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Dragon Age: Inquisition Review


Reviewing one of your most anticipated games of the year is never easy. I've completely avoided all possibly spoilers Dragon Age: Inquisition and any chance I've had to get hand on early with the game I've avoided at all costs. This was a game I wanted to lose myself in, so I wasn't letting any time with early builds or videos showing off half the game off spoil my experience.

It seems to me that not many people really enjoyed the last Dragon Age game, but I did. I'm a huge fan of all things fantasy, so games such as Skyrim, The upcoming Witcher 3 and of course, Dragon Age, are games which always grab my attention. In my opinion there are not nearly enough games which delve into the world of wizards, elves and dwarfs. I mean, why don't we have a Call of Duty style multiplayer game set in Fantasy times? That would be epic. Anyway, Im getting away from the point, this is meant to be a review of Dragon Age: Inquisition after all, so let's get started.

Before losing yourself in the main story, Dragon Age has you choose a character class and race from an extensive list. Your standard fare of fantasy characters are all present, should you wish to choose a Warrior, Mage, Rogue or Wizard. There is also a choice of race, allowing you to play as an Elf, Human or Dwarf. The race types are also split into regions, therefore depending on the race you choose, you're character will have a different outlook to life.



As the campaign begins, you'll notice that the world of Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't in the best state. For one, the land is in the middle of a civil war and even worse, dimensional rifts are tearing holes in the sky across the world, spawning all manner of demons in their wake. You're task, thanks to your character gaining a magic marking on his wrist at the beginning of the game, is to both close the rifts and help the world to save itself. This won't be easy, but as long as you have a lot of time to spare, you'll enjoy trying.

There is tons to do in Dragon Age. Your organisation, the Inquisition plans to take over the lands, restoring peace on its way, but in order to do so has to scout new regions, claim landmarks and help the citizens of the nine sprawling areas that the world map is made up of. What this means is that you'll find yourself taking part in all manner of missions, from taking care of bandits and killing wolves to banishing demons and the rifts they have spawned from. All of this on top of the main story missions, which themselves are challenging and a lot of fun to take part in.

All of the regions you'll enter throughout the course of the game are vast in size and always hold plenty of surprises. You'll always find something to do. Even though there is a sheer limitless amount of space to explore, there always seems to be a task at hand, be that setting up camps to claim influence in the current area or just taking care of the sheer manor of beasts you'll come across on your encounters (within just a few hours I ran into what looked like a dinosaur and then a little later a dragon fighting a large troll like creature).

The wide open space and temptation to explore is one of the things I love most about Dragon Age: Inquisition. In most games I'm usually one to stick to the path in order to complete the story, but here I found myself heading towards the various symbols on the maps, which represent something that should be explored or a side-quest that needs completing. Then there's the ability to craft and obviously to do so you'll need ingredients, so looting plays a large part in exploration too, be it hunting for flowers and herbs or killing bears to get their hide and claws (that's not a fight that's easily won).

What's great about Dragon Age's exploration is that it never feels like quests are there for the sake of it. In other games the side quests often feel like an after thought, but here they feel like they belong, like somehow completing them will make the world a better place. It helps that you'll gain respect and power as you to complete these tasks, which in turn progresses the story by unlocking new and important missions, but they are never tasks you do for the sake of it, more like for the love of it.

Dragon Age: Inquisition gets even more interesting when it comes to the combat. You see, during your travels you are accompanied by a party of three other characters of your choice. You can switch between these at any point and take control of them, allowing you to fight as whatever class you've brought along for the ride. You can level your party characters up, equip them and arm them in anyway you see fit. During combat a new tactical view lets you pause and give orders at will from an overhead perspective, this option allows you to better coordinate your party, allowing you to choose which enemies to attack and with whom. I have to admit to not really using the overhead tactical system very often as I feel like it took away from the experience for me, I much prefer sticking to third person combat, using spells, abilities and attacks to get me through the combat. I can understand why the overhead system will be useful to some, but I much prefer taking on the enemy without the use of such tactics, although, the beauty is that whatever way you choose to fight, it doesn't seem to hinder your progress.

If I had one criticism about Dragon Age then it's that the main story is a little forgettable. It's a shame really because the way the missions have been implemented is fantastic and as mentioned, they do give you a feeling that you really are making a difference in every little thing you do. When things come to a conclusion you will care and have a sense of pride in what you have achieved, it's just at the same time the overall story could offered so much more - or at the very least a memorable villain.



Another small issue I have is with the menu system. In game's such as Skyrim levelling up your character is a joy. But in Dragon Age: Inquisition it feels more like an after thought. Pressing the options button takes you through to a wheel which offers all the choices you need, such as the World Map, Inventory and Character screens, but it all feels so disjointed. I'd have much preferred if there was a more cohesive experience to be had in the menus, allowing you to upgrade your characters abilities, weapons and equipment with more style. Don't get me wrong, it all works fine and is simple enough to get on with, I'd just have preferred it to have been presented a little better, considering how fantastic the rest of the game looks.

