Dragon Age: Inquisition

9.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Sound: 10/10

the choices you make actually make a difference to the story, truly fun sidequests, implementation of Dragon Age Keep, how personal the game feels, audio and visual presentation, the sheer amount of content is staggering

combat doesn't require much strategy outside of a few battles, Knight Enchanter Mage is somewhat overpowered, The Hinterlands...ugh!

Game Info

GAME NAME: Dragon Age: Inquistion

DEVELOPER(S): BioWare

PUBLISHER(S): EA

GENRE(S): PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

RELEASE DATE(S): November 18th, 2014

You’re probably sitting there wondering, “Didn’t this game come out in November? What took these bums so long to review it?” Believe me I totally get it. I am honestly shocked at how long I ended up playing Dragon Age and to be honest I had a review ready to go in the middle of January but we decided that a game like this required more. I set about replaying the game from another angle so as to give you the reader an even better understanding of what Dragon Age has to offer.  It was a labor of love, the biggest review I’ve written for GameGravy, and the most time I’ve put into a video game in over a decade save for maybe Skyrim.  I hope you enjoy the review and pick up the game especially since EA will be unveiling some DLC soon.

I have been dubbed the “Sports Guy” here at GameGravy after writing reviews for NBA 2K15 and MLB The Show 14 and it is rightfully deserved due to how much time I devote to being a fan. Having said that, I have poured more hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition than I’d care to admit. It is most assuredly my personal Game of the Year. After a few let downs from some other big name releases in 2014 (looking right at you Destiny and Assassin’s Creed) I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed my time in Thedas. An engrossing story, well crafted characters, solid though sometimes easy combat, and an aesthetically pleasing world are what await players.

Inquisition feels like the love child of the combat from Dragon Age II mixed with the world building and openness from Origins. To me this is the best of both worlds. The graphical variety of the areas you visit is impressive and the character models look great especially during the closeups (those mustaches!). The voice work is fantastic with solid performances especially from Iron Bull, Morrigan, and Dorian. The soundtrack from Trevor Morris does a very good job setting the mood for the major events that take place. The plot may seem a bit “chosen one saves the world” from the beginning stages but quickly shows that it’s more than that when you have to start making choices some of which can alienate your team members and surrounding major players. There is quite a bit of political intrigue and history involved in these lands and their ruling bodies so it isn’t the cookie cutter black and white it first appears to be.

With the leap over to the current generation of systems Bioware created a way to export your own personal world into DAI with Dragon Age Keep. The tapestry gives you the ability to go over all of the decisions you’ve made over the two previous games so the your Thedas is unique to you. Of course you can use the default world but it is cool to see some of those previous decisions show up here. It will take you some time to do so and requires some account linking which you may not want to sit through but I enjoyed the exercise.  Believe me there are some HUGE ways that the world changes depending on what you “chose” in the previous games or in the Keep.  Your Thedas and Inquisitor will vary greatly from that of your friends.

Your fully customizable Inquisitor will have a customizable Keep in the game as well so you can have whichever fancy pants throne, banners, windows, and even bed you want. That’s right, you can finally outfit your digital avatar with that beautiful four post you’ve always wanted. One of the most important things you’ll do in your Keep is at the War Table. Here your Inquisitor and your advisers will be conducting research, opening up new areas to explore and conducting covert ops within the world to further your interests. You’ll also upgrade your party with with abilities such as carrying more loot, or harvesting more ingredients for crafting. Each of your 3 advisers Leliana, Josephine, and Cullen have their strengths and weaknesses for different activities such as Leliana being better at leading the covert attacks on your enemies.

