“Oh my God, I love Dragon Age Inquisition!” Said everyone in 2014. I admit I was a little slow with the uptake on this one. In my defence, I rarely play RPGs for the simple reason I don’t have a huge amount of time and I tend to be more of story-driven player who likes to complete the main quest comfortably over a weekend. Therefore DAI took a bit of a backseat.
Flash forward to 2016 and I’ve found myself finally entering the DAI universe. My last experience of Dragon Age was with Origins in 2009. Whilst I loved the game overall, there were technical shortcomings that left much to be desired. For this reason, I completely bypassed Dragon Age 2 released two years later.
For someone who is completely story-driven in their gaming, I often find RPGs a little one dimensional; with so many side quests and tasks it can be easy to lose the story. Yet the story of Dragon Age Inquisition for the most part holds up – you begin as a stranger who survives a tragic event, is accused of causing said event and then slowly you have to prove yourself through a series of quests to become worthy of leading an army against the rising darkspawn. It may not be the most original story told but Bioware gets an A for effort.
Gameplay remains one of the most polarising aspects of DAI. On one hand it was quite simple with just the one button to carry out your standard attack with further buttons assigned to perform player-specific moves to deal additional damage. However, with the game being over 90 hours long it’s safe to say you’ll be entering into a lot of battles and therefore I found the combat to be too repetitive and one of my least favourite aspects of the games.
Whilst the game does have a tactical-camera option which enables you to map out your fights before entering battle, I found myself rarely using it unless engaging with a boss or harder opponent. For the random groups of thieves and templars you encounter on the roads I would mostly hold down the L2 button, let my three teammates fill their boots and pray for it to end.
Relationships are a staple part of RPGs as each conversation you have with a particular character influences how they feel and act towards you in later stages. Dragon Age Origins wasn’t the most complex of systems when it came to this but Inquisition seems to have developed it greatly.
Through the conversations you have and relationships you build you’re able to choose the kind of inquisitor you want to be – you can choose to be a harsh ruler and punish anyone who opposes you or you can be a more compassionate leader. The choices really do feel infinite and already I’m thinking of how I might react differently in certain situations on my second play through.
Depending on how certain characters view you, there are various opportunities to pursue a romance. The flirty conversations you have can feel a little awkward but they offer a nice distraction from quests and somehow manages to ground the game.
My inquisitor entered into a relationship with Cullen, the inquisition’s military adviser and former Templar who is battling lyrium withdrawals. In one particular scene you’re even given the choice to persuade him to continue fighting his addiction or give into it. Needless to say the choice you make will impact the future of the relationship but I found this level of storytelling quite sophisticated and unexpected.
I may be two years too late to the party, but the party is still fun. With so many characters to meet, quests to complete and over 90 hours of content DAI is game that makes me keep coming back for more. The combat at times is slightly too repetitive and unimaginative but having played the game for the past few weeks I can officially join the Dragon Age enthusiasts of 2014 and say, “I love Dragon Age Inquisition!”