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Average User Score: 5.9Dec 7, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Dragon Age Inquisition sets out to right the wrongs of Dragon Age 2 and while I feel it does achieve this, the gameplay is still suffering unbearably because of poor design choices.
Please note reading further may reveal spoilers.
Putting gameplay to one side for the moment, the story in DAI is frankly, rather disappointing. You're introduced to the protagonist in much the same way as Geralt of Rivia in Witcher 2 - in a holding cell and being questioned by a hostile interrogator. I mention this only because of how shamelessly this game borrows from other RPG's.
You're introduced to your arch-nemesis very early into the piece and for all intents and purposes, your arch-nemesis does not evolve or develop at all throughout the entire plot. You learn some snippets about who and what they are, but they never really become the sinister figure you'd expect.
As a result, the story plays out as rather anticlimactic.
There are less than a handful of major plot developments, and depending on how you count them, in my view two of the four occur in the first ten or so hours, the third occurs around mid-way through the game (40-50 odd hours) and the final and arguably most interesting plot development occurs in the last two hours of gameplay (approx. 75 hours).
DAI is riddled with things to do and side-quests to complete, however the majority of them lack even a loose connection to the events transpiring in Thedas. The main story arch exists pretty much in a silo, as do the side-quests which are silo's according by location (geographical) or companion.
As there are really only 10 or so geographical locations you can visit outside of the main plot development, the game feels like approximately half of the content is directly related to player companions, which really detracts from the sense that the world spans two massive states.
Then there's the basis of the game - leading the inquisition. I feel this was the Achilles Heel of the game and where the premise of the game betrayed creative writing to the point it was not tenable. Alas, Bioware persisted anyway.
Quite early in the game, the town you reside in (Haven) is destroyed by your arch-nemesis. Rather than falling off the radar, learning about your enemy, rebuilding your strength and gaining some experience/gearing up for round two, the inquisition immediately relocates to the most conspicuous, isolated, indefensible (to a dragon) and otherwise utterly preposterous (vacant?) fortress imaginable.
This is such a large pill of stupid to swallow, it can only be rationalized by due recognition of the sheer laziness in writing and lack of creativity from which it spawned.
From that point in the game onwards, you're inextricably chained to this bizarre location and any pretense of exploration is dropped into a silo of brief excursions.
On to gameplay...
The AI is terrible. It's not simply a case of occasional micro-management needed. In pretty much all dragon fights you are forced to play melee damage, assuming you even bothered bringing one in your party, or else the computer AI will have it standing in fire or a pool of electrocuted water taking damage and chugging all of your pots, no less than ten times during the fight.
It's not simply a case of issuing a move command every 20 seconds and then 'attack' once the threat has abated - the AI is so bad that you have to make these decisions every 5 second.
Hold left-click to autoattack. This is mind-numbingly stupid. Every other ability in the game triggers from a single input command - auto-attack should be no different. There is no player-engaged block mechanic like in hack and slash RPG's, i.e. where you would cease input to auto-attack and then right-click and block. Thus the requirement to continuously input a command for basic damage makes little if any sense whatsoever, unless you have the attention span of a gnat and want to actively discourage battlefield micromanagement (which is what this mechanic does).
Target acquisition and the inability to properly lock onto a target is also both frustrating and stupid. You can't cycle through visible targets and because of the 'hold left click to auto-attack', quite often mid-combat you will randomly switch target and consequently, draw aggro from an enemy happily attacking your tank unintentionally.
The so-called 'tactical' camera is hopeless. The range of zoom is far too shallow to be useful and you can't select multiple characters and issue group commands. Trying to position area of effect spells is manageable but far from ideal using the 3rd person view. Bioware really needs to get back to DAO's isometric camera or just drop it altogether, because the tactical camera is good for nothing.
Variety of gear in DAI is improved over DA2, however its implementation is still largely aesthetic and belies a concerted unwillingness from Bioware to engage with traditional RPG mechanics for progression.
Fans of the Forgotten Realms series - nothin much to see here.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Jun 29, 2014I persevered with this game a lot longer than I thought I would, and a lot longer than I SHOULD have.
I reached level 25 and now I've prettyI persevered with this game a lot longer than I thought I would, and a lot longer than I SHOULD have.
I reached level 25 and now I've pretty much given up on this game, because what little it has going for it, is just overwhelmingly drowned out by the disastrous combat mechanics.
The combat is terrible, slow, clunky and imprecise. The AI is utterly dreadful. Your companions are virtually useless in combat and you have remarkably little control over them, also probably because the AI is just terrible.
The graphics are dated. The voice acting is mediocre. The RPG elements are superficial at best, and the 'choices' presented to the player largely don't have any agency whatsoever on the progression of the story.
