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Dragon Age Inquisition: A Review

After fighting my way through a treacherous mountain pass, I have finally made it to the clearing that harbors The Breach, a massive, glowing, green ‘rift’ that looms before me, spelling danger to anyone who dares approach it. To my left and my right, faithful inquisition soldiers fall to the monstrous ‘Pride Demon’ that stands before me, its grating laughter a clear insult. A lone objective flashes on the screen: Close the breach. This is but one of the many atmospheres that Dragon Age: Inquisition masterfully crafts.
Anybody who calls them self a fan of the RPG genre has surely heard of the Dragon age franchise. Developed by Bioware Studios, this franchise, like the many that they have created before it, has shown itself to be very capable of crafting new worlds and fleshing out memorable characters. However, very rarely does an RPG truly feel immersive. This is where Dragon Age: Inquisition separates itself from its competitors; where most games that dip into the RPG genre use linear levels and objectives, Dragon Age: Inquisition utilizes a more unique pseudo-open world style. This generally means that, although a story related mission is available in a certain area of the game, the player is not forced to complete it at that moment. Instead, they are free to explore to their heart’s content and may choose to play the story mission when they feel comfortable enough.
The world itself consists of ten different areas as well as two hubs; one a home base and the other a shopping area that feels more like a mall than anything. Players interact with and unlock each area using a mechanic that is brand new to the Dragon Age franchise, the war table. On the war table, the Inquisitor can send one of three agents on different micromanagement missions called operations that unlock themselves as the story progresses, or when other operations are completed. In order to progress the story of the game, power is needed. In the game’s sense, power is the influence that the Inquisition holds over the realm of Thedas. To the player, however, power is the means by which new areas are unlocked and actions are taken. This would normally pose the problem that gamers know as grinding, but fortunately Dragon Age: Inquisition finds a way around this as well; power is earned by setting up camps within each playable area as well as completing side missions within the game.
Another mechanic that makes its first appearance in this game is the tactical camera. This mode can be best equated to that of an RTS game or at least one that is similar to the earlier iterations of Dragon Age. Using this, a player can manage the battlefield much more effectively as it shows the area from the top down rather than on a horizontal plane. My experience with this showed me that it made the game too easy as I was able to stop a fight in the middle of it, but still retain control over the battle. That aside, the tactical camera definitely makes the game interesting and not in a bad way.
However, with all that this game does right, it also has its faults. On more than one occasion, I got stuck, forced to play in the perspective of a character other than the Inquisitor. After frustratingly trying to force my view back, I found that the only way to remedy this was an immediate game reset. Speaking of the game getting stuck, the level up interface would sometimes freeze in a strange limbo between loaded, yet unloaded, forcing me to reset as no available button combination or sequence would reverse this. It seems as though most if not all of the game’s single player glitches revolve around inopportune freezing as at some points throughout the game, cutscenes would freeze, leaving me staring at the screen for as long as a minute without progressing.
Finally, this game, like its immediate developmental predecessor, Mass Effect 3, contains a cooperative multiplayer mode. Where Mass Effect went with a horde mode style, Dragon Age incorporated a linear dungeon crawl that felt very reminiscent of the games story missions. But, unlike Mass Effect’s multiplayer, Dragon Age’s, after playing through the same four missions repeatedly, grew stale. This is likely attributed to the shooter element of Mass Effect; regardless of your level, the enemies’ weapons still did damage.
These missteps do not define the game; its intricate narrative, memorable characters and classic formula do. If there’s anything left to say about it, it would be that I was left impressed and excited for more.