Combat and quests are the bones of most RPGs and DAI does a very good job on both ends. The tactical camera can give you the ability to see the battlefield from an overhead perspective and control your team members on an individual basis. This comes in real handy when going against some of the more challenging bad guys that roam the world. If you haven’t played KOTOR or either of the previous Dragon Age games the combat can take some getting used to since the most important thing you’ll do in battle actually takes place before you get into a fight. The leveling system and skill tree can be set to auto and you never really have to look at it again, but what’s the fun in that? Tinkering with each character’s class (rogue, warrior, or mage) was one of my favorite parts of the game since one rogue can be vastly different from another and that goes for the rest of the classes as well. An example would be the differences between my mage Inquisitor and Solas another mage. I set my Inquisitor on the path to being a Knight Enchanter making him a well rounded melee attacker as well as magic user.  My version of Solas was no bueno as a fighter, but great as a healer and master of Rift Magic causing meteors to plummet to the ground all the while casting a protection barrier around the rest of my merry band of combatants.  It’s these decisions before combat that provided me with a lot of fun messing around with different combinations.  As an aside, you are able to respend all of your ability points by purchasing an item from certain shops that allows you to start from scratch for a character and rebuild them.

In the skill tree menus you’ll set up behaviors for your party members such as when to use specific sets of skills (feel free to make your favorite Taken joke here), when to heal, how frugal to be with their abilities, or who to target first in combat. Many of these things can be overridden while in combat by switching to the Tactics camera or switching to characters individually.  I found that relying on character switching to be cumbersome as the combat is fast and you’ll be quickly out numbered by demons and the like. The tactics camera is great for the major fights but should you take the time to set your characters up in the menu the speed, fluidity, and efficiency of battle is a wonder to behold. I took great joy in my well oiled team of death merchants rampaging through enemies once I became proficient in the system.

Dragon Age shines brightest in building the friendships with your inner circle, and providing some really cool side quests to complete such as Iron Bull’s freedom, destroying red lyrium for Varric, or finding Cole’s identity.  Make no mistake you’ll have to go out of your way to get the most out of your companions but these were some of the best missions in the game as well as fantastically written story elements. Blackwall’s personal journey comes to mind as something you shouldn’t miss even if you don’t use him all that much in combat.  My favorite moment of the game is one of these side stories where your Inquisitor gets together with his companions and has a few drinks and plays some cards. The camaraderie shown between the characters is both well written and acted making me more willing to drive forward in the story. It helped me grow more attached to the characters and understand their motivations so you know how your decisions will affect them and the story moving forward in DLC form or another sequel.

Alright, enough pleasantries, lets get into the minor gripes I have. Once my Mage became a Knight Enchanter it completely changed the way I played the game. The Spirit Blade ability pretty much turned my vulnerable Mage into an unkillable Jedi able to wreak havoc from distance or up close. While awesome it indirectly dropped the difficulty of the combat for me. Especially against the Dragons, which went from highly strategic bouts to me just casting Barrier then hammering those poor geckos with my magic lightsaber. There were some graphical and gameplay hiccups along the way like riding an invisible mount for a few seconds or when I’d have nonexistent conversations with NPCs. The Hinterlands…why did I spend so much time there? Seriously, get out of the Hinterlands as soon as you feel comfortable with the gameplay mechanics and combat. You’ll thank me for this. There is an online component but unfortunately I was never able to get a good game together to see if I actually liked it or not. While that’s not a big deal to me and I didn’t deduct any points from the score I gave it, I understand some people will have an issue with this. I’m certainly not complaining since I dropped well over 100 hours of time into just the single player campaign.

The Recommendation

Dragon Age Inquisition is a great single player RPG and one of the few games this year that exceeded my expectations and if you’re inclined to spend a good amount of time in Thedas I believe you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s pleasing on the eyes and the ears with a solid story where there are gray areas and the choices you make can change the landscape of the game. I’m definitely looking forward to how the world continues to evolve along with my character’s role in it. When the credits rolled and Morrigan gave the epilogue I immediately created a new character and jumped back in. It’s the first time I’ve done that with a game in a really long time. Good luck future Inquisitors!

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4)
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

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Author: Dante View all posts by
Living in Detroit by way of Miami. I try to play as many videogames, read as many books, and consume as much football basketball and baseball as I can without my head exploding. Looking forward to: Zelda, South Park, Horizon, Mass Effect, Red Dead, and Mario Odyssey.