Guest Column: The Redemption of the Inquisition

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ShadowSwordmaster

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Great work, Austin. I always wanted to give this game another try.

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Onemanarmyy

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#53 Onemanarmyy  Online

I watched my sister play Inquisition and fell asleep.

I recommended the game to her because i know she loves those type of open world RPG's, but i already knew it was not going to be for me.

And it turned out that she couldn't finish the game neither. The narrative and characters just couldn't pull her in.

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plan6

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@tennmuerti said:

@olivaw said:
@austin_walker said:

@humanity: God I was... so bummed by fact that those shards didn't ever add up to anything really massive, narratively speaking. What a missed opportunity.

Also, I think if you plop it onto casual you'll have no problem with Trespasser--and it's definitely worth doing it if (like me) you were desperate for a little narrative resolution.

Those fucking shards. I would have been satisfied if I'd even gotten a cool, unique flaming sword at the end of it! Just anything at the end that justified that place's existence would have been fine.

But there was just nothing. That's sort of how I felt about Inquisition at the time. A whole lot of build up to a whole lot of nothing.

From a munchkin perspective those buffs you got were way better and more OP then any old ass potential flaming sword.

But they didn't make me look cooler. I don't need bigger numbers. I NEEEEEEED to look cooler. Its literally why I come to these games.

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jeanluc

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Inquisition’s biggest tragedy occurs before the game even starts, and kills characters we never knew nor cared about. But the strangest thing about it was that it had a huge, traumatic, tragic choice—but only for a rare combination of specific decisions imported from previous games. Most players would cheerfully move along, unaware of the screams of a hapless minority of players.

I was actually one of the rare players that did get these choice. God that was brutal to deal with.

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noblenerf

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I despised Dragon Age: Inquisition and haven't played the DLCs or anything, but the point about the super-specific tragic choice kinda makes me want to play through it again, in those circumstances, just to see how that goes for me. I think I will one day.

And now I must say you've done the impossible, Rowan Kaiser. You got me to give DAI (and inadvertently DA2) a second chance. I dunno whether to hate or love you right now...

Also, good article. I think it nails what Inquisition did wrong while still recognising its successes. And it's a good overview of the DLC, which I haven't heard a single thing about. So, nice work!

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NeoZeon

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Great article Rowan, nice to read your take on DA:I and it's world!

For me though, well, since I never even finished the main game, I was just upset you couldn't romance that Dwarf Scout who did all the reconnaissance for the Inquisition. Loved that character. Rumor has it you can talk her into an "official" romance in the expansion but I an't see myself finishing that game as it is.

Mostly for the reasons mentioned in the article though: For all the stuff it had to do within the world, DA:I just felt a bit lifeless to me. Unless the GOTY edition gets a major price reduction, I doubt I'll be able to see how it resolves.

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LawGamer

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I think part of the problem as I look back at BioWare's DA2 --> ME3 --> DA:I sequence is that all of those games failed to allow/force you to really own your choices and so as a result you never really felt responsible for them.

For example, one of the things I enjoyed most about the Witcher 3 was that it had a way of forcing you to own whatever decisions you made, even if you made them some time ago. Saving those kids from the witches sounds great until you realize that (a) the thing you released might actually be worse and (b) it will result in the Baron's wife dying painfully and the Baron hanging himself (and the reverse is also true - kill the tree spirit and live with the knowledge the kids probably got eaten alive).

I feel like BioWare games used to do this. When I played DA:O I felt like my decisions had weight and effect. It might seem natural to oppose Bhelen in DA:O because you know he's a conniving little shit, but then you later find out that he's actually trying to get into power so he can remedy a lot of systemic problems in dwarven society. Oops.

In Dragon Age 2 by comparison, almost all of your decisions had little to no effect. The writers were so determined to make everything so morose it was comical. If the worst possible thing is going to happen, no matter what choice I make, why should I care which option I pick?

DA:I suffered from a different but related problem. A lot of the scenes were only possible if you really went out of your way to be an asshole. And not in a "I'm making hard choices some people naturally won't like" way but more in a "I'm just an asshole to be an asshole" kind of way. If you didn't do that, 99% of the conversation choices ended up in the same spot, which isn't very interesting. Combine that with party members who are all way to amenable to your choices and it just never moves the needle emotionally.

