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Dragon Age: Inquisition is an insult to Dragon Age

Content of the article: "Dragon Age: Inquisition is an insult to Dragon Age"

So, I finally gave the game another chance in November, after only looking at it briefly when it came out. First, let me say, Dragon Age: Origins is one of my favourite RPGs of all time. The way they did the origin stories and how they were integrated into the main story was amazing and still very unique to this day. I wish more games did this. Dragon Age 2 was a huge step down from Origins, with the worst offender being the level design and some of the character writing (they ruined my boy Anders!). But overall the main story was still pretty interesting and I liked some of the interactions and combat also was still mostly fun.

So, on to Inquisition. This is the first Dragon Age game I didn't even manage to finish, because at some point I just couldn't put up with it anymore. I still tried for almost 80 hours, simply because I love(d) the franchise so much, but then it just annoyed me too much and I realized I was only playing because of my nostalgia for what the franchise once was. Firstly the story: while I appreciate them building on the mage conflict from Dragon Age 2, I feel it lacked any sort of nuance and was turned into another "ancient evil" story quickly. Again the main character is some chosen one due to the circumstances and quickly gets made head of the "inquisition" (which is a stupid name, considering the historical meaning). Companions are mostly either boring, annoying or pure cringe-factor with very few in-between (honestly, the only one I really liked was Dorian). The dialogue is often poorly written and often lacks any form of subtlety or nuance.

However, the writing is far from the game's biggest issue. Which is the gameplay. Let's say it like it is: this game feels like a poorly designed single-player MMO. The previous games had smaller hub-like areas that were mostly well-designed (ignoring the copy-paste dungeons from DA2, the main areas were decent), now we have way too big "open world" maps, with tons and tons of pointless collectibles and the most lazy side-quests I have ever seen in an RPG. There are tons of find random item/note on the ground, this starts quest to bring item to someone or get an item from someone or kill someone, then the quest is done. No dialogue, no choices, no interaction. And that's not even talking about the "supply" missions, which are randomly generated missions you get from your scout camps, which require you to turn in certain items for "inquisition power", which you need in order to do wartable missions, which are real time (!) missions you can send your advisors on for some meager rewards or to unlock new areas and main missions. This all already feels like a worse version of the wartable system from WoW (at least when I last played WoW, which is a few years ago).

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But then we get to the combat and oooooh boy, did they butcher that. First off, whereas in Dragon Age Origins and 2 you had huge skill trees with lots of different abilities to fill your quick bar with (a mage in Origins might very well have the entire bottom of their screen filled with abilities), now you can have 8 abilities equipped at a time (and you have a lot smaller skill trees too). Just 8. Why? My guess, because the game was mainly designed for consoles and thus controllers, so they had to adapt it to that. Which hurt the tactical depth of the game IMMENSELY. Then they got rid of all healing spells, replacing them with "barriers". So now, the only way to heal lost health is with potions, which you can only carry a limited amount of with you, forcing you to constantly go back to camp to refill and keep collecting materials (more time wasting, yay!). This was a stupid and annoying change, which also makes no sense lore-wise. Very early on in a main mission you come across a group of wounded soldiers being healed by mages lol.

Also, auto attack is no longer "auto". Instead of selecting an enemy which your character then attacks automatically, you now need to keep the attack button pressed all the time in order to "auto" attack. This is annoying and I doubt anybody asked for this. Also, the attack animations looked much much cooler in Dragon Age 2.

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So overall I only wish I hadn't wasted so much time trying to like this game, but nostalgia can be a strong motivator I guess. Terrible game, with almost no redeeming qualities (if I had to name one, I would probably say the soundtrack was decent, but that's about it). Between this and ME Andromeda, I think it's time to officially bury BioWare as another studio that died under EA. RIP. I miss the BioWare that gave us the original Dragon Age, Knights of the Old Republic and similar classics.


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