Welcome back to Playstation Base! I hope you are all feeling fine!
I played my fair share of games during 2014. Some were astronomically awesome, whilst others simply ruined my day! My Game of the Year award was awarded to FarCry 4, a graphical wonder and complete joy to play, yet many of the mainstream magazines went with Dragon Age: Inquisition. Dragon Age was always on my list of games to play for 2014, as you will all know, I am a huge RPG fan, but now, I feel that I have played enough of this Fantasy Marathon to give my very own opinion.
Set in a world where great green Rifts rule the sky, enabling floods of creatures to enter the world. Your character, (however you decide to build them) has been sent by The Maker, complete with the power to close the Rifts in order to save the world from the dark destruction it is now destined for — your typical Apocalyptic-Fantasy plotline, I guess.
The character creation process took me around 20 minutes — choosing my race, class, hair colour and how well situated my characters cheekbones are. It was fairly painless, but then I’m not one to spend an extended amount of time customizing a character I mainly see from behind anyway, but nonetheless, customisation is fairly extensive. There are the usual 3 classes of Rogue, Mage and Warrior to choose from, each with their own obvious traits and ability types and if you know me well enough, you will know already that I of course, chose Mage. There are also 4 race types; Human, Elf, Dwarf and Qu’nari, the last being a new addition. Each of the races also have race specific buffs to add further assistance, but in the end, I chose Qu’nari, which funnily enough, turned out to be the hated race of this Universe, resulting every NPC in the game to treat me with mistrust and wariness.
The game itself, I am finding fairly difficult to play. There are 4 difficulty settings ranging from Easy to Nightmare (or its equivalent title). I opted for Hard, one below the hardest setting as I wanted the game to be a challenge, but didn’t want to become frustrated and unable to play it, but rest assured, I am still struggling.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of the game, graphically, it is quite the view. The mountainous regions overshadowing the grassy fields are beautiful to say the least. The water effects are pretty realistic, glistening sunlight appropriately as it trickles down hills. The maps are huge and filled with vast amounts of explorative opportunities and you can search for loot, secrets and crafting items such as herbs and minerals, in order to create weapons, armour and potions to name a few. Barring the odd character model that looks a little lo-res (possibly because of their lack of importance within the game), it is true that the game is a graphical marvel and really sets a premise for RPG’s and what following titles of the genre may be able to bring.
Visuals aside, playing the game is also a joy. The battle mechanics are fresh to the genre, not only are you able to swing swords and cast spells in real-time, but you are also able to do it strategically. Upon pressing the touchpad, the game pauses and zooms to a bird’s eye view where you can prepare and determine how your party will attack, who it will attack and where you want your party to be positioned. This is something that the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins also practiced, however this is the first time we have seen this on console. I find it difficult to use myself, which is a shame as I am almost certain that this is the reason I am finding the game so difficult. I rarely use it to be honest, but the idea is a great one and creates an entirely different way to play the game.
We touched earlier on the size of the maps, but its content is something that will inevitably last you hours upon hours. There are lots of things to do within each area in the form of quests. Of course you will have the campaign story missions and other NPC given side quests, but there are many other ways to find things to do such as reading the notes scattered around the world, completing puzzles and other tricky anecdotes. It has been reported that the game can take over 100 hours to complete, so it’s value for money is as sure as anything.
The game kind of revolves around a town called Haven, which is The Inquisitions HQ. Here you are able to create and modify equipment, speak to your party members, which in turn can unlock more quests or give you background knowledge about them, you can also access The War Room. The War Room is a bit like the timeline for the game. It allows you to progress using Power, the ‘currency’ gained from completing quests, which allows you to complete missions within the game. Now the phrase ‘missions’ is not being used in the usual way and is actually quite strange. Missions are found on the map within the War Room, but they aren’t typically missions per say. Instead, you click a mission and assign an advisor. The advisor then floats off to the mission and completes it in an allotted amount of time. There is no control over this at all which sort of reminds me of a Free To Play game. Once the time is up, you can collect your reward and you will be able to use that particular advisor again. You are also able to assign Influence points (earned from completing quests) to unlock perks which grant you certain buffs such as being able to carry more potions, unlock specific doors or open more conversation selections during dialogue.
There are also a great deal of characters to find and recruit, each with their own qualities, classes and races. They all have their own personalities, political alignments and background stories which may shape the way you wish to play the game, especially who you might want to recruit to your party. It is possible to miss some of them, so be sure to ‘Catch ‘Em All’ so that you get that Playstation Trophy!
As usual, I have a couple of gripes with Dragon Age. The War Room is over complicated, making the game a little too non-linear. I, for example, haven’t got a clue where I’m supposed to be heading due to the lack of direction narrated by the game. It’s missions aswell seem like an after thought, as I touched upon earlier, reminds me of a Free To Play title. With RPG’s, I like to see a number of classes and unfortunately, Dragon Age follows the same 3 class model as most others. I would have like to have seen the addition of a White Mage/Priest type class, especially as I only have 8 potions to wander around with (for the whole team!), which can run out pretty quickly if you are on a quest clean up run. Traversing the map can also be a little frustrating, walking over little rocks is classed as an obstacle and means you have to walk around them instead of being able to simply step over them which really breaks up the fluidity of travel. I also find myself sliding down hills that are meant to be walked up, but you would expect a few bugs within such a hugely sized game.
I know that I always end a review on bad notes, but Dragon Age really is a great game. Nothing can beat flinging Fireballs around and Whirlwind Smashing a bunch of grunts with a giant hammer. It looks tasty and plays just as deliciously and maybe I am being a little thick when it comes to the War Room. There is a great deal to do in Dragon Age: Inquisition, enough even for me to be unsure that I will finish it, especially as Dying Light is being released at the end of the month and I have to say, despite it’s much accredited Game Of The Year awards, I still can’t take my own away from FarCry 4.
Have you guys played Dragon Age? What did you think of it? Is there too much to do in the game for you to complete? Let me know in the comments!
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