I dunno, I'm rambling. I should probably write a blog post on the whole thing but I never have time to do them properly.

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superfriend

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I really don't like how opinions are presented as facts here. Not everybody felt that way about the big environments in the game, you know?

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INCSlayer

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@austin_walker: you know when you said you where gonna start getting guest columns i was figuring at like maybe 2 a month or something not several of them a week. Keep up the good work :D

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WrathOfGod

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Bookmarked to read after I finish the game. Thanks, Rowan!

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Jonny_Anonymous

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@hassun: dude syfy is good now. The Exspance and The Magicians are fantastic.

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deactivated-587b6acd5d124

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Even though Inquisition is still a bland MMO style of generic fantsy, I enjoyed the article. Not even the wonders of Freddie Prince JR were enough to keep me invested.

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HarrySound

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I'm 120 hours in to Dragon Age Inquisition.

I fully intend to wipe the plate clean with it. The problem is the story and dialogue is for the most part trash so the enjoyment for me comes at marvelling how huge the world is and how many hours i can kill stuff for. I'm playing on the harder difficulty to make feel slightly more tactical. I wish they would bring back detailed AI programming like in the first game and do something about the appalling inventory management I seem to spend too much time with.

I even bought one of the DLC's but I think i'll leave it at one because my god, value for money right here already.

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StingLikeALemon

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Wow I didn't even realise the adamant fortress choice could be so hard, made some changes on the keep in my second playthrough though, so might be a bit more interesting hopefully.

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hassun

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#66  Edited By hassun
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Jonny_Anonymous

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@hassun: Yeah SyFy stepped there game up when a new guy got put in charge. As for Asylum I'm sure it's still a hive of scum and terribleness, not sure how it still exists.

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Humanity

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@plan6 said:

@tennmuerti said:

@olivaw said:
@austin_walker said:

@humanity: God I was... so bummed by fact that those shards didn't ever add up to anything really massive, narratively speaking. What a missed opportunity.

Also, I think if you plop it onto casual you'll have no problem with Trespasser--and it's definitely worth doing it if (like me) you were desperate for a little narrative resolution.

Those fucking shards. I would have been satisfied if I'd even gotten a cool, unique flaming sword at the end of it! Just anything at the end that justified that place's existence would have been fine.

But there was just nothing. That's sort of how I felt about Inquisition at the time. A whole lot of build up to a whole lot of nothing.

From a munchkin perspective those buffs you got were way better and more OP then any old ass potential flaming sword.

But they didn't make me look cooler. I don't need bigger numbers. I NEEEEEEED to look cooler. Its literally why I come to these games.

I actually discovered that entire area basically after I've beaten the game so they were kind of superfluous at that point - which makes my obsession with getting them all even weirder at that point.

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nickhead

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I loved and hated this game.

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SKUupin

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#70  Edited By SKUupin

The Citadel DLC for ME3 was nothing but fan service. It held no secrets about their universe, it didn't wrap the story up, it didn't set up anything for future games. It was fan service, with an evil clone and secret spy, and Wrex is there, and Jack has a pet varren now and that's cool. It was the only DLC I played for that game, and it was the only part of ME3 I liked.

I felt better about DA:I that I did ME3, even if there are glaring problems with it, but Trespasser wasn't as good as The Citadel. It tried to do more and to do it properly, but was bogged down by sticking too close to the game proper.

I also found all of the shards. There was a chest or something? Minor buffs and a little gold, that's all. (I liked the area it was in, though).

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Anonymous_Jesse

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Bioware from Kotor to Mass Effect 2 may be my personal list of greatest games. I even loved Jade Empire and I played the first Mass effect 7 times to get the stupid achievements.

Inquisition broke me. At the end I hated my time with it. The open world and combat is toxic. Story is kinda meh and doesn't capitalize on the brilliant start.

I played the first DLC when it came out and it was pretty bad. Just reminded me why I hated inquisition with a zone that was complex just to add time to it that had little story to it besides lore dump.

