Cassandra strongly disagrees with you

Varric strongly disagrees with you
Iron Bull strongly disagrees with you
Dorian strongly disagrees with you
Vivianne strongly disagrees with you
Blackwall strongly disagrees with you
Solas strongly disagrees with you
Sera strongly disagrees with you

And I don’t even know what I did!

Well, I do know what I did.  I put a man to death.  But not because I meant too!  It was because I accidentally selected the wrong dialogue option with my left hand, while my right was busy trying to fetch me more chips.  Perils of the ambidextrous gamer, the constant battle between being able to eat, and able to play the game.   This has been the extent of my relationship thus far with the newly released Dragon Age: Inquisition. DA:I (Dragon Age: Inquisition) makes it pretty difficult for us easily distracted gamers to eat and play at the same time.  In my professional opinion, I prefer games that I can easily navigate while snacking.  Call of Duty online games, for example, are perfect.  It’s not a good match unless me and my couch are covered in chips that didn’t quite make it to my mouth. Sometimes that 20 second respawn timer on League of Legends is all I need to finish my beer, and that sounds a whole lot better than farming minions.  But in DA:I, I can’t do that.  And that’s good!  It’s a game that requires both hands on the controller (save for a few well-placed cutscenes), due to it’s (relatively) fast-paced and action-oriented story, deeply seasoned with plot and lore.

Playing as the Herald of Andraste, you must bumble around Ferelden and Orlais trying to unite the world against an unknown force of evil.  Which all sounds a little familiar, but whatever, it is what it is.  After acquiring the “anchor,” Fartbuckets (my chosen Dwarven hero) now has the ability to quickly and efficiently dispose of demons and other devilish creatures.  And a golden halla, which apparently was important to some elven fellows who promptly became angry at me. Seems a little foolish to become angry with the guy possessing the giant glowing fist, but to each their pointy-eared own.

The game can be fast or as slow as you, the player, decide to make it.  Act 1 of the game does take quite a bit of time to trudge through, I will admit.  It was slow, and little frustrating at times.  Mostly when high-flying and high level dragons light me and my whole party on fire.  It would have been nice to have a little warning before I turned around to see Varric’s charred body lying facedown on the loot I was trying to pick up, but that’s an issue for another paragraph.  Overall, Act 1 was a chore.  There was a lot of pivotal plot and story development, but not a whole lot interaction between Fartbuckets and the overall outcome of the game.  For this section of the game, I’d recommend focussing on the main story quests, saving the multitude of side quests for later, in order to push through the wall of essential story development.  The side quests will still be there in Act 2, I promise.

As Act 1 closes, the game really opens up!  I was debating giving up on the Dragon Age world shortly before I finished the act, but I am glad that I didn’t.  The climax throws a huge wrench into the world of Dragon Age, combining elements from all previous games and lore, and exploding it all over everything.  There’s dragons, abominations, deranged soldiers, and return of an enemy long thought dead!  Shit got cray!  Literally, I couldn’t even! From this point on, I’ve had a hard time putting the controller down. Remember when I said that the Herald’s choices had no effect on the outcome?  In Act 2, that’s not true anymore.  Everything the Herald accomplishes (or doesn’t) in this point of the game helps determine the inquisitions power and influence.  Those side quests I told you not to worry about?  Do them now.  Because there’s a ton of them.  Each one helps the Inquisition gain influence over the respective zone.  And there’s a lot of them too!  I’ve spent 10+ hours pounding out the side quests since opening up Act 2, and I have yet to progress the story quests further.

And you get a horse!  Who doesn’t like horses!  Finally, DA adds a mount system into the game.  And with a world as big as this one, the mount really helps get from camp A to objective B.  Though, once mounted, all the party members vanish into blackness.  It’s a little scary at first, having my partners ripped from this world into the void, but after a while I got used to it.  And Varric never mentions it, so either it’s not so bad or it’s so horrifying that nobody wants to talk about it.  God, I hope it’s the former.  On second thought, let’s not use the mount.  It’s more fun to just run across the world anyway.  The scenery is beautiful and the depth of view is incredible.

The new search system is also pretty handy dandy.  Also unusable while mounted, which is primarily why I prefer to use my stubby little legs.  Searching the area sends out a small pulse that scans the ground for anything worth looting within view.  It’s incredibly helpful in determining what where and what can be looted.  Also for pointing out the small loot caches hidden underneath burnt corpses or rubble.  I find myself mindlessly scanning constantly while I walk around, sending out my search pulse to the annoyance of anyone watching me play.

My favourite aspect so far, though, has to be the sentencing system.  As the Inquisitor, Fartbuckets is given the authority to pass judgements on enemies of the state.  I sit on my little Dwarven chair, feet barely touching the ground, listening to my prisoners grovel and beg for forgiveness.  I’ll listen to their plea, and while debating on sentence I might reach over and try to grab a chip or two, only to realize to my horror that I’ve accidentally chosen to behead the poor guy, bringing us back to my problem at the start of the article. My other problem is my inability to gage the levels of the enemies I’m facing.  For most of the game, I manage to overpower any enemy I face.  Occasionally however, I’ll face off against an enemy WAY more powerful than I am, and it will paint the ground with my insides.  It’s an embarrassing failure, and I’m never quite sure why it happens.  One second I’m kicking some templar butt, and the next moment I’m being killed instantly by a giant who appears to be the Templar’s jacked older cousin.  “Why are you hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself!”

Run Away scene from Monty Python plays
Me and my party being like lol no let’s bounce

  Overall, I really enjoy the game so far, despite being bullied by dragons much tougher than myself.  My only regret is not having enough time to finish it yet, there’s just too many side quests, and I need more hours and play throughs to the game.  But I’m looking forward to it all.  My rating for this game (as the first game I’ve rated) is going to get a solid 8/10.  It’ll be the standard of all games to come.   DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION 8/10   “Your dwarf looks a little paunchy.” – my girlfriend


One thought on “Cassandra strongly disagrees with you

  1. Stefanie June 20, 2015 / 2:52 pm

    I liked your review of this game and I definitely agree with the things you say, especially about not being able to gage the strength of the enemies. I’ve had that happen too often for that to be totally accidental.
    The fact that your decisions matter makes the whole game that much more interesting because you can get everyone to hate you (by, accidental or not, choosing to decapitate some dude) or love you or whatever.
    The one thing that I also found slightly confusing was that I didn’t know what the level cap was. Or just like what the general end-level would be. So I just never knew if I was getting close to the ending or not and suddenly it was there (granted the story did kind of implicate it, but hey, a lot could have still happened after also). (The previous game I was into was Guild wars 2 where the level cap is way, waaaaaaaaaaay higher, so this threw me during dragon age).


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