This is the second half of a review from the older gens version of Dragon Age Inquisition, thus I recommend you read the first half available HERE!
For those who don’t want to, can’t be bothered or who have done but have forgotten what I said as it was so long ago or just so blandly written. Know that the game is a lot bigger and more open world like but lacking in the character and plot. Actually that could probably do as an overall review, but you should still read the second half of my review anyway.
For the game isn’t just running around raiding bandit camps and dealing with demonic incursions into our reality and there is a central plot and a supporting cast and this is where the game falls down slightly for me. See the last Dragon Age game was very character driven and in an effort to get away from the critically panned last game the party members of this game feel lacking to say the least. Varric probably comes out on top out of most everyone I ran into and that was probably because of my fond memories of him from ‘2’. The plot itself is decent but there is too large a gap between chapters as you race through swamps and over this very beautiful landscape. There is a moment forever etched in my memory from the sword coast where my low level party stumbled across a towering giant and Dragon going toe to toe. I don’t think there was anything stopping me from going over and joining in except some basic common sense and so we soaked it in and left them to it, taking the long way round through the mountains. But the game would struggle to stand really in the open world rpg genre especially alongside games from the Elder Scrolls series which seem to realise how lacking their plot is as time and craft some much better side quests and storylines than we find here.
For instance fairly early on I am tasked with hunting down ten deer for the starving masses huddled as a crossroads. Now sure this is one of the few of its kind in the game and it does add somewhat to the idea of you not being the leader of a bunch of brigads in this game but an inquisition wanting to help. But many of the other quests away from the main storyline struggle to leave any mark upon you in terms of writing and quality often boiling down to running from one end of the map and back again.
I have a few other complaints about the game as well, though to be fair they are all linked together in one and that is the fact that the game also suffers from tiny text. Now this is something that has bothered me in I think every bioware title for quite some time. In fact I felt like a lot of the missing characterisation and plot as well as a lot of the backstory were lost on me simply because I was struggling with what the small text size that sometimes flashes by too quickly.
Perhaps my biggest gameplay problems however was that contrary to every other rpg ever, this time your health potions are not collected from fallen corpses and extortionate shopkeepers but from visiting your camps you have scattered over every map. Maybe this is told to you in some hidden away text but because I couldn’t read it I was stuck with only eight potions for the first five or so hours. Also in an effort to make the game feel more open world there are various threats you will encounter that you are not supposed to try and take on. Now when I come out of a cave to come face to face with a bronze/gold dragon which blows my face clean off I accept that maybe I shouldn’t have come this way but when I am just trying to close the fifth or sixth rift on a map and get pulverised I feel that maybe the game should have given me a hint that it wanted me to come back to this one later.
The game does add a lot other than the large map with perhaps one of the biggest for long time bioware fans being that even the consoles are getting a variation of the more strategic combat seen in titles like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. This turns the game from an action/rpg where you control your one character and slap away at the buttons but into a top down perspective game where you control the flow of time and are supposed to tell everyone in your party what to do at all times. Don’t worry it’s easy enough to work out, when it works.
See the two problems I had in this mode was characters not doing as I asked, especially if this meant an action like reviving a fallen team mate or sealing a rift with them often favouring a basic attack instead for no real reason. Also the system often fails to run it properly with a fairly long loading time when you switch over to this mode.
This is far from the worst hiccup I found in the game however as I recall an instance of Leilanna left talking to an apparently empty room as my character and another slowly sank into the floor. I have seen whole levels constructed around me after the game has loaded and before I am allowed to move and of course the now classic bit where people refuse to talk. I have had to reload quite a few times now when upon entering conversation driven cut scenes everyone refuses to talk instead looking on blankly.
Perhaps I should mention the war table you utilise in the game to spend the power you get from helping people and closing portals to unlock new levels, which was simple enough, and directing your forces. Unfortunately I still struggled with this at the end of the game. Oh sure I managed to do what my friends asked me and a far bit more beside but aside from those times where you are asked by an ally or accomplice it was hard to see why you were doing any of it. Scout this section of the map and you get some power, or influence but to be fair it didn’t really mean all that much and the tine text made it hard to even see what you had done. Different advisors took longer on different sort of missions but that didn’t affect you too much in the game itself as they still hung around your keep and were only unable to do other such missions on the map. Sure some of these were timed and dissapered after a while but seen as how I didn’t know what they were I couldn’t miss them.
Likewise for the agents you recruit along your travels who are presumably off doing stuff for your elsewhere as you never see them again.
The keep itself takes the place of your camp from Dragon Age One keeping all your party together in one place between missions so that you can go, talk, hang out and presumably fall in love. Unfortunately it is fairly big, and for those still on the first half of the game I say wait, to the point where some of my companions are too much trouble to reach.
Now these might sound like a lot of complaints to level at such a game and I feel I should close out with the insistence that I am enjoying it really.