Though with the buzz around the new DLC I decided to check back in and re-installed Inquisition but my 140 hour save file is unable to be gotten from the cloud.

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Ray_Marden

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#72  Edited By Ray_Marden

I loved Dragon Age - it started a new world with a wide range of possibilities. DA2 then completely set the original game aside and went off on some repetitive combat tangent with new characters.

DA:I was a good corrective measure, but the game is so empty of life, mystery, or fun. For reference, my wife and I both play games; I usually play on the PC and she usually plays on one of the consoles. She bought DA:I day one, but I waited a bit because I was playing other games. However, watching her play DA:I completely killed any interest I had in playing the game - beautiful world with no depth, repetitive combat, wonky ability mechanics, a silly story, rigid characters, a static world, pulsing all over the map to find another pointless collectible, poor pacing of story and experience gain, an opening area that you should leave immediately, constantly loading new zones, poor identification of paths, mindless combat, a weak ending, etc.

Yet, I agree that DA:I was a GotY contender. I just had zero interest in playing it myself and I think it wasted the time of those that did play it. After having played through the core game, my wife was tired of the game's issues and refused to play any of the DLC. But we all tolerated it - it was better than DA2 and there wasn't much else to compare it against at the time.

Then I played The Witcher 3. A game full of life, story, depth, challenging combat, tough decisions that matter, characters that remember your actions, that rewarded you for exploring every inch of the world, etc.

I now look at DA:I and think of it as a shell of a game. They created a pretty world, tossed in a few dragons, and then slapped together everything else. After playing Dragon Age, having great hopes for the future games, I never imagined that this is what I would end up with.

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Atwa

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Dragon Age Origins was dark, medieval fantasy.

Inquisition felt like happy happy fun fairy tail land, which really turned me away from it.

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Xeirus

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Origins was the only good DA. I have no idea why they turned away from what worked so well int he first one. It was sooo good.

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Marokai

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@atwa said:

Dragon Age Origins was dark, medieval fantasy.

Inquisition felt like happy happy fun fairy tail land, which really turned me away from it.

I really strongly agree with this, having just finished Inquisition recently myself. As the series has progressed a lot of the tone and style the series once had has kind of been drained of it, and much of the edges have been rounded out. Though, that was the least of Inquisition's problems.

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ottoman673

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I like this column better when it's freelancers with opinions and musings on random things like this.

More unheard of freelancers, please! This was really well written.

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thelastgunslinger

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Woah, I had no idea that could happen with Iron Bull in Trespasser. IB and my Inquisitor were like Shepard and Garrus in Mass Effect, best friends to the end, so I never even came close to that situation.

Regarding the issue with Trespasser almost being an ad for the next Dragon Age game, I think it helped knowing going in that it set up DA:I 2, or DA4, or whatever it's going to be called. I really loved the lore building it did on top of the character moments and that final confrontation setting up a sequel was so good. Trying balance my Inquisitor's friendship with the antagonist with the slow realization that I'm going to have to essentially stop a god hit well for me.

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Dussck

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#78  Edited By Dussck

@nickhead said:

I loved and hated this game.

I just hated it. :(

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Humanity

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@dussck said:
@nickhead said:

I loved and hated this game.

I just hated it. :(

I just loved it. But through many threads where people seem to aggressively dislike it and feel the need to take a huge shit on it at every turn I've realized that I'm in a very small minority here.

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GundamGuru

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@neozeon said:

For me though, well, since I never even finished the main game, I was just upset you couldn't romance that Dwarf Scout who did all the reconnaissance for the Inquisition. Loved that character. Rumor has it you can talk her into an "official" romance in the expansion but I can't see myself finishing that game as it is.

I think she's the first dwarf lass in video games where the writers let her girlish charms take precedence over stereotypical dwarfishness. At least that I can remember. I think that's why she stuck with me as instantly likeable.

@lawgamer said:

I think part of the problem as I look back at BioWare's DA2 --> ME3 --> DA:I sequence is that all of those games failed to allow/force you to really own your choices and so as a result you never really felt responsible for them.

...

