After putting in some serious hours on the Video Game Awards 2014’s Game of the year, I am finally ready to write up my final verdict.
Bioware and EA Games present the next instalment in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Bioware are best known for its extensive sized role playing games and creating the classic Mass Effect trilogy which are cult classics of the RPG genre. Filled with deep characters, huge game worlds and strategic combat, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games are among the best of their kind. Now though, Bioware make their debut on new generation systems with Dragon Age: Inquisition and it boosted straight up to gain the acclaimed VGA 2014 Game of the Year award.
A huge rift in the sky resulting from a cataclysmic explosion is spawning other smaller rifts across the continent of Thedas and a mysterious red substance known as Red Lyrium is corrupting the minds of men and women. Corephyus seems to be the ring leader of the corrupted however the citizens and warriors of Thedas have an unsung hero, you, who bears a mark that has the potential to disrupt Corephyus and his evil doings. Your user created warrior soon becomes the appointed leader of the Inquisition and it is your job to gain allies in the effort to stop Corephyus and his armies. As with all Bioware RPG’s, the plot is very deep and political populated by a humongous cast of characters. Aside from the main plotline, the player can explore side stories in the form of quests given by NPC’s. It’s this that makes Dragon Age: Inquisition mammoth sized clocking my entire experience at 90+ hours. The voice work is spot on.
Inquisition is a third person role playing game and feels very much like its predecessors. Running around each of DA: Inquisitions huge landscapes feels great playing as whoever in your party you choose. Whether it’s the settlement of Haven, the huge open fields of The Hinterlands or the vast deserts of The Forbidden Oasis, each locale feels unique and filled with things to find and enemies to fight from bandits, enemy soldiers or the continents wildlife. To get around easier and quicker, you can find mounts which can be summoned at will to help you on your way. It certainly takes the strain of going from one end of the map to the next however find a place to set up camp and you unlock the ability to fast travel. Combat is where Dragon Age: Inquisition changes. Similar to MMORPG’s, you and your party have abilities assigned to buttons on the controller which, once used, have a cool down period before it can be used again. Abilities available correspond to your class. Mages have offensive and defensive spells at their disposal, rogues can be cloak and dagger types or ranged fighters or the heavies which can be armed with single handed or double handed melee weapons with boosting abilities or advanced fighting techniques. If you are more of a strategist, you can halt the action to switch to an overhead viewpoint where you can give your party specific orders at the press of a button. This choice of either go gung-ho or stop and think means Dragon Age: Inquisition has one of the deepest combat mechanics I’ve seen in a long time. It fits like a glove in inquisition and the constant finding and awarding of better weapons, armour and levelling up gives the sense of progression which is extremely addictive.
Quests come in all forms. You will always have something to do. Think Skyrim’s flurry of quest after quest. Whilst this may sound fun, it’s where Inquisition lacks. Yes there are thousands of quests spread across the game but I have found they are categorised into fetch and find quests, kill this or that quests or speak to them quests. Aside from the main storyline, the side angles don’t go into deep detail. Remember finding a note on the floor or speaking to a certain person in Skyrim which in turn triggered a sequence of events leading up to a tense yet rewarding climax? Well it’s not found here in Inquisition sadly. I found myself picking plants or rocks for one person, killing enemies for another then having to “hand in” my quest once completed. I was disappointed but felt like I needed to complete these mundane quests in order to stand a better chance against tougher foes which in turn kept me plodding on. It pays off though as I was nicely levelled up when I continued with the story making enemies less challenging.
The visuals are spectacular. Each area looks amazing thanks to the power of the new generation of consoles. Dense shrubbery, beautiful lakes and waterfalls and underground dwarven cities are beautifully crafted with the smallest detail. Badass Templar’s transformed into grotesque Red Lyrium creatures make for some intimidating looking enemies and the few dragons that roam the lands are gigantic! They aren’t as common as they are in Skyrim but when you face up against one, you can’t help but feel the dread of the tough fight coming.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is plagued with issues. In my play through, I encountered NPC’s walking on the spot, hanging dialogue which took a long while to sort itself out, animals running into walls and graphical glitches here and there. I believe Bioware have sorted a good portion of these issues out now but not once did it ruin the overall experience for me.
I could see why Bioware’s latest RPG achieved Game of the Year with its huge game world, intricate storylines, interesting characters and a deep combat system. My biggest issues were the samey feeling side quests and the issues I encountered which Bioware is working on constantly. A huge RPG that will keep players busy for quite some time.
Story - 4/5
Graphics - 4/5
Gameplay - 3/5
Overall - 4/5
Version reviewed - Xbox One