Bookmans Recommends: Dragon Age: Inquisition
By C’Loni Bailey, EEC Manager at Bookmans Mesa
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the latest installment in the hit fantasy video game series. Set not long after Dragon Age II, Inquisition opens with a huge magical breach in the sky, unleashing all manner of demons onto the already fractured world of Thedas. As the main character, you are tasked with finding a way to close the breach by forming the Inquisition and bringing together warring factions to focus their energies on the breach.
Unlike its predecessors, DA: I introduces an open world map where players can explore for hours. Exploration garners dozens of quests and optional tasks that reward you with experience, lore and the chance to get to know the people of Thedas, right down to the lowliest peasant. Every person, every quest, feels real and a part of the world. Even the trivial fetch quests feel like they have meaning to the one lowly person you are helping, if not to the overall storyline. Whereas in many fantasy games, the ordinary NPC you encounter just take up space, many of the NPC in DA: I feel like they are people with hopes, dreams, ambitions or just trying to get through life. You feel for them and it’s sad when things don’t go their way, as so often goes in the brutal world of Thedas. As with many Bioware titles, story is DA: I’s greatest strength.
I found one quest that began with a note from a man who joined the Templars to his rogue mage brother. The Templars and Mages are currently at war with each other, so I knew immediately that the brother’s relationship was not going to end well. The note read something akin to, “Father always said that if you left the circle, he would kill you himself. Well, father’s dead and now I have his sword.” He tells his mage brother to meet him at particular place to settle the issue. Later I stumble on a bunch of Templars attacking a mage. I fight them off but it is too late. Both brothers lie dead at my feet.
Another quest has me looking for the lover of a mage. “She was supposed to be here weeks ago,” he laments. I immediately know that this is not a story that will end well. Later, while wandering the wilds, I found her body lying prone along a path.
This is the way of the world in Thedas. If you manage to survive, you are one of the lucky ones. For everyone else, the life expectancy in the middle of the brutal Mage/Templar war while demons stream from the unholy breach above is extremely short, even more so if you’re a mage. The stories are brutal and sad with no bearing on the main quest line. You can easily skip them but these are the types of stories that make the world of Thedas feel like a real place and gives credence to why it is important for you, the player, to form the Inquisition and bring an end to the strife.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is not without flaws. Designed and optimized for the PS4 and XBONE, the graphics are sub-par on the older PS3 system that I use. They are akin to the quality of the first Dragon Age game, which is disappointing. The character models are stiff and walk bowlegged, the customization is limited with poor hair designs and oddly shiny skin tones. My character looks like she’s perpetually greasy. There are still bugs and considerable clipping issues, but hopefully all this will be taken care of in patches to come.
The combat system is not much of an improvement over the old combat systems. Tactical mode feels limited when you are not able to see your enemy because the trees block your view. It would have been nice if they clipped the trees out of the way so that you can see what you are doing. The combat does not feel as strategic and responsive as the previous games. The enemies are harder to distinguish on the battlefield from your allies and if you are playing a ranged character like a mage or rogue archer, you don’t feel as much a part of the action and will not likely see much of what’s going on.
For all its flaws, I enjoy the game and its story. The characters are interesting and the few you meet from past games have had considerable development from their incarnations. Dragon Age: Inquisition is definitely worth a try if you are a fan of the Dragon Age series or if you enjoy open world games and look to get immersed into a rich fantasy world with an intriguing story.
• Immersive world and story with interesting characters.
• Huge open world maps to wander around and explore.
• Tons of quests and plenty to keep you busy.
• PS3 graphics are terrible.
• Bugs and clipping issues.
• Combat system tactical mode is not as useful as in previous games.
• Combat feels less strategic.
7 out of 10 stars
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