In Dragon Age 2 by comparison, almost all of your decisions had little to no effect. The writers were so determined to make everything so morose it was comical. If the worst possible thing is going to happen, no matter what choice I make, why should I care which option I pick?

Yeah, one of the things I really hated about ME2 was that they forced the willing collaboration with Cerberus (a known terrorist group) upon all Shepards, without regard to what the player had to say in the matter. All the fallout from that and decisions made afterward kinda hacked me off, because I found myself saying, "I'd never have gotten Shepard in this situation in the first place!"

About DA2, though, I think that's why so many people loved the sarcastic Hawke in that game. He's just as ironically fed up with how absolutely everything goes to complete shit every single time as the player is. I always wondered how they were able to write the dialogue for that. It's like, did they know?

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Lazyaza

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I thought the dlc was freaking awesome, a much nicer end to the main games story than the existing ending. And I enjoyed Inquisition a lot, was a vast vast improvement over DA2 and I certainly liked it far more than ME3.

Dunno why people shit on the game so much, best rpg I've played in a very long time.

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IAmTal

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The most interesting aspect of Trespasser which I wish it got into more was that the religious overtones of the Inquisition had largely disappeared. I really liked the way the base game engaged with religion, and I thought Trespasser was going to get into issues of fading belief, but it pretty much treated the Inquisition as if it had always been a secular organization.

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Egge

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#83  Edited By Egge

I'm a huge fan of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 but the awfully clunky gamepad-centric controls in Inquisition sucked all the enjoyment out of the experience for me and I still have barely finished a third of it. And this is coming from someone who - at least in theory - had no real issues with the DA2 simplifications to the original DA:O formula. DA:I just went so much further in the wrong direction from a design perspective that even DA2's infamous budget and production-related failings were dwarfed in comparison.

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Kenori

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@austin_walker: Fantastic! This is exactly what I need, thank you sir.

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greatscottmarty

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Slique

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#87  Edited By Slique

Oh man, I'm so glad someone else brought up the Iron Bull twist because it still drives me crazy even now. I honestly can't wrap my head around the notion of it. It's bizarre and completely out of left field, and just handled so poorly. Which is especially glaring considering how the whole Tresspasser DLC is specifically there to deal with a party member's betrayal.

The Solas twist was well-designed. It was cleverly foreshadowed and clearly seeded throughout the entire plot, and it changed the way you viewed the story on reflection. The Bull one is just... cheap, and lazy, and feels like an after thought for nothing but shock value.

I mean, the scene just happens. One minute you're fighting alongside him (if you brought him with you at least, he'll just show up if not) and the next he betrays you and you fight and then... that's it. There's no dialogue, no fallout, barely even a discussion. He dies and you move on. Bull was my Inquisitor's rock the entire game. He and Cass never left my party, and he was even in a serious, awesome relationship with Dorian that had naturally grown over the course of the story. And the game just completely ignores it. Where's the drama? The conflict?

I get it. Game development is hard, and there's budget and time constraints in place about what you can and can't do, but to just sweep vital context aside is a massive disservice to the rest of the game. Why can't I question Bull afterwards as he's dying? Why can't he tell me that he's secretly hated me all along, and that it was all a lie, or hear from the Vidasala that Bull was brainwashed and purged of his ties to us after he was reintroduced to the Qun (which is the current running theory online)? Why can't I try and talk him out of fighting us, or have him tell the Vidasala to piss off if my approval with him is high enough? The amount of nothing it actually amounts to is baffling. It's like the narrative equivalent of a kid shrugging his shoulders at the end of a bad anecdote.

(That's not to say cheap twists can't work at all though. Because they can. But they have to be properly paid off in the story. They need to have real narrative consequence and weight, and some kind of drive behind them to justify it, even if you introduce it after the fact. If you don't, it just feels like you're deciding you're smarter than your audience. And that's the worst thing any writer can do.)

