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I Finished Dragon Age: Inquisition…

…and don’t know what to make of it. The ending is not the mess that was Mass Effect 3 but that’s a pretty low bar to jump. The best I can say is that after 70+ hours of playing is “meh”. There were only two times were I felt “whoa” and one of those times I can’t even remember. The one I can recall happened pretty early in the game and was never matched or surpassed.

Early awesome moment.

 

Most of those hours of playing were really more like games of fetch on repeat. The item sometimes changed, but I was basically running around finding elfroot and dog meat. Heck, I didn’t even complete all the side quests and rift closings because I just wanted it to be done with. I don’t even really mind fetch quests, but after awhile they all started to blend in together and it really is just way too many of them. There needs to be something besides errands for the Inquisitor to do.

Of course first I had to actually get the game running. The first twenty hours were filled with crashes, and only my desire to get my money’s worth made me keep reloading. It crashes when you go to the War Room, it crashes during cutscenes, and sometimes it just decides it doesn’t like you. During the latter part of my playing the crashes became few and far between, but upon a new, second, play through they came back in force. Clearly there is something wrong here in the code itself and it’s annoying as all get out. I have a decent card, and in fact there are those with cards a generation older than mine having no problems. Those with higher end cards cannot say the same. This is the first game I can remember that those with higher spec’d rigs have more issues than those without.

Also, the game is quiet. Too quiet. Music is supposed to be playing, apparently, but I hear nothing more often than not. The party banter is minimal, so for the most part you don’t even realize you have anyone traveling with you.

The party members are also borderline stupid and useless, given there is no true tactics in the game. I cannot tell Cassandra to go for an enemy who is down to 40% health, defend so-and-so if they are down to 50% health, etc. There is no finesse, and although I didn’t make heavy use of the tactics in previous games (I tended to set them and forget them) I still mourn the loss of them. I will not even bother touching on the poor tactics camera.

The games UI is finicky and ill thought out, especially for PC. In the journal/quest menu, what should take two clicks takes a minimum of four. Why? Because for whatever reason, it always clicks on the wrong heading, and then in an attempt to get to the right one, the wrong quest under the wrong heading gets selected. Later in the game as more and more areas are opened up, the game got more and more determined to open the wrong thing. The whole thing looks like it was designed for a controller, but I have heard using a controller doesn’t really make it that much better. And yet the journal is still 349058934x better than the one in ME3.

<3

In terms of content, well. I don’t know. I like the companions, and the environments, and the story is just sort of there. I felt more engaged in the previous games, and didn’t really “bond” for lack of a better term, with the Inquisitor. My second attempt at the game, where I am making an effort to roleplay, seems to be going better in that regard. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2, but the reused assets make it hard for me to justify replaying, so in that sense DA:I has a leg up. But I liked Hawke a lot and her romance with Isabela, and would rate that relationship higher than Inq/Josie. Even though Josie is cute.

I feel like I’m rambling, but basically I don’t hate the game, but I wish I hadn’t bought it so soon: it is far too rough around the edges and feels like it is missing content and things for you to do. Besides collecting roots and shards.

Overall I would not recommend this game for the PC player, at least not yet. It needs more patches, and hopefully either BioWare or players will fix some of the UI issues. The keyboard controls leave much to be desired (why can’t I bind something to top row numerals and numpad?) and the crashes will drove you bonkers.

P.S. The mounts suck, don’t bother using.

Gaming Backlog: Dragon Age 2

My feelings towards Dragon Age 2 could best be described as highly ambivalent. After finishing Dragon Age: Origins I decided to hold off on buying the second installment mostly out of budgeting then anything else. However in the interim complaints and grumbles began to emerge that further caused a delay in purchasing. Once it was below $8 I could see no harm in giving the game a chance.

For the first few hours I was in love. Jacqueline Hawk was adorable and a smart ass, sometimes she combined the two, and I found myself far more attached to her than my mute, philandering, elf mage. Not to say the latter wasn’t adorable in her own way, but a voice really does make a difference.

Dragon age
Hawke and her lady love

The combat felt snappier, although I can’t make a direct comparison since I went with the rogue class this time around. Not to say combat is perfect with teammates doing god knows what half the time and the camera getting in the way the rest of it. Further along in the game I found the stats progression to be a touch too restrictive and not in a logical sense; a mage who can’t wield a two ton ax, ok, a rogue who can’t use a bow and arrow? Eh, strange. But in the beginning I was still in awe of a hero who speaks, could kick ass, and woo the sexy pirate.

Getting Isabela to fall in love was easy, getting her to admit it and fully commit was a mini game into itself. But it was fun! And unlike Origins I had no temptation to have my hero fool around with everyone (thanks PC mods!). Now, is this because Isabela is just that well written or because everyone else is lacking? I’d probably have to do another play through to see which side I’d fall on, but I think it has more to do with Isabelle striking all the right cords for me, which admittitly Bioware male love interests seem to rarely do with me. But I digress.

Around a quarter of the way into the game the shine had worn off. I had now entered the same dungeon five or more times, and was starting to see the same “grand hall” and dilapidated mansion environments being abused. This is a decently sized game in terms of length, but when you can count on one hand the amount of unique environments you encounter it gets very annoying very fast.

The ending had a mild “wtf” moment for me but not even remotely close to the mess that was Mass Effect. It had more to do with a character going all militant crazy than anything to do with the plot. I was left with a feeling of wanting to know what happened next.
But those environments…! It was repeative enough to negate a lot of the goodwill the characters/story had managed to create.

I refuse to get excited about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy it. I’m just hoping it’ll be worth more than $8, but we’ll see.

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut Did Its Job

There be spoilers ahead. (Payal go ahead and play these games. Just stop reading and play.)

After nerd raging over the ending of Mass Effect 3, I feel it’s only fair to give props where it’s due. That is not to say the expanded endings are awe inspiring or ground breaking, but compared to what preceded them they are quite satisfying. Now, I do feel these endings should have been part of the “original cut” but you can’t change the past.

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