So a few days ago I finished up Dragon Age Inquisition on the PS4. I previously discussed the game when I first started playing.Now that I’ve finished up I thought I’d write up some final thoughts on the game. In my original post I guessed that there would be somewhere between 100-150 hours of gameplay. For the most part that was pretty accurate. My final total hours played was 115. That did include some time where I just had the game paused so a bit less. That is also just the total hours until I finished the main story, I’m sure that there are things that I missed.
The graphics in this game are simply gorgeous. Every environment that I played in was beautiful and well designed. Maybe some more than others, but they were all fantastic. There is an amazing amount of detail put in to everything in this game. I can’t accurately describe how much detail was put in, just that it was a lot, and whatever group of people worked on this stuff did a great job. It is hands down the most beautiful game I’ve played on the PS4 so far.
Another great thing about this game is the music in the game.Normal ambient music that is playing in the background is awesome, but what really shines are the tavern songs that you can collect. I can’t remember how many specifically there are, but they are all amazing and worth listening too. They’re so awesome that Bioware put them out for sale. You can find all the songs on youtube, and I’ll even put the video here (and hope it works for all time). Bioware has always had good music
in their games, and this is no exception. The tavern songs are performed by a professional guitar player and singer and sounds like something you’d hear at a Renaissance fair. I actually have a better appreciation for that type of music than I did prior to playing the game.
So here’s the thing. I really liked the gameplay in this game, but it is not without faults. I’ll start off with the high points and work my way down.
The good thing is that the controls in this game are very solid and not at all confusing. You move with your left stick, and you have your spells hotkeyed on the buttons. You have two sets of spells you can map and swap between the two with one of the triggers. Another trigger brings up a radial menu that you use to apply potions or issue commands. This is slightly different on the PC version, where I think it is more MMO style where you have a hotbar that has all the actions you want to use on it for each character. I have not played the PC version, but that is what I gather from watching videos. If you played Dragon Age Origins on the PC I believe the controls are very similar if not the same. I felt movement was done well, at least on controllers. I’m not sure what it’s like on the keyboard.
The first problem I had with the gameplay though is object collision. There were plenty of times that all I wanted to do was climb over a rock to get to something but you can’t do that. Most times I’d hit the side of the rock and bounce off, or more often slide off if it is something like a steep hill. There are a lot of collectible items that you have to find, but to reach them you may have to run around for a while looking for a specific path to get there.
The second problem I have is artificial barriers. This is a problem with all games though so it is not something I hold against the game. You obviously can’t have an open world design that allows you to do everything. Well, you can but sometimes it wouldn’t work. I know some games have the saying “If you see it you can get there”, but this isn’t one of those games. Every level is self contained, meaning you can’t just move from one to the other. You have to go to your map and travel to other areas, which leads to another problem I’ll discuss shortly.
The third problem I had was some of the level design. The early levels are very open and well designed. The first area that you travel to I spent at least the first 16 hours in. The problem is that later in the game the levels start to feel smaller, and a bit rushed. There isn’t as much to explore, at least that is how it felt to me. The other problem is that depending on how you play you may not even see all the areas in the game. If you’re just focusing on the story and just want to finish the game, more than likely you will miss at least the last area, if not the last two. The final mission in the campaign is able to be completed around levels 16-19 based on the games recommendation. The last explorable area in the game starts at level 16. Obviously this is not how I played the game. By the time I got to the last story mission I was level 24. That was just from doing everything in the game I could find up to that point.
The last problem I had was some of the game mechanics seemed a bit broken. Later in the game you can buy an item that allows you to respec yourself or any of your party members. If you go online you can find “optimal” builds for each class which absolutely trivialize the game. I’m guilty of this because I went out and found the “best” Knight-Enchanter (Battle Mage) spec out there, as well as specs for my tank and ranged dps. After I did that I pretty much could faceroll the content.
Well, mostly faceroll it. I still had some problems with the High Dragons but that was also a DPS/Gear issue rather than skills.
That was one of the other issues I had, finding good gear. In the end I had to get online and do research as to what the best armor/weapon schematics were and what materials were needed to craft them. That is just how I play RPG’s though. I like to have the best possible items going in to the end of the game. You can buy perfectly acceptable gear from vendors, but that might require you to farm gold if you want the best you can get.
My biggest gripe is that the DLC is XBox One/PC exclusive until May. I don’t feel that I should be forced to wait on content based on my personal choice of what system I decided to play it on. I’m still going to buy it, but I’m still mad that I have to wait because Microsoft paid Bioware money to delay the release on other systems.
So much for doing that in a particular order. I didn’t really stick to the high to low points like I said.
Approval System/Branching Decisions
I have mixed feeling on this part of the game. I do enjoy that there is a diverse range of relationships available in the game, and the characters are all amazing. There are a good amount of quests that you can only get if you have certain party members, and if you have a high enough approval rating from them to do it. Approval comes strictly from dialogue and the choices you make throughout the game.When you make key desicions it always is split pretty evenly on who approves and
who disapproves of your actions. The problem with this is that, at least for me, it limited what choices I could make. I knew from the start what character I was going to romance, and to ensure that I got that result I had to make choices I knew that person would give approval for. That being said, the next time I play I can make different decisions and get a different outcome.
The only thing that really doesn’t “work” is the actual decision process. In the end it doesn’t feel like your choices matter all that much. They do indeed affect the ending narrative of the game but I’m not sure you can actually have a party member quit. Not saying it is not possible, I just didn’t see it.
In conclusion I feel this is absolutely the best game available on the PS4. Of all the games I’ve played recently I spent the most time on this game, and it provides the most amount of replayability. Not only to play through and see all the various romances, but to make different key decisions that change the ending narrative of the game. Will I be so completionist in the future? Maybe not. I’ll probably still play through the game exploring every area for items and experience. Like I said, I enjoy being able to out level the later content. Will I look up optimal builds/gear again? Sure. That’s just how I play these types of games. The thing about this game is that I didn’t at any point feel like I had to grind levels out. It all progressed naturally. In the end it was a great game and I will certainly be replaying it in the future.