Dragon Age: Inquisition Review

Dragon Age: Inquisition on PlayStation 4, Xbox One  and PC

Everything but the kitchen sink

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a massive undertaking that requires 70 plus hours to complete. Thankfully, Bioware crafted the game in such a way that you should enjoy the time it takes to work your way through everything. There's so much to do in Dragon Age that you'll always have something to uncover, but many of the activities are optional, so if something doesn't interest you, leave it be.

You have the standard features you'd expect in a role-playing game, upgrading weapons and armour, partaking in side quests, buying and selling gear, crafting new gear and grinding for levels. In addition to all of that, you can customise your base of operations, become romantically involved with other members of the Inquisition, hunt down legendary dragons, take up gardening and a variety of other activities.

Lead or fall

While Inquisition is a role-playing game, it can be played a variety of different ways. For example, you can go the action-RPG route and play similar to how you'd play an Elder Scrolls title. You control a single character among of party of four and attack enemies as you come across them, just like you would in an action game. If you want a little more control, you can switch between party members on the fly to make sure everyone does what you want them to do. You can even take it one step further and create an almost turn-based experience in which you pause the action to bring up a tactical menu, setup commands for every party member, then unpause, let the action unfold and repeat.

Most people will likely play the game with a more action-oriented focus. You won't need to use the tactical menu on the normal difficulty setting. In fact, most players will rarely switch party members because you can assign various tasks to the group, including how often they use potions, which attacks they use and the priority of those attacks. That said, for the most part the A.I. for your other party members is good enough to get you through the game without causing you to lose many battles.

Your party is comprised of four characters, but you have a variety to choose from. There are also three classes: warrior, mage and rogue. Warrior can be played as a damager dealer (DPS) or tanking class, rogue offers ranged attacks with bows and guns, or stealthy attacks with dual daggers, and mage can be played offensively or defensively. All of these options mean you can have a wide variance of party members, switching them out so you have the best lineup for any given occasion.

As you play through the game, your decisions hold significant weight. You choose whether or not an NPC can join the Inquisition to support your efforts or join your party. The dialogue choices you make may determine the fate of characters you've grown close to. If you capture villains you even get to pass judgment on them, having them help your efforts, locking them away in prison or executing these people. Many of the choices you make have a significant impact on how the story plays out.

Quests upon quests

There are a multitude of quests in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The main quest line will take you hours to complete, but there are also over 100 side quests. With that in mind, you can send members of the Inquisition out on ancillary missions for you that will reap additional rewards upon completion.

While the number of side quests offers a pleasant alternative to the main quest line, it comes at a price. Unlike other RPGs in which you have a choice whether or not you want to grind, Dragon Age forces grinding upon you. Your characters have individual levels like other RPGs, but you also have power level points that you accumulate by completing quests. These points are then spent when you accept the next main line quest and even some of the bigger side quests.

Normally, a little grinding is expected in an RPG, but not how Dragon Age does it. Through normal playing with a bit of grinding, you may come across a point in which you have a power level of 10, but need a power level of 30 to start the next quest in the main scenario. That essentially means you will have to complete 20 side quests before you can continue with the story, and that's not even the worst example. Many of the side quests are fetch quests which can get tedious, especially when all you want to do is continue the main quest line.

The end of days

Dragon Age: Inquisition is an epic game that should entertain any RPG enthusiast. It offers enough play style options to keep almost any type of gamer entertained. The forced side quests are a bit of a disappointment, and while the environments and character faces look great, the animation and character models are lacking. There are also a few minor technical issues that can distract from the gameplay experience here and there, and playing on a controller takes some getting used to, as the d-pad and analog stick serve different functions than what you may be accustomed to.

When it comes down to it, Dragon Age is a massive novel that you get to play through. Your decisions determine which factions win or lose, and you have a lot of choices to make throughout. The variety of class play styles and the number of party members you'll have to choose from by the end of the game mean you can play almost any way you'd like. Technical issues and grinding aside, this is one of the best RPGs on the market right now, and will likely maintain that status until the next Elder Scrolls or Final Fantasy releases depending on your taste in RPGs.

GAME's Verdict: 8/10

The Good

  • A wide variety of activities to keep you entertained.
  • Multiple play styles for almost any type of gamer.
  • Top notch dialogue and story elements.

The Bad

  • The forced grinding is tedious and off-putting.
  • Subpar character models and animation.
  • Technical issues can cause missed dialogue.

Published: 19/11/2014

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