Dragon Age: Inquisition Revisited

When I last left Dragon Age: Inquisition this past winter, I was picking up the pieces of an aborted playthrough with the help of a new playthrough. Gone was my “fresh start” with Inquisition, replaced by a recreation of the rogue (and roguish) female elf whom I had made for Dragon Age: Origins. Well, after a ton of fits and starts and more than little grumbling, I finally finished the game! Yes, I waved a bloody goodbye to the game’s primary antagonist, Corypheus, saved Thedas, and became the greatest Inquisitor the world had ever known. It was…enjoyable? Entertaining? Worth 50 hours of my time?

Dragon Age: Inquisition box art © Bioware, EA, Microsoft
Dragon Age: Inquisition box art © Bioware, EA, Microsoft

Yes, I can honestly say it was all those things. I had fun physically playing the game. Sure, there were some annoyances, but I generally enjoyed the combat, exploring on foot all that Thedas had to offer, conversing with friends and enemies, and eventually being at the regal and moral helm of decision-making. The game ran smoothly, the controls functioned well, and I didn’t experience any glitches that disrupted the gameplay.

The familiar green rift, ubiquitous throughout the game.
A familiar green rift, ubiquitous throughout the game.

I also found the game very entertaining. Though I was not terribly happy getting to know everyone with my first character, my second character proved to be quite the socialite. She picked up as many companions as possible and found enough pleasant discussions to fill the voids between missions. She remained as cordial as possible to most. But though she decided to side with the mages over the templars, she made some inadvertent decisions that made a few of her cohorts rather unhappy. She also made a vain attempt at romance.

It's just like real life!
It’s just like real life!

I also didn’t mind spending a work week plus overtime with my elf and her friends fighting the great fight. While I didn’t keep precise track of my time, I’d judge that I split my time with the game fairly evenly between playing the main story and sidequests/exploring. The story was okay, save for all the political bits at which I mostly just nodded my head and smiled. As usually happens in games with in-depth stories where I lose track of just how involved I need to be, I found myself more attracted to the sidequests, opening up new places, and generally roaming Thedas’s countryside.

When it came to atmosphere, the game did not disappoint.
When it came to atmosphere, the game did not disappoint.

Now, you might be think that I’m setting up things here for a bunch of “buts.” And…you’d be right! (Oh, you know me so well.) Tally Ho!

Also, SPOILERS AHEAD.

Playing the game was great, but

Okay, keeping in mind that I played this game on the Xbox One, who in their right mind this side of a blue moon decided it would be an awesome, and I mean totally awesome idea to make the A button BOTH the action button and the jump button? That mechanic drove me fucking bonkers! Because nearly every goddamn time I went to pick a plant or loot a chest or examine something, I ended up jumping. The anger I continue to feel about this can only be described by Madeline Kahn.

Goddamn, how I love Clue.

Other than that dumbassery, like I said, the game ran very smoothly. I enjoyed ranged combat so much more than being an up close and personal rogue, as it made for fun and mostly non-frustrating battles that allowed me time to make decisions. One thing that did give me pause was the way you leveled by applying points to various aspects of your character. Mapping new abilities proved more convoluted than it should have been, and at times I ended up with the same ability mapped twice. And it’s quite possible that I didn’t pay close enough attention to the system in general, as I can’t say that I took advantage of all it had to offer. My loss? Maybe. But it didn’t detract from the game so far as I could tell.

My companions where great, but

If I had had the time that I put into Mass Effect years ago (multiple playthrough, hundreds of hours), I probably would have gotten to know my Inquisition teammates better. But, I didn’t have time to spend on exploring every last conversation wheel with every last character. There were just too many damn people! Let’s see…there were your advisors: Cullen, Josephine, and Leliana. And then there were your companions: Cassandra, Solas, Varric, Iron Bull, Vivienne, Cole, Sera, Blackwall, and Dorian. Plus, at one point, Hawke from Dragon Age II made an appearance, and then Morrigan! That baker’s dozen plus one made for hundreds of conversational options. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Least of all, me. So I opted to befriend some and ignore others. Sera, Blackwall, and Dorian became my core team until Blackwall left. Then I used Iron Bull or Cassandra. I completely ignored Vivienne, Cole, and Solas (bad move there, probably), and I mostly ignored Varric, Hawke when he showed up, and my advisors. Except…for Cullen.

Awwww...okay.
Awwww…okay.

In Dragon Age: Origins, my elf had a wonderful time with Alistair that, unfortunately, ended poorly. In Dragon Age II, my Hawke only had eyes for Isabella. In Inquisition, well…there was really only one character I, err…my elf wanted to bed: Varric. This was even more true in DA II, but he was not an option. And super sadly, he remained off limits in Inquisition. Once that fact revealed itself, I was stuck wondering if I wanted to romance anyone at all. But I eventually set my sights on Cullen and Sera, (she was almost like a female version of Varric, punchy personality with a sweet, sweet voice) and end up going for Cullen after something I said made Sera quite upset.

