Zoe’s RPG Corner: Dragon Age: Inquisition

08-DAI 1

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a single-player 3rd person RPG that exists to expand the world of Thedas in a way players have never seen before, redeem the franchise after the up and down ride of Dragon Age 2, and make straight white boys really angry (apparently.)

History and Development

Dragon Age III had a lot of buzz for a long time before it was ever announced.  Even around the time that Dragon Age II was coming out, people were finishing it and going “where’s the next one?”  Unlike Dragon Age: Origins, everyone knew there was going to be another one.  There’s this whole thing that goes down in Dragon Age II (look, accept that this review will have spoilers in it, you have been warned) and that, coupled with the framing mechanism and final scene of the game made it clear that there was something more coming.  So players had been waiting for this game for years.

The game was announced in 2011 but didn’t come out until November of 2014.  It was suppose to come out a month earlier but production was delayed.  The stated goal was basically to take all the good shit from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and just squish it all together in a prettier container.  And basically that’s what they did.  They introduced another new PC, instead of continuing the Warden or Hawke from previous games, took the streamlined mechanics of Dragon Age II and the more open world of Dragon Age: Origins, and made this really quite lovely game that doesn’t feel at all like the Frankenstien’s monster it kind of is.

I do actually have a fun story for this.  My friend bought me this game because at the time I was broke, unemployed, and living with my mother.  Also, I had no internet access.  It was a rough time.  He apparently decided that I really needed Dragon Age: Inquisition because I am a huge Dragon Age fangirl and I think he wanted someone to talk to about the game as he played it.

I of course was very excited.  Shout out to my favorite physicist video game sugar daddy (I cannot believe I just typed that phrase.)

But then it took me two weeks to download it at the library and my computer hates it so the loading screens freeze for like sometimes an hour and a half and it’s hilarious.  If I hadn’t been raised in a time when computers were still glitchy as frak as a rule, I would be super upset about it, but I’ve got infinite computer patience.  I get a lot of reading done while playing.

Character Creation

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE HUMAN!

I know that was way too excited about that, but you have no idea how much I dislike being a human in games.  It’s just a weird personal thing because I generally get super tired of it.  I honestly do not care.  If I can avoid it, I will.  And Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn’t make you.  It lets you be one of four races.  Yes, that’s right, one of four.  The three of Dragon Age: Origins (Human, Elf, or Dwarf) and a new one, Qunari, who are basically seven foot tall grey skinned horned giants.  I love them.  I love being a video game giant at the best of times (see: Guild Wars 2 Norn) but the Qunari are fascinating and I’m all about it.

There’s less in the way of customizable origin story but I can’t fault the designers for that.  This game is huge.

But what it may lack in story customization, the character creator more than makes up for in physical customization.  Like, the amount of stuff you can do with your character’s face is insane.  There are sliders for everything.  There’s a color wheel for eyelashes, for god’s sake.  You can do so much with it.

08-DAI 2

Frakkin’ EARLOBE SIZE.  I don’t know about you, but that’s not even something I notice on people.

My complaints are the same as everyone else’s really.  Qunari lady hair is weak and every artist I’ve ever seen draw their female Qunari character creates a different hairstyle for her, me included.  But I guess I can accept that when it comes down to it because it’s just so much fun.

Story

Dragon Age: Inquisition has, I think, the most straightforward story of all the Dragon Age games.  Dragon Age: Origins had a pretty linear one but there were all sorts of little finicky bits that pulled you around and off course – each area had a choice and specific things to do regarding that choice.  Dragon Age: Inquisition is a little more traditional.  A thing happens.  A bad guy did it.  Collect some friends.  Solve the mystery.  Kill the bad guy.

This isn’t in any way a dis to this game.  Sometimes it’s nice to have something that’s pretty solid and linear.  I think that BioWare took a lot of risks with Dragon Age II in terms of story structure and found that they didn’t pay off quite the way they’d hoped.  Once bitten, twice shy, they fell back on what they knew, which was good old fashioned sword-and-sorcery tropes.

Here’s the basics.  You play someone present at a disastrous attack on the Church Chantry, the only survivor.  You have a weird glowing thing on your hand.  A hot battle-scared Prussian woman “recruits” (read: yells at) you to help figure out what happened and also close a big glowing green hole in the sky.

As usual, these games live and die by the NPCs and this game is no slouch on them.  They’re great.  It notably includes: the smoothest dwarf known to man, Sid Vicious if Sid Vicious was an elf chick, a crotchety old egg with pointed ears, the physical incarnation of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and a confused five-year-old.

