In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Dragon Age: Inquisition

aka: Dragon Age: Inkwizycja
Moby ID: 70317
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a role-playing game and the third main game in the Dragon Age series. It is set in the Thedas continent, the same fantasy world as the two previous games. It consists of two large countries: Ferelden (from Dragon Age: Origins) and Orlais, as well as the land inbetween. The story picks up after the events of the supplementary novels Dragon Age: Asunder and The Masked Empire describing a civil war in Orlais between the loyalists of the ruling Empress and a noble faction led by her cousin Grand Duke Gaspard.

After the events of Dragon Age II the Circle of Magi has gone rogue and the mages are at war with the Templar Order seceded from the Chantry. The player's character enters the game world from the Fade, a breach to another dimension caused by an explosion at a peace conference between mages and templars. Many clerics, including their leader the Divine, are killed and initially the player's character is held responsible for that, as the only survivor to come out of the blast. The character has however no memory of what has happened, but discovers powers that are capable of closing rifts as is then referred to as the Herald of Andraste. The initial premise is to close these rifts, with the help of the former associates of the Divine, Cassandra and Leliana, former templar Cullen and ambassador Josephine. Following the Divine's last orders they establish the Inquisition, an independent group to close the rifts and bring those behind it to justice.

True to the spirit of the series the character can be customized for appearance, sex, class and race. The available races are dwarf, elf, human, and Qunari and the classes are mage, rogue, and warrior with three specializations each. To grow the Inquisition experience needs to be earned by completing quests, which allows the player to further define allegiances and pursue romances. A custom party can be defined and each member benefits from experience as it opens up access to better weapons and more abilities. Power points open up new areas and Inquisition points define the influence over the region; each new level provides a perk that benefits the entire Inquisition. The main hub for quests is the Inquisition's war table. The War Council consists of Cassandra (also available as a party member), as well as Cullen, Josephine and Leliana. The latter three advisers can be assigned tasks to complete on their own to progress, unlocking new characters, quests and areas.

The party of four travels to different regions, mainly with the main goal to close a rift and defeat a rival faction, but there are also many sidequests not related to the main story, along with the allegiance towards templars or mages which offers separate missions, and character quests to please specific characters, often for romantic purposes. Each main mission has a recommended level to start and there are multiple difficulty levels. For combat the game can be played as an action RPG, controlling one character while the AI handles the other three, or using a more tactical approach. In the tactical mode the game is paused and orders can be issued. There are also many more details for enemies shown then, such as the HP, strengths and weaknesses. By holding a button the action can be started and as soon as it is released the game pauses again. Even when approaching it an an action RPG you still define the abilities of the other party members through skill trees and you can guide their general approach, such as aggressive or rather relying on defense. Weapon and equipment management through an inventory is also present as well as crafting based on recipes.

Multiplayer is available for up to four players, working cooperatively with quests separate from the single-player game, a first for the series. It is linked through the single-player game setting as the party members act as agents for the Inquisition. Also entirely new to the series is the introduction of optional micropayments to speed up progress, through the acquisition of the Platinum currency. Unlocked or crafted items cannot be transferred between the two game modes.

Spellings

  • Dragon Age: Инквизиция - Russian spelling
  • ドラゴンエイジ: インクイジション - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

1,354 People (1,291 developers, 63 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 40 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 32 ratings with 1 reviews)

Two steps forward, two steps back

The Good
In my review of Dragon Age II I talked much about how the repetitive environments and the small size of Kirkwall sucked my enjoyment out of the game. No one could say the same thing about Dragon Age: Inquisition: It has a multitude of huge areas which are - with a few exceptions - a joy to look at and explore. It can't be overstated how well the environments are built. In fact, even over five years after release I am hard pressed to come up with a game with better looking areas.

BioWare also resisted the urge to force the player to visit all areas - I actually believe the majority are completely optional! This works towards the feeling of not being pushed into a certain direction and - at least for other player types than myself - leaves one free to abandon unwanted tasks. The main quests, on the other hand, are linear and spectacular and therefore are a welcome diversion from exploring.

Like all BioWare RPGs, the companions play an important part. Most of them are not vital to the main story, but they have unique personalities and are fun to speak to. Except for Sera, who I did not enjoy at all with the monkey-cheese humor and puns, but your mileage may vary. However, nine companions are a few too many: when you make the rounds after a main quest, you might spend over an hour with all new conversations. I think two companions per class would have been perfectly sufficient because there are two mechanical skill directions per class. However, as with Dragon Age II, the companion quests are the highlights of the game.

The Bad
Unfortunately the big areas have a huge disadvantage: BioWare neglected to fill them with interesting content. Most have a flimsy excuse of a area main quest and otherwise just collection filler content. Because some other areas are not even interesting to look at (the Hissing Wastes, one of the two high-level areas, are an especially bad example of level design), the game would have been served better with cutting half of the areas and make more interesting content for the remaining.

The war table, one of the game's biggest advertised new mechanics, is a disappointment. The usage of real time is a free-to-play mechanic which has no place in a full price game because it leads to unnecessary disruptions (notifications of finished missions) which hurt immersion. It may even lead to the player interrupting their current occupation just to go back to the war table! At least this would be my concern if most stories weren't uninteresting and the rewards only a drop in the bucket. I played the game over the holiday season and had mostly longer playing sessions. Even after finishing all side quests, I still had not enough time to finish all war table missions before ending the main quest.

This leads to the power mechanic: besides the usual experience points, the player also earns power points which are used to unlock more areas and main quests. In my opinion, this is a poor gating mechanism: thorough players soon have more than enough power to last through the whole game while others are forced to do boring side quests in order to get to the good stuff.

I found it baffling how many inconveniences the game had which shouldn't occur in an AAA game: the UI is poor (for example, new codex entries are marked with so little contrast that they can't be easily noticed and the font is hard to read), the controls feel unpolished (the gamepad works better than mouse+keyboard, but still not perfectly) and navigating vertically is a pain because you can never tell if a slope can be jumped on or if it was treated with instant-slipping gel respectively invisible walls.

Combat is obviously supposed to be a mix between the tactical combat of Dragon Age: Origins and the action combat of DAII. Unfortunately this approach does not work very well because it combines the negative sides of both approaches without achieving their positives. At least on normal difficulty, combat is too easy to require any tactical thoughts except using the strongest abilities and healing potions; the hard enemies only take long to kill because they have a ton of health. On the other hand it misses the over-the-top effects of DAII and the characters have a less interesting character design which means it is also not very fun to look at. The tactical view does not work at all. I didn't need once and unfortunately this is a good thing: you can't zoom out enough and the cursor works like a physical character, i.e. you can't just move it over a slope, you actually have to make a detour over the walkway. It is unusable with mouse and keyboard and works only little better with gamepad.

The Bottom Line
It seems BioWare wanted to change everything people complained about in Dragon Age II, but unfortunately they went overboard. For every aspect they fixed, they broke something else. In the end, I did enjoy it more than DAII - but not as much I expected.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (303501) · 2021

Trivia

Awards

  • EGM
    • 2014 - ranked 1 (Top 25 of 2014)
  • The Game Awards
    • 2014 — Game of the Year — Won
    • 2014 — Best Role Playing Game — Won

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Havoc Crow, Karsa Orlong, Kam1Kaz3NL77, Kennyannydenny, Zhuzha.

Game added December 28, 2014. Last modified June 5, 2024.