One of the problems with creating a resolution to finish the video games I start is the inevitable confrontation with a title that just doesn’t seem very fun. A quandry develops: do I stick it out to the very end despite not liking the game? Or do I shelve it for awhile and hope absence makes the heart grow fonder?
I experienced this with Dragon Age: Inquisition. Ten hours into the adventure, I wasn’t having much fun. I thought I was to blame, at first. I never did finish Dragon Age: Origins and had completely forgotten that Dragon Age II existed until I started Inquisition. Was my unfamiliarity with the series making it so difficult to enjoy? To its credit, Inquisition does a decent job of telling its own story that doesn’t seem wholly reliant on the last two games. I tried to ignore the plot at first but that only caused discomfort with the rather dull and dreary gameplay.
Despite all of its visual majesty and artificial agency, Inquisition is boring to play. There are several mechanics and gameplay systems in play that make it feel like an MMO trapped inside the body of an offline RPG. Outside of the main questline, the game world feels hollow. The game requires you, the leader of an Inquisition to determine the source of a massive demonic incursion, with collecting Power to in order to unlock main missions and those that will support the cause. The missions themselves are fine, but everything else seems light and repetitive. Each playable zone has the exact same items to collect, be they crafting minerals, mystical shards, Inquisition camps (i.e. fast travel points), landmarks, and demon rifts. After doing this stuff for an hour, the thrill had already wore quite thin. You can only do the same thing so many times before it gets horribly monotonous. And yet, performing these activites awards the Power needed to unlock the main story quests (though, to be fair, it isn’t hard to gain needed Power amounts from the main story alone).
Power also opens timed missions that members of the War Council can be assigned to complete. Depending who performs the action, these missions can take anywhere from ten minutes to four hours (real time!) to complete. I would expect to see this sort of thing in a mobile game but not on a console release! The only thing missing is the offer to spend real money to in order to speed up these secondary objectives. Ignoring them isn’t a viable option, as they open up additional areas and unique rewards. The whole thing is a bit of a load.
And don’t even get me started on the inventory. Why does it feel so clunky and inefficient? Why couldn’t it be the same as Mass Effect 2? I dreaded having to wade through everything when it came to upgrade character inventories and gear.
I stopped playing Inquisition after reaching the halfway point of the story. Unexciting combat, bland secondary objectives, and large open areas that recalls more pleseant memories of Skyrim, the game just isn’t doing anything for me right now. Hopefully some time away will change things for the better.
From the “If You Can’t Say Something Nice” department:
- Dragon Age: Inquisition is a really pretty game. The environments are gorgeous and I love the French style of Orlais.
- The characters are fascinating. Especially Sera. She was almost enough to keep me playing the game. She’s a hilarious woman and acts in a manner so unlike the other characters. Will consider her a romance option if I play again.
- Holy crap, that’s really Freddie Prinze, Jr.?