, lead, and battle: Tough choices define your experience, and even one decision can change the course of what's to come.

What did I think of it:
After my reviews of the previous games it probably won't come as a surprise that I couldn't help myself and bought Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I'll start my review by telling you about my adventures with this game even before I started playing it...

I bought the game on disc, because it wasn't available in the online Marketplace for Xbox. Stupidly enough I thought this would mean I wouldn't have to wait for ages before I could start playing, like I had to with Dragon Age II, which took forever to download from the Marketplace. As soon as I placed the install disc in my Xbox I got a notice that an update was needed!

An hour later the update was installed.

After waiting even longer for the game to install to my Xbox I finally could start playing. At this point I discovered I couldn't just import the history of my previous games like you could in Dragon Age II. Nope: I had to register at a website where I had to recreate the history of my other Dragon Age games. Then I had to upload the history I wanted to use in Dragon Ag: Inquisition. If on a future play through I want to use another history I will have to upload that one. You can't have more than one history available to chose from as far as I understand.

So. History sorted out, I finally could create a character and start playing...

Only to discover the spoken language was French!

It turned out that for some weird reason the game is only sold with French spoken language in the Netherlands! I had to download an English voice-over pack to get the game in English.

By this point I was very, very frustrated I can tell you!

Voice-over pack downloaded I finally was all set to start my game in earnest.

First positive point: you can chose different races again!
I really didn't like it that I had to play a human in Dragon Age II, I will confess. So I was glad that Dragon Age: Inquisition had options for other races again. I couldn't help it: I picked a female dwarf again.

As for the game:
The graphics look better than Dragon Age II (no weird Manga vibe), although I will confess that the look and feel of Dragon Age: Origins will always be my favorite.

Horses! I will confess that in Dragon Age: Origins I thought that this world didn't have horses. It turns out it does, and there are other animals you can use as steeds as well. Riding around on a horse or large antlered beast is very cool and gets you around a bit quicker than walking. And that's really necessary because the world in this game is huge!

I was immediately interested in the main story line. It has an urgency and direction that was lacking in DA II. I was invested in what was happening and wanted to find out if my dwarf would save the day. Along the way there were some really difficult and evil decisions I had to make.

There were new companions to collect and take with you on your quest. There was a returning companion from DA II, and for once I was lucky and it was one of my favorites. The first couple of other companions didn't really click with me, but soon I found some other companions that I really loved. There are also some cameos of characters and companions from the previous games.

There's also lots of romantic options for your hero again. I once again had a clear favorite. The romantic story line that I played with my hero was both sweet and emotionally intense with a huge surprise along the way.

What did frustrate me a bit was all the questing! Next to the main story line there are a gazillion side quests. And because you have to reach a certain level to be able to take on the main story line, and you have to have a certain power level as well, those side quests are not completely optional. At times I was really annoyed I had to do quests before I could continue with the main story line. There were people in danger, but my dwarf had to go set up camps, because her power level wasn't high enough...

At one point I was so eager to get to the end of the main story line that I picked my side quests on how easy they were to finish and the power level they would give me. I know some people love doing all possible quests they encounter, but I'm not patient enough for that, certainly not on a first play through. I finished the game with lots of side quests untouched, and some areas not even explored. I might give those a try on a future play through.

All in all this game was both awesome and frustrating. I can safely say that Dragon Age: Origins is my favorite of the series, but this one ranks as second best. I will certainly play it again.

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