Other than Blackwall.
With the decision to use a title as provocative as this one that calls imperfection on everyone’s favourite game, I feel that I must first try to put you on side. You see, if I’m honest I love Bioware games. They have a mastery of story like few else, with characters who are diverse and interesting, and wide-ranging lore. Where they sometimes stumble is in gameplay, but rarely is it more than a slight blemish on an otherwise remarkable game. Mass effect 1, for example, is renowned for being clunky, and many who are after gun play and action will even skip it altogether, but it was still a great game. The series itself still remains a high point of gaming, despite almost overwhelming criticism on almost polar aspects of it’s bookends. And perhaps this attitude that we’ve come to embrace regarding Bioware games is why I don’t see anyone else talking about the problem with Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Despite having all the hallmarks of an excellent Bioware game Dragon Age: Inquisition is all in all a bore to play. The game opens up with such promise, starting with some of the most in-depth and beautiful character creation I’ve seen. All the promise of a great adventure is laid before you with cut scenes that are probably a bit too long, and an intro that sort of bustles you about, but that’s ok, that’s how your character is supposed to feel. You’re lost, you’re confused, you’re in trouble, but you’re also the world’s only hope. Colourful and interesting characters are there right from the start, with no one feeling generic our out of place, and after a tutorial mission, you’re set up with an expansive and beautiful world to explore and conquer. It feels like a Bioware game, in all its glory, that is until you actually play it.
I was surprised how quickly the combat became monotonous as I held my ‘fight’ button down and waited for my various attack cooldowns to finish so I could eagerly hit them again like glorified quick time events in the hopes of a shorter battle. At this point I thought to myself ‘maybe this is ok, maybe I can play this game more diplomatically than combatently’ but no such luck, as more and bigger enemies kept coming. My spirits would be heightened by delightful nuggets of story, or the amusing conversations of my companions, but every time I had to venture back out into the wilderness to earn more points to advance the story I found myself falling asleep.
Dragon Age: Inquisition managed to pull me back quite a few times, despite my constant boredom and disappointment. I’d delight in new conversations with my companions, and little Easter eggs out in the field, but they were few and far between in a world with seemingly endless, boring, and worst of all necessary combat to partake in. It feels like half a game I love, and half a game I hate, but the latter are compulsory and the former require searching. I think the thing that bothers me the most though, is that I seem to be the only person who feels this way and Thedas is a big place to feel this alone.
This article was originally published here.