Dragon Age: Inquisition is an absolute beast of a game. The content seems almost endless, with a beefy main story, hundreds of side-quests and even more smaller missions and events dotted around the gigantic game world. It is almost never ending. I’ve been playing for over 15 hours, in my limited time off, and I seem to have completed a plethora of side-quests and about two main story missions. I still have hundreds of other side-quests ready to go in my quest-list and I’ve not even fully explored the game world yet. To be perfectly honest, it’s pretty daunting. I want to play the game, and I want to complete it because I love playing it, but I just don’t know if I’m going to have the time to do it justice before the end of the year. I can see it being one of those games that I’ll be playing for years to come… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
The latest instalment in the Dragon Age series has been met with almost universal praise from the ‘industry’. The gamers, however, seem to be quite literally divided. Now, before I go quoting Metacritic scores, I just want to say that I don’t trust the Metacritic user review/score section – because people seem to be crazily inconsistent with their scoring, with the majority either being zeroes or tens. Still, Metacritic users seem to have given the game an average score (across all platforms) of around 6. Considering the review average is around 8.5, that’s quite a jump. I can’t help but wonder why people seem to have such mixed opinions about the game… maybe it’s because there’s just so much content?
Part of the reason for this 50/50 split could well be the sheer volume of content and, perhaps, the style of gameplay. I’ll start with the gameplay. Inquisition isn’t an RPG along the lines of games like Skyrim. It’s slightly less ‘western’ than some people might have expected, drawing a lot from the original Dragon Age game (Origins), and borrowing very little from Dragon Age 2. The combat is tactical, and running in swinging and slashing will just end up getting you killed. It also has a sub-game running in the background, which is controlled from the War Room. This is basically a battle for recourses as you’re attempting to spread your influence across the game world. These missions aren’t playable, rather you send members of the Inquisition off and they’ll complete the tasks for you (much like the system used in the later Assassin’s Creed games). It’s an incredibly tactical game, and the combat is very unforgiving – sometimes that doesn’t make for an enjoyable playing experience, but I personally like the challenge.
And now, going on to reason number two, the content. There’s just so much! I’ve already mentioned the missions and the story, but that’s just one part of the bigger picture. There are hundreds of codex entries to collect, diaries to find and book extracts to read. There are also hundreds of armour and weapon upgrades to uncover as well as schematics for crafting weapons and armour sets, and that’s not even mentioning the materials you need to collect to build better weapons, armour and upgrades. Then you’ve got the multiplayer… and the DLC that will inevitably be coming along in the next year. It’s all pretty overwhelming at times, and it takes a lot of effort to follow everything that you’re doing and have already done. I’ve found myself lost once or twice in this wealth of content, and I think that can be quite daunting for some people – particularly those who haven’t played a Dragon Age game before, and aren’t keyed up on the lore, history and backstory.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is probably one of my favourite games of the year. It’s definitely the best RPG on the next-gen… not that there’s much competition. I think that you just need to give it a chance to grow on you, whilst you find your feet and manage to digest all of that content. I can understand that it might not be for everyone, though. There’s a lot there, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.