I did my best to become all friendly with Cullen, who proved quite adorable at “flirting.” We chatted over sunsets, played a bit of chess, shared “a moment,” and I really thought I was getting somewhere…until the lyrium issue arose. Should Cullen, a Templar knight addicted to the stuff (perhaps for good reason) continue to take lyrium or quit? Well, me being me, I was all like “get off that shit, yo! You don’t need that stuff fuckin’ with your head nomore!” Err…yeah, sure. Anyway, Cullen believed me and got clean, which led to…nothing. Oh, he was quite appreciative and thankful to have me as a friend, but that was the end of it. No romp in the hay for my elf. I am just not meant to have sexy time in medieval-type fantasy games.

I went through 50 hours of hell for a wistful talk? Thanks.

The story was fine, but

So finally, dat story. I hate to keep coming back to the issue of time, but if I had had time to really sink into this game, maybe I would have gotten more into the story. It was just that, fine. I mangled my way through the major parts of it, but got mostly lost in trying to figuring out/remember who was trying to politically backstab who. Could be that I missed out on a bunch of stuff by more talking more to Leliana and Josephine. Could be that because of the way I played the game – a few hours every other weekend over several months– I just didn’t maintain the continuity required to follow all of the story’s complexities. All I knew was that I had to defeat Corypheus, but that I would first have to make my way through a bunch of minor quests to get to him. I got how the path of the Inquisitor fit into it all, and I really liked how the game evolved to include a variety of different areas. But when things got really confusing, like that whole mess in Orlais with Empress Celene (mission: “Wicked Eyes, Wicked Hearts”), I found myself speeding through the story just to get to some simple exploring, shard collecting, returning rings to their rightful owners, and maybe doing away with a dragon or three.

Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?

So yes, the story was fine, but in the end, I just didn’t care much about it. The additional bloat of political/social bullshit didn’t help me become more engaged. I would have been perfectly content with a streamlined, 8-10 hour story consisting of just a few missions accompanied by another 10 or so hours of interesting open-world sidequests. The perfect 20 hour game. Boom.


 

And after all those words, I’m firmly in the middle with Dragon Age: Inquisition. I enjoyed it much more than Dragon Age II but not quite as much as Dragon Age: Origins. It was good game hampered by a few odd mechanics and story nonsense, and not one I’d play again anytime soon, not even for the hope of a successful romance. Those days of multiple playthroughs of large RPG are over for me…for now, anyway. I’m pleased enough with the way things went in Inquisition the first time round, and that’ll just have to do.

5 thoughts on “Dragon Age: Inquisition Revisited”

  1. Congrats on finishing Inquisition! Sorry to hear that you weren’t able to resolve the Cullen romance questline, it’s been said that it’s one of the better ones in the game. I was wondering if you’d gotten around to getting Blackwall back? If not, I’d recommend doing it if you ever come back to the game. It’s one of the more..insightful of the companion quests. You really learn a lot about him through it.

    Also, you didn’t miss much as far as talking to Solas and Vivienne. Vivienne is just a jerk who can’t help but see herself as better than everyone in the Inquisition, including the Inquisitor (and especially if your Inquisitor is non-human or a mage). She…oh she made me mad! Solas on the other hand is bound and determined to hate everything you do. He seems to know exactly what you should have done for every quest, but conveniently never speaks up when it comes time to make a decision (except for that black water well, but there’s no right answer there either).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow up with Blackwall. So you can get him to return to your party? I may have to look into that. Not really sure why, but he was my favorite person to talk to. Maybe it was because he felt honest.

      I’ve read that Vivienne is something of a pill. I find it interesting that the developers chose to include an…umm… unlikeable character. Then again, Bioware is good at giving us a characters that run the spectrum of personalities. Same goes for Solas. I was actually on his good side for the first half of the game, but he “disapproved” of the majority of my choices during the second half of the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You finished it! YAY! Congrats! 🙂 I agree with you about the A button. Such a stupid and sloppy game mechanic. I also got annoyed when I wanted to either pick something up or talk to someone and I end up jumping like a buffoon instead. That could have been implemented better.

    Oh no! You missed out on the Cullen romance? I wonder how that happened. I think you did just about everything right to lead to it, but I’m guessing you must have missed a key dialogue option to have triggered it successfully. I guess there’s always YouTube if you really want to see how the romance plays out. I still think it’s one of the best romances written in the game so far and if I had time I would replay it again.

    Ditto on replaying Inquisition. As much as I love Dragon Age and the whole series to death, it really has been impossible to make time to replay these games again. Especially when you have other games and other stuff going on in your life to really be able to devote that much time to it. Still, it’s an accomplishment to finish such a big game like this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad to finally be able to call this one done. I really did enjoy the game overall, though i do wish I had had time to play it more regularly, Ah, c’est la vie.

      At several points during the Cullen romance, I considered going to the Internet for advice on which dialogue options to choose, but I also wanted to try to play it our naturally. I do have a couple save points which I could pick up and play through just for the romance…maybe another time though. Got too much else to do/play!

      Liked by 1 person

Start a conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s