Maybe the worst part of it all though is that fact that the whole thing just feels like the game's arbitarily punishing you for a decision you made long, LONG after the fact. I had my reasons for sacrificing the Charges (I actually put the controller down, walked away from the game, and agonised over it for two days before decising), and Bull and I even discussed them afterwards. I apologised to him, he said he understood, and we voewed to avenge them together so they're deaths would count for something. My reasoning? We're at war with a god... or at least an insane monster with the power of one. We're quite literally fighting for the fate of the entire world, and as much as I loved the Chargers--and I really did--a full Qunari army is just too valuable an ally to let slip by. (And let's be real here: if the Charges couldn't withstand a few measly Red Templars on a beach, what use would they have been in the final battle?) In the words of Spock: the needs of the many, and all that. (For the record, I also would have loved for this choice to actually factor into the original end game itself, where maybe the fight against Corypheus could've harder or easier depending on your actions. But hey, maybe one day.)

But by having Bull suddenly turn on you without explination a result of that choice, it's like the developers are giving you the middle finger and essentially telling you that, no, you fucked up, you made the wrong call. And then punishing you for it 60 hours later, even after you save the world together.

What was once a personal, often unspoken relationship between us, the players, and the Iron Bull suddenly gets ripped away and transformed. It becomes the creators telling us that despite everything we've done, and in many ways because of WHAT we've done, this is who Bull really is. Which is just insane to me. And it completely flies in the face of the whole role playing nature of the game, and undercuts the very notion presented throughout that there are no good and bad choices to be made; just choices.

Again, I realise game development is hard, and that maybe they even wanted to address these things but couldn't. But that's the point. If you can't do something the way it needs to be done, you shouldn't do it at all. The worst thing you can do is muddy a great character with laziness right at the end of your story, and violate your player's agency over the world in the process.

Ironically, that's the real trespass in the Trespasser.

(PS. I wrote way more than I intended and I am so, so sorry to any one who reads this.)

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ikomrad

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Since I haven't played Witcher 3 and do not plan to, the basis of this article is a bit lost on me. what I can say about Dragon Age Inquisition base game is that it did a lot of things right. it feels like a transitional game where the developers threw in all of their ideas to see which one worked, and then use that feedback for the next game.

fortunately , the side quests are completely optional, you can buy or find items if you want to skip the crafting system, which lets you zip through the story.

If you want to be a competionist, you can spend hours exploring every crevice of the world.

If you enjoy crafting , there AE a plethora and materials and item blueprints to choose from

If you like run and gun, you can skip tactical view. if you are a Napoleonic strategist, you can do that too.

I liked the story and amount of side questing. I loved the dragons until I became too powerful and killing them was a joke.

I did not like the travel system. Horses should move a lot faster and being able to use them as a weapon would have been even cooler.

Astarium puzzles can be left out next time :)

I played Dragon Age Inquisition before Dragon Age:Origins , and I find myself playing all of the dao dlc while I have not touched the dai dlc, which gives you an idea which game I find more interesting.

Finally, it sounds like Tresspasser make the players buy dlc to get closure, which is a bad a practice as the pre-order system. Games should be compete at release and if a developer needs pre-order sales, that tells me that they are afraid their game will not be well-received so they need to be paid before people get to try it.

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ikomrad

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Since I haven't played Witcher 3 and do not plan to, the basis of this article is a bit lost on me. what I can say about Dragon Age Inquisition base game is that it did a lot of things right. it feels like a transitional game where the developers threw in all of their ideas to see which one worked, and then use that feedback for the next game.

fortunately , the side quests are completely optional, you can buy or find items if you want to skip the crafting system, which lets you zip through the story.

If you want to be a competionist, you can spend hours exploring every crevice of the world.

If you enjoy crafting , there AE a plethora and materials and item blueprints to choose from

If you like run and gun, you can skip tactical view. if you are a Napoleonic strategist, you can do that too.

I liked the story and amount of side questing. I loved the dragons until I became too powerful and killing them was a joke.

I did not like the travel system. Horses should move a lot faster and being able to use them as a weapon would have been even cooler.

Astarium puzzles can be left out next time :)

I played Dragon Age Inquisition before Dragon Age:Origins , and I find myself playing all of the dao dlc while I have not touched the dai dlc, which gives you an idea which game I find more interesting.

