Dragon Age: Inquisition Review


Developer: Bioware

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release: November 18th

Easily the biggest RPG of 2014, Dragon Age: Inquisition looks to answer many of the criticisms aimed at Dragon Age II, which took a smaller, more focused approach than the original Dragon Age: Origins and was widely criticized for it. It mainly answers this by a matter of size. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a massive game, with just beating the main quest clocking in at 50+ hours and dozens more in additional optional content. But does it collapse under its own weight?

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As I said, Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s most prominent feature is just how massive it is. It’s not quite like Skyrim, which is one massive land mass. Instead, it’s divided into nearly a dozen explorable areas, all huge in their own right, many having enough content on their own to support a full game. Every landscape is littered with resources to find, quests to accomplish and of course things to kill. It can be a little overwhelming, but totally in a good way.

Honestly, the only problem I have with everything being so big is that it includes your home base. Skyhold is massive place and while there are fast travel options to certain areas, a key component of any Bioware game is talking to your companions repeatedly. It unlocks storyline content as well as quests and it is sometimes annoying running around trying to talk to everyone multiple times throughout the game. And that doesn’t even go into trying to go to your various shops to buy and craft things. It would’ve been nice to have a quick menu option to perform these actions rather than having to physically run around and find all your party members.

I’m honestly kind of torn on how Dragon Age: Inquisition performs graphically. On the one hand, it properly provides a sense of scope with massive areas and little if any draw distance, and no matter how much is happening on screen (and often there is a ton going on) it runs smooth. That’s very impressive. Unfortunately, all the character models look kind of rough and angular, and the landscapes lack intricate details. It’s most likely because this is a cross-gen game, still beholden to resemble its last-gen counterparts. But still, nothing I saw in my nearly 55 hours looked that impressive or had me awestruck. Hopefully, the next Dragon Age will presumably be built strictly for next-gen consoles and have some truly stunning moments.

The battle system in Dragon Age: Inquisition is something in-between Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age II. You have fast real time combat, but it’s considerably slower than it was in Dragon Age II. If you are more of a fan of pausing the action and doling out orders, there is a “tactical camera” option that you can use just for that purpose. It can be useful if you want to have all your part members focus on specific target, but I rarely felt it needed, and often the action was so chaotic I’d be lost in a sea of spell effects trying to use it. But, I should stress that I found battling incredibly fun, often to my detriment, letting battles lead me away from where my actual goal was.

One aspect of gameplay I found kind of disappointing was the “War Council”. This is how you select missions, but you can also send your three agents (Cullen, Liliana & Josephine) to do other various missions. The missions are varied and take time and you get different rewards based on who you send. But you can’t fail these. I was hoping there would be more of system where it was possible to send the wrong agent, have the mission fail and it have repercussions. This is a Bioware game after all, choices and repercussions are pretty much their stock and trade.

The bad news about the main story in Dragon Age: Inqusition is pretty dull straightforward stuff. The good news is it’s the smaller stories that really stand out in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I’d also like to talk about the “jump” button. This is the first Dragon Age game to have one, and while you think it would greatly open up areas for exploration, it more often frustratingly tricks you into trying to scale things you are unable to. Even though if you could actually climb in Dragon Age: Inquisition like a normal person, you could easily reach those spots.

There is a multi-player mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s pretty much the same as Mass Effect 3’s multi-player, just in Dragon Age Inquisition’s play-style. You fight several waves of enemies and just try and survive, unlocking new classes and abilities in the process. I only played a few sessions with Bioware testers. It’s just not as that fun as it completely lacks the more tactical aspects of the single-player. It might admittedly be more fun with a dedicated team that chooses classes that really complement each other and in-sync as a team, but it can be downright impossible without that kind of group, which makes the barrier to entry (and therefore fun) pretty damn high.

A huge element of any Bioware game is its story. Bioware are world-builders, and often craft an intriguing tale. The bad news about the main story in Dragon Age: Inqusition is pretty dull straightforward stuff. Bad guy wants to rule the world because EVIL and is using a MacGuffin to do it. That’s really it. The main story missions also seem pretty disjointed. Even the final battle is rather mundane and the ending seems more like setup for sequels (or future DLC).

The good news is it’s the smaller stories that really stand out in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The sidequests are way more interesting, fun and therefore distracting than the main game and since they make up a large majority of the content, that works in Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s favor. You can just get lost in collecting herbs, helping out your companions, hunting down Venatori, slaying dragons. Or even just exploring for landmarks and it all manages to stay pretty fun.


In essence, despite a few nagging issues, Dragon Age: Inquisition manages to be the most impressive entry in the series yet with a great battle system, and a massive and fun world to explore that could easily take over 100 hours to complete, and is easily the best console RPG this year. Pick it up and get lost in the world of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.)