It’s finally here! I purposely avoided any reviews, previews and screenshots of the game. I was very excited for it to come out and with high profile games I prefer to avoid any “contact” with it until I pop it into my console so I can experience it all at once. I don’t know why I do that, but I do.
It’s been a while since I played a Dragon Age game. In fact I didn’t play Origins until Dragon Age 2 came out. So, hearing good things, I bought Origins, Awakening and “2” all at the same time and binge gamed my way through them. It was a good time and I got fully immersed in the world. That was, however, long enough ago that I’ve forgotten most of it so Inquisition really is a new experience for me. Though, some of what they reference from the previous games seems…familiar at least.
And familiarity is a good thing, I forgot how Dragon Age felt to play and this game is exactly how I remember Origins feeling. I do realize there have been improvements but it feels like I’ve been here before. Adding in the dialogue wheel and it’s a nice mash up of the first and second games.
I have enjoyed the tweaks to the controls but have not really used the tactical system they added in. Basically it gives you a top down view where it stops time and you can order your party around and try to make tactical moves in battle. I absolutely see the usefulness and will probably have a hard time late in the game if I don’t use it, but for now I’m not bought in to it so I’m playing it like a hack and slash RPG and having great fun.
I’m only at level 7 right now and being six hours in leveling up seems to be a slow and steady process. I have done a multitude of side quests which have let me collect “Power Points” to unlock new areas and take on other side missions. However, I’m not at the recommended level yet for some of them so I keep grinding away in the first big area. And make no mistake it is a BIG area. Just the first major area, the Hinterlands, is big enough to have been the entire map for a game not even a decade ago. I haven’t ventured out further yet aside from one mission in another locale since there is still plenty to do here.
The game definitely looks the part. It’s a beautifully modeled world that has a lot of small touches everywhere you look. It’s believable in that there is enough wildlife and random camps to feel like it could be an actual place. That makes a difference in these types of games for me. The feeling of exploration is lost on me when it’s just a vast empty land.
At six hours in I would be about half way done with most games and I feel like I’m still at the beginning of this one. So far the game length does not seem artificially inflated, or that I’m being purposely held back to add more “gameplay” but given this “points” system and the time it takes to level up I bet I will feel differently as I keep playing. Hopefully I’m wrong about that.
My only real criticism at this point in the game is that it almost gives the player too much to do. It seems like everytime I pick up an item I trigger a new quest. The land is scattered with “!” marks as well which will give a new quest. I appreciate extra content and side stories as much as most people, it’s why I enjoy RPGs partly, but there is also a nice feeling of accomplishment when you clear an area. So far it seems I can’t catch up to the amount of extra content so I’m bypassing a bit of it which makes me feel like I’m also going to miss out on a nice weapon or armor piece by doing that so it’s a constant internal battle.
But if my only grip is that there is too much to do then I’m ok with that right now. I’m excited to see how I feel as the game goes on. I’m just now getting into my groove with the game and getting my character and party setup how I like. I feel like the game won’t really begin for me until after this first area and by then I should be well suited for what’s ahead.