Overwhelming would be the best way to describe the initial foray back into the world of Dragon Age. Your quest log can become gigantic as you struggle to decide whether to close rifts or hunt for that woman’s missing jewellery. In that sense, this is the exact opposite of what Bioware did with Dragon Age 2, so you may feel the need to rejoice at that.
It wasn’t a bad game per se, but changing the huge open world of Dragon Age: Origins to the smaller city of Dragon Age 2 rubbed people the wrong way. Not to mention limiting your choice of character to play as, no longer could you select a dwarf or elf each with their own unique beginnings, instead you were stuck the human Hawke. Inquisition in a lot of ways goes back to what it did so well with Origins. And you feel more like the hero than ever before.
Surviving a devastating blast that leaves many dead, as your chosen character it’s up to you to save the world from demons! It’s a standard setup of an RPG, but the way it plays out is possibly the best Bioware have ever done. You see, power is everything. As the leader of the Inquisition it’s up to you to recruit allies, complete quests and basically do everything to increase the fortunes of your people. You feel like the leader, and the one everyone is looking at to lead them. Once power is gained it’s used to open up further quests, some critical story missions, others side stories that are just as, if not more, interesting.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Missions are selected in the war room. A nicely crafted table reminiscent of old war movies where you and your allies plan your next mission. Not just for yourself, your agents can also be sent on missions solo to gain new items, this taking a specific amount of time. Much like the missions you get in an Assassin’s Creed game.
You think that’s it? Well, no. On top of the standard quests, once in the world you have landmarks to discover, new camps to setup and just general dungeons and caves to explore, usually ending in some nice new loot. The amount of content is simply staggering. Many times what should’ve been simple trips from one end of the map to the other takes an hour long detour as a new cave structure is found and must be raided. It helps that the game looks simply gorgeous, with a decent variety in environments. One minute you’ll be walking (or riding your steed) across the green fields of the Hinterlands and the next traverse the barren desert oasis, sometimes stopping to just take in the sights or use the PS4’s share feature to show everyone the view from atop the mountain you’ve just climbed.
Hilariously once you’ve finally gotten a grasp on what needs to be done, about ten hours into the game you get thrown even more gameplay mechanics to learn. It’s the game that really does keep on giving.
Of course, all this content would mean nothing if the combat doesn’t hold up. Thankfully, it does. It plays a lot like previous Dragon Age games. Along with your three fellow companions, you can simply swing your sword (or whatever weapon you may have) till everything falls down or use special abilities that are unlocked as you gain levels. Pressing the touch pad also giving you a more tactical advantage as you can organise your party in a more effective way, telling them what enemies to target and the like.
Potion hoarders though may be a little disappointed. You can only carry a limited number, with a few slots for specific potions, whether they are health or weapon related is up to you. Later in the game you get to upgrade how many you can carry, but it means there’s only so far you can go before health starts to dwindle and you’re forced to head back to your camp and restock.
As expected from a game this huge is that there are a few bugs that you will encounter. There are a few graphical hiccups here and there that can be forgiven due to the sheer scale of everything. The worst encountered is where the radial conversation wheel would disappear with the only way to progress being to skip the choice and go straight to the next piece of dialogue. Luckily it only happened a couple of times, the second of which we decided to wait around and see if dialogue would continue correctly. And it did after about two minutes of waiting. Compared to the troubles of Master Chief Collection, Assassin’s Creed: Unity and DriveClub though this seems incredibly insignificant.
In taking on the criticisms of Dragon Age 2, Bioware have created a world rich with content and adventure that is so jam packed that it’ll take you months to see everything the game has to offer. If this is just the beginning of what Bioware can produce on these current gen consoles, then this generation we’re in for a treat.