GAME REVIEW: DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION / DEVELOPER: BIOWARE / PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 3, PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Capping off the events of the Dragon Age trilogy, Inquisition is a melting pot of new ideas, old plotlines, and long-demanded gameplay additions. Along with now offering players the option to finally control a qunari protagonist, the game ditches much of what led to Dragon Age II’s downfall. There’s once again real choice to be found in your decisions, no tediously recycled locations, and it unveils the land of Orlais for the first time.
After a mysterious Rift into the Fade destroys what little hope there was for a truce in the ongoing Mage-Templar war, Thedas is now facing a massive demonic invasion. Barely holding the line, their hope soon lies in a sole survivor at the epicentre of the event. Leading the newly founded Inquisition, the player is tasked with closing the Rift and halting a newfound threat.
As the series once again features the player taking control of a full organisation, Inquisition blends its more traditional questing with decision making and politics. More akin to Awakening than Origins, control over the Inquisition means building up its forces, forging alliances and deciding upon the fate of nobles. Each has serious impact, from reducing forces to potentially creating new enemies, and it provides the real meat of the experience here. There’s rarely ever an easy answer to many decisions and this is before getting to the dangling plot threads. The fate of Morrigan’s child rears its head, Hawke puts in an appearance, and the Grey Wardens are once again core to the story.
The world of Thedas itself is beautiful, emphasising a scale which prior titles lacked, and real wealth of random encounters. There is a true sense of potentially running into anything, from illicit lovers’ meetings to ancient curses. Unfortunately this is a double-edged sword, as while the world feels truly massive, many quest elements and ideas are too MMOish by far, repeating the mistakes of Kingdoms of Amalur. It’s beautiful to look at but the experience can sometimes lack real depth.
Things aren’t helped on PC by a severely problematic combat interface. Obviously made with consoles in mind, and the port is a complete disaster in this regard; obtuse, clunky and extremely difficult to navigate. Beyond that, the mechanics themselves emulate the ideas of II far more the Origins, offering more of an action RPG experience than a traditionally tactical one. This would be fine in of itself were it not for the disastrously bad path finding when it comes to your companions.
Is it as good as Origins? No, but that was a hard act to follow, and Inquisition still offers plenty to jaded fans disappointed with II’s lacklustre ideas.
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