Xbox One Review: Dragon Age: Inquisition

Nobody expects the Thedas Inquisition!

I’ve been a fan of Dragon Age since the beginning, I have played both games and gained every painful achievement in the process, spending hundreds of hours levelling up, romancing characters, upgrading equipment and taking on thousands of quests. I have to admit, I was disappointed with Dragon Age II, it just didn’t live up to the promise of the first game and was repetitive in nature…I was worried I’d be let down again by the Inquisition, but was I right to be pessimistic?
The story follows the tale of a survivor from a rift who becomes the Inquisitor against an army of demons, led by an old foe that fans will remember. Essentially you craft your character to any you like, you want to be a fire throwing mage elf? No problem, you can choose your race and class like in the original, while in DA II you were forced to play as Hawke, a human. Sure you could choose your class, but it wasn’t the same as picking a race. Overall, the story is simple…yet gripping, you’ll come across familiar faces throughout, as well as a horde of new ones.

The amount of content in Inquisition is staggering. I spent 30 hours in the Hinterlands, the game’s first area without branching out with the main story. There are tons of side quests, opportunities to harvest herbs and raw materials for weapons and armour, as well as plenty of loot to scavenge and equip your party. One new feature is the addition of a strategic camera that basically changes the game to a strategy game that you can control, including the speed of the action…it’s a nice feature for those who want to take the combat slowly, or essentially easier on the harder difficulties.
It did seem at first that it was either incredibly tough, or I was incredibly lame at the game as I was getting my arse handed to me all the time. Turns out that it was the latter, so I restarted the game and changed my class from Warrior to Mage and never looked back. Of course, you’ll find the right class and race for you…I just handled the game better throwing lightning bolts and healing the team.

Each character in your party will have their own opinions on the choices you make, which will make them really like you, fall in love with you or begin to hate you and the more they like you, the more additional quests you’ll receive. There’s also a War Room introduced where you can send 3 agents to do side missions for you like gathering resources, gaining someone’s loyalty to the cause or opening up new areas of the World Map, as well as progressing the story further as long as you have earned enough Power from doing missions to carry on.
Combat remains the same as it did in Origins and II, so you’ll feel right at home if you’re a veteran. I did come across some odd glitches like vanishing NPCs, AoE spells forcing the view upwards to the sky for whatever reason and I have come across random crashes, as well as cutscenes that seem to stall for whatever reason, so much so that I’ve had to reset the game again. It’s a shame, but it doesn’t take away that the game does look superb, the world itself is incredibly detailed and the character’s facial animation has improved from Dragon Age II, the only thing I will say is that the character’s movements while jumping just doesn’t look or control that well.

The audio is the game’s biggest accomplishment. There are some great lines, but tons and I mean tons of dialogue for you to get through, but the music is the real star with some epic fantasy tunes, bards’ songs as well as a touching moment where everyone starts singing “The Dawn Will Come” which I suggest you immediately download or buy, however you may.

There’s also a co-operative mode for up to 4 players. Its fun and a nice addition, but limited to only 3 maps at the moment, but it does have a nice variety of objectives and the replay value comes in as only certain classes are unlocked at certain levels, so you’ll have to play a bit before you get the class you want. Like I said, a nice touch…but the real star is the main game.

The Verdict

Dragon Age: Inquisition makes up for the disappointment of Dragon Age II spectacularly with a great story, deep characters, massive lands to traverse and hundreds of quests to get your teeth into. It may be a little rough around the edges in parts, but Bioware have really outdone themselves here. Now let’s hope they can redeem themselves once more with the next Mass Effect…