Dragon Age III: Inquisition Review
By the time I "finished" Dragon Age III: Inquisition's near 90-hour main story, I was spent. I had overthrown political parties, traveled thousands of miles and even slayed a few dragons. Somehow though, I still wanted more. Dragon Age III: Inquisition easily atones for the previous sins of Origins but still manages to fall into some of the same traps as it's older brethren. It's a sweeping game where you'll care more for the story you create than the one the game tells you is of utmost importance. It's one of the biggest games I've ever played, but I rarely felt like I was just wandering since the game is so packed with stuff to do and things to discover. It may still be haunted by the same problems that Bioware can't seem to shake, but Inquisition marks the return of what makes Dragon Age so great.
"...Inquisition sets its sights higher than previous games in the series."
Right from the beginning of the game, Dragon Age III: Inquisition sets its sights higher than previous games in the series. You're not just the leader of some group of outcasts or adventurers, you're the central figure of a sweeping political and paranormal tale. While those two may seem like as strange combination, it manages to not not only work itself out but feel completely natural. Essentially a demon spewing rift has opened up and you're at the center of it. To Inquisition's credit though, what starts as a typical clear your name style tale quickly morphs into one that progresses into one of political upheave and unrest. As you progress through the story your faction will start to gain power and become more influential in the world. While the game's main story never really went anywhere I didn't expect, I always felt like I was progressing somewhere through the game and it was fun to see just how I could assert my political dominance through my actions.
Inquisitions main story never really feels like it matches up with the grand scheme and scale of the larger established Dragon Age universe. Very rarely did I care about many of the actual events (though there were a few beats that were extremely well done) and the game's big bad is far from memorable. While Bioware games have always been more about the journey than the destination, Inquisition's constant reminder that there's an overlying story here; and one that you don't care about can be exhausting. I get that complaining about the story being so persistent is a bit of a strange complaint but when the game does this great of a job allowing you to sew your own story I found myself not caring even more.
"You'll never love fast travel as much as you do here."
While the game's main story is a bit lackluster, the world of Dragon Age III: Inquisition is so well created and so expansive that you're bound to care about the story that you create. Bioware has done a great job making even the smaller fetch-quests matter to the grand scheme of things and you never feel like you're just grinding to build your character. Helping out the ranch hand you might may lead to better mounts, or stopping the scruff in town could lead to a powerful political connection, it's things like this that kept me playing through Inquisition even when the story was dragging. It's also fun to just explore through the world Bioware has created here, there game is full of sweeping vistas and areas to explore and connections to make. You'll never love fast travel as much as you do here.
Once you do get to the point where you're high in political power, the game takes on a completely different tone and puts in the shoes of the moral decision maker. It's an interesting twist when you're passing judgment on those you encountered in previous missions. Do you execute them or give them a second chance? Do you rule with an iron fist or become a forgiving king and allow them to atone for their sins? While the game is built heavily on the game's opening acts, it's hard to argue that these later chapters with you in a position that's different than many games in the genre are the most inventive and fun. It's these missions that feel like both the culmination of what the game has done up to this point and yet a fresh start.
"...tactical view allows you a bigger sense of freedom..."
When you and your party find yourselves with no choice but to fight, the system you know from previous Dragon Age games is largely intact in Inquisition and feels great here. The biggest new addition is the tactical view system which lets you zoom the camera out to an overhead perspective and plan out your strategy as you see fit. While the camera itself can be a bit finicky, the merits of tactical view can't be ignored. Essentially slowing down the battle, you now have the freedom to survey the battlefield and take coordinate your attacks for the best results and most rewards. Hang back and have your rogue pick off outlying enemies that you wouldn't have seen by just charging in to battle or set a path of destruction for your heavy; tactical view allows you a bigger sense of freedom than many games. It's not for everyone, and luckily Inquisition's standard combat is stellar and so much fun on its own, but I loved feeling like a combat general puppet master with the tactical view system.
Dragon Age III: Inquisition feels like reuniting with a friend right after they get out of a bad relationship and in this case, her name is Dragon Age: Origins. It feels comfortably familiar yet excitingly new at the same time. Inquisition may not do that much new, but it does what it does so well that it's more than forgivable, it's encouraged. From the excellent combat to the wonderfully created world around it, you're bound to be playing Dragon Age III: Inquisition for quite some time, and having a blast doing it.
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