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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition PC Review - 9.7/10

"What?! Not a perfect score? This is a travesty!" "Well obviously they didn't give the game a perfect score! They don't want to be fanboy/girling!"
These are things people may say about my review and they are... somewhat justified. I'd like to say first off I've only played a few hours of the game. I did not get a review copy so I had to get it at release. To ensure I receive as much traffic and views for this review, I am only able to do so many hours. Also, I have to sleep before work, so stop whining. In any case, I believe the first few hours of a game really defines whether you will like it or not. Suffice it to say, yes I do like this game. What stops it from being perfect? Read below to find out yourself.

The Good:
The game is beautiful of course, though I didn't see much of it. My PC is about average with about 8 gigs of RAM and a video card that is somewhat outdated. What I have seen I can say without a doubt there was a lot of work put into the visuals. Not only in the sense they look pretty but also have a nice finish to them. Unfortunately, on my PC anything with a sort of sheen or glimmer or reflection comes out looking like oil. This isn't a terrible thing until you consider most of the armor and yes even faces. Not only faces but the hairs of every character I've come across makes it look as though they'd taken an oil bath prior to any conversation with me. This strangely doesn't apply to the cut scenes in which all characters look as they should. Another weird thing is colors. Casandra in my game has purple hair but in cut scenes its the normal black. Minor issues that don't really detract from the game. Its one of those games that makes me want to go out and get a new video card.
Combat is excellent. I chose two classes, Rouge and Mage, and both feel completely different while still being easily accessible. Mage does his far away thing while a Rouge can be sneaky melee while at the same time be ranged as well. The fact that you can chose between what to specialize in with certain classes is a definite plus for me, as I can be an archer or a dagger wielder should I choose and can switch at nearly any time. Combat is quick, decisive and easy to navigate while at the same time holding a surprising amount of depth.
The environments are really expansive. I also like the added ability to jump about, which may not seem like much but in terms of getting about it definitely makes things easier. One of the major things that frustrated me in the previous games were those small walls or even fences/gates. Minor nuisances out of combat but in it could mean death as a cheap enemy snipes your team while you struggle to run around.
I know it seems simple, but there's a button that allows you to search for items. Sounds weird, but it is a useful addition that I like. Pressing the V button sends out a ping that tells you items are near. Time was you had to search about. Now, I can easily know whether to look or move on.

The Bad:
The game is buggy. Sure. Just about every game that comes out is somewhat buggy but when it becomes annoying is when it messes with my quests. I tried to talk to a quest giver and POOF, just vanished. I walked around for a bit and they reappeared. Not long after, I took a quest, finished it and went back to the giver. However, I couldn't gain the reward. I decided it was time to go to bed so I saved it and suddenly she decided to acknowledge me. Quests and combat are the bread and butter of RPGs. If you don't have them, then you don't have an RPG in the traditional sense. If these two mechanics are broken, then you might as well not play the game at all. That being said, this problem can always be patched in the future.
If I have one advice for you PC players, its to not use the internet during this. Sounds weird, but trust me. When I first tried to play, it took about ten seconds to log into the network. Alright. Something wrong happened and I had to quit out. When I came back, that log in took a minute and then crashed the game. Isolated incident? I would have thought so too, until it happened three more times. Took a minute, game crashed. When I turned off the internet, suddenly it worked fine. I've been told EA's servers are not the greatest. I think the SimCity debacle can show us all that. Again, this can be patched, but its a scar or a stain on this game for the time being.

The Meh:
Minor nip pick here but its a good one. I was a preorderor (pre-order-er?) so I got all the fancy bits and bobs for my added Deluxe edition. So... pray tell, why is it that when I pick up a cool set of armor and staff, I find a better staff within a few minutes. 2 minutes if I had to be exact. And no, I wasn't in the overworld or didn't just defeat the boss of all bosses. I got into the town before the part in the story where the Inquisition is finally formed at the Chantry. Instead of being a good little player and continuing the story, I started to look around. Then I found just a staff around the cells which had a higher damage. Later, about an hour later, I found a piece of armor to trump my newest fanciest dragon armor. I'm kind of tired of buying optional DLC armor that's not as good as other armor a few seconds later. I know there shouldn't be that much of an advantage over other players but at least give me the incentive to actually want to buy more DLC weapons and armor, maybe?
In Dragon Age: Origins, race and where you came from meant something... unless you were a mage, then off to the same place with you. There was a difference between being a city elf and a dalish, a human noble and... whatever the other option was I didn't really care to find out. In this game you're just... you. I wanted to be a city elf mage (so I could make the Chantry as annoyed as possible, of course) but not only was I forced into being a dalish but I couldn't even get rid of the tattoo on my face. Basically all that separates the dalish from the city elves in terms of visual look is basically a Mike Tyson-esque face tattoo... which I'm not too fond of. Your character always starts out in the same place. No more introductory quest to get you up to speed on who, what and where you are and how you fit into this. Its minor because the game is good and I can tell it wants to tell a cohesive story, so I can let it slide.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a melding of the two previous games. Unfortunately a few details got left off in some of the previous games. Minor things that I wish were back such as being a diverse character in the world. It is an excellent game, one I will continue playing and it is definitely worth the price of admission. It is a love letter to the RPG genre in a whole and definitely both a match for the great games Bioware has made and a testament to their story telling prowess. I look forward to picking apart this game to find out every secret and ending I can.

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