Probably the biggest let-down is the story. It's basically all filler. Complete and utter guff.
The amount of coherent lore in this game could be squeezed, succinctly, onto one sheet of A4 paper.
At times this game reminded me of Dragon Age 2, but in retrospect that's really unfair on Dragon Age 2. This game is so much worse, I personally wouldn't pay $5 for it, having played it.
It's possibly the worst RPG I've had the misfortune of paying good money for.
My advice is to save your money and play Skyrim or Witcher 2 again. You won't find anything good here.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.7Dec 23, 2012I'm not even going to try to qualify this review with an in-depth analysis or critique, because frankly I don't think that would help you as aI'm not even going to try to qualify this review with an in-depth analysis or critique, because frankly I don't think that would help you as a potential buyer of this entertainment.
This game is a masterpiece. They have taken a ridiculous scenario (zombie apocalypse) and turned it into something heart-wrenching, ethically charged and mature. The characters are real, the gameplay is fun, the choices matter and afford real replayability, but more than that, this game makes you stop and think.
Don't let the zombie apocalypse setting fool you. This game is not about a zombie apocalypse, it's about the human condition.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.5Apr 22, 2011Dragon Age 2 is not, overwhelmingly, a bad game. What little there is to be found endearing in Dragon Age 2, unfortunately is dwarfed byDragon Age 2 is not, overwhelmingly, a bad game. What little there is to be found endearing in Dragon Age 2, unfortunately is dwarfed by issues which go to the core fantastical aspects of a role-playing game, those which should be the highest on the list of priorities and in terms of attention to detail, but were evidently almost complete afterthoughts in terms of execution. Dragon Age 2 ticks all the necessary boxes on paper, but fails to deliver on too many to be worthy of Dragon Age heritage.
Environments in Dragon Age 2 lack variety, use of color palette, textured surfaces, remarkable geometry, landscapes and architecture. To some extent it lacks an appreciable depth of field, somewhat owing to the lack of camera control but mostly due to the sheer absence of ambience. According to Dragon Age 2, in the Free Marches you will struggle to find a single living organism that is not humanoid, the few exceptions being confined to dungeons and necessarily so as to provide some degree of enemy variety. Dungeon design is sadly linear, and the contemptuous re-use of dungeons, caves and buildings, speaks to the very limited abilities of the frenetic copy-paste monkey that works in the level design sub-department.
The story is merely an interwoven series of loosely or altogether unrelated events, which limp along sluggishly in anticipation of core storyline development. The framed narrative is employed desperately to try and give connectedness to the disjointed combobulation of quests, but ultimately is used far too ineffectually and limitedly to achieve this. Short scenes of framed narrative between Varric and his "host" all but gloss over the concerns of almost an entire chapter in mere seconds, before once again thrusting another tedious act of grinding through the same handful of environments and dungeons on the player, this time for, purportedly, different reasons.
Also concerning with regard to story development was the painstaking effort taken to segment each act, the first desperately trying to convey uncertainty, the second an illusion of stability, and the third, predictable and unsatisfying, proffering an ill-conceived cliche to lead in to Dragon Age 3. Morality was shambolic. Far too often it was born out of a dialogue option, invariably confused with the horrible conversation wheel, further still by ambiguous paraphrasing, and then turned into a wedge issue between two or more companions competing to be your "friend" or "rival". /golfclap
The problem with this logic barren system of morality, friends and rivals, is in so much that rivals and friends tend not to party or group together, and certainly not in the circumstances presented in this particular tale. This abomination of morality which presents in Dragon Age 2, is actually the moral consequence of actions on relationships, as opposed to actually being held to account for moral decisions oneself. The conversation wheel really has no place in a fantasy wRPG. I literally lost count of the number of times I chose a paraphrased option based on what it said, rather than the wheel icon, and heard the protagonist deliver a line completely at odds with the tone of the paraphrasing. I don't think i've ever quick-loaded more times in a single game play-through in my entire life. In fact i'm sure I quick-loaded less playing through Origins on Nightmare.
Dragon Age 2 lacked the often dark, dry, mature, double-entendre rich, witty banter that ensued from companion interaction, as in Dragon Age Origins. In stead it has been replaced with cheap jabs between two companions, very occasionally humorous and even then, far short of witty, and far too often of questionable intent. No, even frolicking elves can't redeem a conversation between Varric and Isabela.
DA2 had the potential to be a good game, even a great one. Unfortunately it missed the mark by a lot. It wasn't due to sequel expectations, but a significant drop in the quality of product. I'm certain even Bioware is not so far removed from reality, as to have been aware they were not releasing an AAA sequel to Dragon Age Origins. If Bioware was really sincere about trying to capture a wider audience, well, good luck to them with that in the future. Once bitten, twice shy.… Expand