What I really love about Dragon Age: Inquisition though is how good it looks. Given the sheer size of the worlds you'd expect some comprise, but each area continues to throw up new surprises and hidden secrets, with landscapes changing and weather constantly being erratic. You can and will spend hours just exploring everything there is to see. It's wonderful.

If multiplayer is your thing then you may be delighted to know that the included online co-op is actually pretty good. Here you'll level up a totally new character as you complete missions and explore dungeons with friends. You'll use the same combat as in the main campaign and even be able to craft. It may not offer the open world's vast array of things to do, but it's another string to Dragon Age: Inquisition's considerably large bow.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is what you make of it. Bioware has given players a huge open world to explore and the possibilities on offer are near endless. Being able to lose yourself in a fantastical world is what these games should be all about and that's what's been delivered. While the story could have been stronger, it's the sum of its parts that add up to Dragon Age: Inquisition being one of the finest games of the year and the best in the series so far. Don't miss this one, it's magical.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)

Pros

+ Fun combat
+ An excellent open world which is full of opportunities to explore
+ Wonderful enviroments
+ Hours upon hours of gameplay
+ Great soundtrack

Cons

- The story could be stronger
- The menus could be better designed


Edited On 18 Nov, 2014

Comments
( 20 )
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 2 years ago
Really looking forward to this and hopefully be playing it tomorrow thanks to my mate who owns his own game shop now , 90hrs to complete said another review bring it on
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 years ago
I was going to give this a pass, and wait for it to be in the vault next year, but may get this now, especially as AC Rogue CE failed to deliver (literally by Zavvi not in sense of game failure). Not sure whether to get standard edition from ShopTo and then upgrade to deluxe (if possible, as the DLC implies it is possible just atm it is only in the bundle) or just get deluxe (if upgrading is not possible)
jay.hamilton's avatar
jay.hamilton 2 years ago
Ive had this pre ordered for a year now, at the moment my most wanted game, looks absolutely wonderful, I probably wont use the tactical view myself, I prefer to slug it out, so ill be losing myself in this soon, Brilliant review Joe
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
Thanks Jay, appreciated :)
jay.hamilton's avatar
jay.hamilton 2 years ago
your welcome, any chance you can post it now pmsl
jay.hamilton's avatar
jay.hamilton 2 years ago
Scott, does share play work on this, ill be your best friend tomorrow if it does lol
Danny_936's avatar
Danny_936 2 years ago
Way to many paragraphs to read so ill just skip ahead to the pros and cons, would much prefer a video review tho over a gigantic wall of text.
Spear 25's avatar
Spear 25 2 years ago
Can't wait for this. I've been looking for a game I can sink hours into for a while. Good review Joe.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
Cheers :)
screaming chief's avatar
screaming chief 2 years ago
Danny_936, your comments on a 'proper' review, rather than a couple of buzzwords or a simple score, gives me a little insight into why games developers have probably been saying to themselves for years (and using it as a poor excuse), yeah just make the campaign 8 hours or so, peoples interest/attention span has usually run out by then.When did we get so 'disposable' in our attention span/interest level in such things ? I used to love a 'proper' magazine style review, which would often show how much time the reviewer had spent with/playing the game, rather than copying and pasting a few words from someone elses review.Yes im a miserable old sod.lol
Zaru Ticher's avatar
Zaru Ticher 2 years ago
I was right on the edge about getting this game or not, but your review seems honest and has made me decide to pick it up. Thanks Joe!
Anonymous user's avatar
TEVIN 2 years ago
"I mean, why don't we have a Call of Duty style multiplayer game set in Fantasy times?" We do lol it's called Elder scrolls Online Anyways great review man, real hyped for this game! It's been taking a huge beating by a lot of people then I realized it was just some whiny PC players so I have nothing to worry about hopefully :) For the Inquisition!!!!
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
I see what you mean about ESO. But what I was thinking is wouldn't it be awesome to have a COD Style Multiplayer with maps, but instead of COD, have it fantasy style, so you choose a character and go at each other with swords and magic. I'm gonna make that game one day (maybe) :D
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 2 years ago
Joe, didn't lord of the rings conquest try that?
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 2 years ago
also there is this Joe, http://store.steampowered.com/app/219640/?snr=1_7_15__13
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
I'm not even going to comment on that dig at PC players. Lord of the Rings conquest did try something like that but it wasn't very good at it tbh
Anonymous user's avatar
TEVIN 2 years ago
Sorry if it sounds like I'm taking a dig at PC players which I'm not (PC player my self also) I'm just saying a lot of them illegally downloaded the game then think they have a right to complain about bugs an errors and give terrible reviews ruining it for other that might to try it.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
I love it when devs do stuff like that. Ubisoft didn't put a FOV slider in Far Cry 4 until a patch and people were complaining to them on Twitter about not having an FOV slider. Good way to find the pirates
Akemi no Zero's avatar
Akemi no Zero 2 years ago
Looking sweet cant wait, & my I say great review.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
thanks Akemi :)

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