Dragon Age Inquisition starts out with a bang…literally. From the start screen, the moment you press a button the location you are seeing literally blows up. This story setup, a magical terrorist attack on a conclave of mages and templar, will set the stage for the rest of the game. As the sole survivor of the attack, you will craft your character in whatever image you like, choose between the mage, rogue, and warrior type classes and then be on your way. The character creation is extremely robust and I was able to craft a character to match exactly what I wanted. I decided to play as a mage because in the world of Dragon Age mages aren’t the most trusted bunch, so I knew I would get an interesting story. The facial features, hair design, voice, etc. are all customizable and you can spend a ton of time tinkering with nobs to get things right. When you finally escape the rabbit hole of character customization, you should have a character that will suite your needs.
In a BioWare game, the story is usually the main drawing point with combat and gameplay sometimes taking a secondary role. That’s a mixed bag with Inquisition. The RPG mechanics are spot on and over the course of the game you’ll be unlocking some awesome skills to increase your power and taking down more powerful enemies with each level you hit. Unfortunately, the combat isn’t very interesting. On a controller, you hold down the RT or R2 for an auto attack. Your skills are all on timers so while auto attacking, you are keeping an eye on the timers to hit them when they are ready. It’s not bad enough to push you away from the experience, it’s just not that interesting. What is interesting though is maneuvering your teammates around the battlefield for the bigger and more complex fights in the game. You don’t need to do this for the usual mobs you find on quests, but take on your first dragon and things change. It looks like BioWare took the strategic gameplay of the first game and meshed it with the more action oriented gameplay of the second and the result was something that is serviceable, but not overly unique. Probably my least favorite portion of the combat system was the removal of healing skills, opting instead, for limited potions that are shared with the entire party. Finding yourself out of potions halfway through an encounter without any supply boxes (which refill your potions) around is grounds for failure. In the future, I hope they scrap this potion choice and re-implement healing spells for mages.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is an excellent game and it’s probably my favorite game of 2014. I’m a huge story driven gamer and this game has it in spades. It’s also an OK game to play around a toddler (most of the time) as there is a lot of dialogue and running around. Fighting scenes aren’t that graphic, but they are still violence. This is a long sprawling game and there are things to do (like the war table that let’s you play a sort of Facebook style waiting game with troops) when your kid is in the room. Everything else can be left for the evening after bed time.
BioWare took what worked in the first two games and combined them into a very good Western RPG with elements of both strategy and action. The epic story and character development is the main course in this game that will easily take you over 80 hours to complete. It’s an investment for sure, and with kids vying for your time, it’s a hard sell to set aside time (at the expense of other games) to see this one through. But, if you’re willing to take the time and play through this game’s story, you absolutely won’t be disappointed. The team at BioWare have crafted an amazing game with serviceable combat and an awesome story that shouldn’t be missed, especially if you have enjoyed other games by BioWare in the past.