Finally, it sounds like Tresspasser make the players buy dlc to get closure, which is a bad a practice as the pre-order system. Games should be compete at release and if a developer needs pre-order sales, that tells me that they are afraid their game will not be well-received so they need to be paid before people get to try it.

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benjo_t

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#90  Edited By benjo_t

I found this game a total chore. I don't think it helped that I really couldn't get into most of the characters, and the one companion I did like ended up being part of a story arc that really changes your perspective on them for the worse. On top of that, I thought the combat was poorly executed, stuck somewhere between wanting to be a turn-based RPG of old and feeling obligated to also be this awesome real time system.

It took me months to put even 50 or so hours into it. Then, the Witcher 3 came out. I felt so strongly that it had achieved similar game design goals in such an overwhelmingly superior way that I haven't yet returned to DAI, and doubt I ever will.

Meanwhile, I just finished visiting every one of the hundreds of "points of interest" in the Witcher 3. Most of these amount to the same kind of content you can find in DAI (a letter which begins a small bit of adventure, usually concluded within minutes), except TW3 offered these on top of its hugely responsive RPG story and mechanics. They are optional fare in TW3, but are so intelligently designed and produced that they occasionally best what DAI offers as its main course.

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Enigma777

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I literally just finished all the DLC last night and this is pretty spot-on. It's still a shame DAI isn't the game I wanted it to be (at least W3 nailed it) but it was still a pretty solid ending that answers a lot of questions I didn't even know I had.

I'm excited to take Tevinter by storm in the next one!

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NTM

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#92  Edited By NTM

I loved Inquisition. I got Origins around release on PC, but didn't really even start to play it until a few months prior to two's release. I loved it. Two came out, and I played the demo's; I had no real issue with them, but a lot of negative talk about it, and the fact that I heard you don't go to many places in the game, kind of turned me off, so again, it wasn't until a few months prior to Inquisition that I finally played it. I didn't love it like the first, but I still really liked it a lot, as I felt the story and characters were strong, and the lack of many places to go didn't really bother me that much. The combat was decent fun too. I got Inquisition day one, and spent hours playing it. I didn't think it would be better than Origins, because Origins was superb, but it surpassed it to me overall. I played Jaws of Hakkon as I was just getting done with the story of The Witcher 3. To me, The Witcher 3 is just as good honestly, though aspects differ in how great it is, though all similar.

I love playing both of them around the same time. Anyways, Jaws of Hakkon wasn't great in my opinion, but it wasn't bad either. Then, it was just two or three months ago I believe that I finally went all in on all Dragon Age Inquisition DLC. The Descent was okay; slightly better than Hakkon to me, while Trespasser was fun as well, but not mind blowing. It wasn't quite like another of Bioware's DLC's that I just played recently, which is Mass Effect 3's Citadel. You don't really get quite the closure for beloved characters, but you do get some semblance of it. Yeah, Inquisition is a fantastic game to me. Unfortunately, I don't have much reason to go back since I've done everything in it. Getting through Inquisition, I thought 'wow, that's a lot of hours for a game', then I play The Witcher 3, and the hours played there topple even Inquisition. I love those games' soundtracks. Aw, I'm going to listen to them now.

While I don't think this'll happen, for a third Dragon Age, or fourth I suppose, it would be cool, and I think it'd make sense to have all three of your prior characters come together (The Hero of Ferelden; The Champion of Kirkwall, and The Inquisitor). Trespasser sets what's to come for the future of Dragon Age nicely. Oh, and as for the ending of the main game, and not Trespasser, I was only disappointed by a choice I made, and not by how the game was presented.

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OurSin_360

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#93  Edited By OurSin_360

@hassun: Origins was a great game, the rest not so much.

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blacklab

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kazen

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After reading this initially about a week ago, I finally downloaded the Trespassers DLC, its a cool piece of the game but ultimately concluded with the same stuff from what I remembered on the original game. The only thing thats actually different is the Inquisitor knows who the actual baddie. It moved the plot very little. Never the less this is still a cool story specially for a lore nut like me. Now all i can think about is DA4 set in the north!

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vonsoot

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Liked DAI better than Witcher 3 personally

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tarynboydNRx

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I really like this version better then PS4 version

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