Also there are more romances than I can count.  This game allowed me to send one of the greatest texts in history: “In the new Dragon Age game you can engage in a mostly healthy BDSM relationship with Buffy Summers’ husband.”

08-DAI 3

And his pillowy man bosoms.

Gameplay

In the development, someone on the team looked at Dragon Age II and went “You know what we did really well here?  Combat.”

There are some minor tweeks in combat from the second game, like the fact that instead of an auto-attack you have to hold down a mouse button (I hate this because I’m a wussy baby), but for the most part it’s the same kind of thing.  Skills are done via trees and mages can hit dudes.

There are two big changes.  The first is healing, because there is no healing skill.  That’s right friends, no longer can mages cast healing spells and save your failing butt when you’re trying to kill a dragon.  You’re stuck with potions (you only get a certain number of them at a time but can refill that number as much as you want…if you don’t mind going back to camp) and man are you going to feel that later.  By later I mean dragons.  Because fighting dragons can be hard as frak, let me tell you.  They are big and they hate you and they will try to kill you and they will inevitably succeed about sixty times because you have no healing skill.  Good luck, friends.

The other change is crafting.  This is a change I like a lot because it means you’re not relying entirely on loot or shops or quest rewards to keep your party armored and spiky.  Also I have a real soft spot for easy armor crafting (again see: Guild Wars 2) and this one is really simple.  They didn’t try to go too crazy.  It’s really basic and that’s the kind of thing that I’m all about.  Just let me make some pretty armor for my pretty ladies and go about my business without having to look anything up.

08-DAI 4

Also they allow you to avoid things like this. Or I guess create it if you’re mad at a companion.

Oh and you can hide helmets which makes things way less embarrassing for everyone around.  They need a better hat designer at that company.

The Good

Honestly, most of it.  It’s a solid game.  It feels traditional, sure, but it’s kind of like coming home if you’re a fan of this genre.  The environments are absolutely glorious and really make the game feel huge.  There’s a lot to do.  It’s a well thought out story line.  You see old friend from previous games, and while in this one your choices don’t feel as monumental as they did in Dragon Age: Origins, it still feels comfortably compelling.

I don’t have a whole lot of gushing to go here.  I like this game a lot.  It’s great.  But I don’t feel the need to drool over any specific aspect the way I have with other games.  The whole thing just feels complete.

The Bad

I…disagree, let’s say, with some design choices made.  Not big ones, just like…Skyhold pajamas.

08-DAI 5

This is exactly what I would wear to judge war crimes, clearly.

There are some other little nitpicky things.  I don’t like some of the hair options.  I don’t like certain companions, or at least I don’t feel as connected to and compelled by them as I do others (there are none that I hate or anything).  I would have liked a little more explanation on the big bad because he really just seems B-movie mustache-twirling evil.  But nothing is major.

The Ugly

Let’s talk about fans for a second.

See, there’s nothing I can really think of about this game that I hate.  But you know what I do hate?  People’s reaction to this game.  Oh, not the majority of players, but a certain small contingent of (probably) straight white dudes, the same ones who hated Merrill and Isabela in Dragon Age II, who are so upset that they don’t have some pretty little blonde white girl to romance in this game.

The only blonde white girl in this game is only into other women.  The straight woman is tough and has a big facial scar (and is amazing).  The bisexual woman is not white.

And then there’s Vivienne.  People HATE Vivienne.  Some for character reasons, which I’ll let pass, but a lot because of how she looks.

08-DAI 6

Which is beautiful, by the way.

I’m not even going to point out their “concerns”.  You can guess.  I just want to say that I’m really tired of hearing this out of people especially about BioWare games.  It’s really stupid.  I need everyone to maybe not do this ever.  If you have a friend who does this, slap them.  If you do this, slap yourself.  Just…this vocal minority needs to stifle themselves.

From here…?

Okay, Dragon Age: Inquisition is still very expensive and they’re coming out with DLC which is also pricey and it’s just generally still in “New Game Pricing” which I get is super hard.  I mean, I didn’t pay for this game, certainly.  But if you get a chance, if you’ve got the money sitting around, if it’s on sale, go for it.  It’s huge.  It’ll keep you occupied for a while.  It’s fun.  It’s beautiful.  It’s very, very long.  Have fun.  That’s what Dragon Age games are for.  Fun.  And also hitting on elves.

Next Month: The Exiled Realm of Arborea, more commonly known as Tera.  Ooooooh, this one is gonna be good.  The worst of boobplate, uncomfortable sexualization, and pedophelia!  And I guess we’ll also talk about the mechanics.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s