There are 2 reasons that I did not play Dragon Age Inquisition when it first came out:
- I was already playing the Witcher 3, and I only have space for 1 RPG in my life at any point in time.
- The game was not available in India either physically or in the digital store.
3 years on, and a chance encounter in the Playd Bin (cheap pre-owned games) at an EB store in Canada, I finally bought Dragon Age Ori…I mean Inquisition home (I can’t count the number of times I have messed that up).
0 Hours In…
Now I play RPGs in a very specific manner. A manner which involves me reading multiple walkthroughs, trophy guides and forum threads, which show me the optimum path to play the game. I want the best ending and the best skill-set. I don’t want to miss a single side quest, and I want to make love to all ‘FEMALES’ that I can. I only want to play the game once and on the hardest setting. If I am gonna commit 100 hours of my life, I am going in prepared. I find this immersion simulating, I read and I find out more about the world that way, and it feeds into my other hobby of reading and fantasy. It’s a vicious cycle, only it makes me feel like a gamer more than any other genre.
With Dragon Age Or.. Inquisition, however, I decided to wing it. No guides, no walkthroughs, no pre-reading about the lore. I lowered down the difficulty. Created a mage character (I normally play Tanks/Warrior/Knights but if we are descending into chaos, why not go all the way), and jumped into Dragon Age Orig…. I mean Inquisition.
15 minutes in and I was offered my first choice, and I could already feel the corner of my eye twitching. My wife thought I had had a stroke. Ok so maybe, some guides to make the best choice at crucial points in the game.
10 Hours In…
For all the flack that Bioware gets, I have never played a Bioware RPG that I didn’t like. And I played Mass Effect as an FPS on the first playthrough (Long Story that). I even enjoyed Mass Effect Andromeda (Blasphemy I know), primarily because I love a good narrative, and Bioware nail narrative, EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Every game, Bioware finds a way to script a tale which carries Bioware’s signature tropes and is still unique from everything that has come before. In Origi…Inquisition, for example, you don’t play a chosen one left out on his own to realize his destiny. Instead, you play as a chosen one..err.. with a few believers by your side. It just takes that Chosen One mechanic and adds a layer of leadership to it, and it transforms the game.
And then there is “In Your Heart Shall Burn.”
This quest which represents the halfway mark in the game (I assume), would have been the climax of a lesser RPG. With twists and reveals, and an epic stand-off against the big baddy, you almost doubt yourself and think maybe the game is supposed to be this short. But it’s not, after an exhilarating 45 minutes, you will realize that the balance of power has shifted once again, and the primary threat that you were building toward has now been replaced by another much darker, more tangible Evil. It’s like playing 2 small RPGs where your character, stats, and choices just carry over.
For the real surprise though, just stroll into Rebel Queen Ravine in the Hinterlands.
30 Hours In…
But Dragon Age Origin…Inquisition also suffers from the same problems that other Bioware games have in the past. In fact, I could see the predecessor of many Mass Effect Andromeda problems in Inquisition. Mediocre facial animations, broken character models, texture popping and very sluggish non-impactful, non-intuitive combat.
Then the quests too are a little repetitive. And I mean they are literally the same quest only in a different map. I mean they have the same name, the same objective, and the same rewards. It’s the copy paste of questing.
Then there is no context, most quests just END. No dialogues, no thank you notes, no theatrics, they just kind of whittle down after you have collected 20 bear hides and handed them off to this elf who is kind of a snotty little prick.
50 hours In…
Interestingly, these missions are some of the best mission the game has to offer, and you wonder why they are so difficult to unlock. And the interactions you have with your NPCs once you finish the main story mission. Top Notch. Why not make them more frequent, I wonder?
Thankfully, the difficulty had been toned down enough so that I could get away with me doing all battle in real time.
The only downside of this, that I will never be able to 100% the trophies for Inquisition since one of them requires the game to be finished on the toughest difficulty. But I worry about this a lot less now than I used to 3 years earlier, in fact, I consider it a minor miracle that I get to finish a game from start to finish these days, given my recently achieved Dad status IRL.
Being a dad and pressed for time, has also led me to the following 2 conclusions:
- I don’t read lore in-game if I have to scroll down more than once. Because it eats into my game-time. The only reason I talk to NPCs about the game world is that I think it might open up new quests or improve my standing with that NPC. In which case I would exhaust all my dialogue options in 1 go and then not talk to them for hours (days in-game), which is very much like my real self.
- The best place to read lore is on the loading screen. Only in Dragon Age Inquisition, the loading times are so quick, I am not able to read a single paragraph (The only time I am disappointed that a game loading times are less). Maybe put in a “Press Accept Button To Continue” thing the next time.
Ok Less Dad Talk, and more RPG watch.
68 Hours And Counting…
Even with all its failings, Dragon Age Origins….Inquisition has finally lifted me out of the Destiny 2 Forsaken lurch that I had found myself in the past 3 months. It satisfies that RPG itch and makes me want to head back home from the office. Its entirely possible that you haven’t tried out Inquisition yet, and if you have any affinity for RPGs, you will find Inquisition up to the task.
It’s in that sweet spot too, where it’s not old enough to age, and yet old enough to run on decent hardware. You can easily find the game on Steam, PSN or Live Store, unless you are in India, which would make getting your hands on it, a tad more complicated. But I am sure you can figure it out.
Now only if I can stop calling it Origins.