Hands and heart on with Dragon Age: Inquisition 
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Zoe Hawkins
August 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

GC DAI

Hidden away in the EA behind closed door session was Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. I managed to grab 30 precious minutes with the game and controller in my hands, and it was everything I’d hoped that it would be.

What struck me the most about the hands on time was just how expansive the world was. I was exploring what the developers described as “the smallest area” and it was enormous. Not only was it filled with side missions, exploration was also a ton of fun. I actually got a bit lost on the map, something that was completely enjoyable as I found new herbs to collect and even some weird side activities. It was fantastic to have such freedom on the map, fighting enemies, exploring every nook and cranny and not feeling like I was being guided down a hallway towards the next plot point.

Combat really is incredibly intuitive and fun. For the most part, I surprised myself and ended up using the normal action-based combat controls. However, upon finding more difficult enemies it was fun to switch into the camera, advancing the combat more tactically and slowly. You can set the actions of each character, slowly advance the action and even change your commands on the fly. It’s quite a cool system, especially if you like to take your time in combat rather than just running around slashing all the things. I felt particularly cunning organizing back stabs and magical walls of fire – it was easy to control and pretty intuitive once I understood the system.

The UI and menu system has had a serious upgrade. As you collect new armor and weapons, you can easily check it out and compare to your existing load out. For those who just like quick visuals, you can see on the bar graph how changing your equipment will affect your performance. For those who are more numbers inclined, you can also do more thorough comparisons of the equipment, checking out the exact numbers and descriptions as you go deeper through the screens.

I would love to tell you more about the story that I learned during my hands on time – the part I played was all about hunting down someone who wanted to kill me. There was some excellent dialogue with the mission giver as well as some cool interactions regarding other side missions. However, I became so caught up in exploring the environment, finding secrets and engaging in cool combat that I didn’t move too far forward in the story. I did, however, find a small rift that I managed to close after battling all the demons. It was exciting and fun – I even managed to claim some key points on the map. Exploration and side activities are excellently crafted rabbit holes you will be happy to fall down.

The game itself is absolutely gorgeous. The screenshots don’t even do it justice – every aspect of the game is well crafted from the environments to the enemies, the music and the voice acting. It was so immersive that I honestly completely forgot that someone was looking over my shoulder while I was playing – I was absorbed by the world and could easily have sat in that room playing for the rest of the day. The experience is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was in previous iterations of Dragon Age; Inquisition might just be the best RPG Bioware has created to date.

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Admiral Chief Assassin

    “Inquisition might just be the best RPG Bioware has created to date.”
    You had my curiosity, now you have my attention

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Me too – makes me sad, but I will remain firm on my no-EA games stance.

      Which assassin are you?

      • Admiral Chief Assassin

        Check profile…

        • Hammersteyn

          The Admiral Chief?

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            I’m on Pandora bitches!

          • Hammersteyn

            Oh you were framed for war. Amirite?

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            XD

          • WarframedSquirrel

            Nah, he’s playing as Zero on BL2

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            Dingding! Winnar is you!

          • ToshZA

            how apt. :P

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            Eh?

          • WarframedSquirrel

            Lol!

    • WarframedSquirrel

      Agreed.

    • WarframedSquirrel

      Oh, something I forgot to tell you. You can run your own dedicated L4D2 server through a Tool on Steam. Has a LAN and Internet option and you can choose the port and amount of players.

      Just FYI. xD

      • Admiral Chief Assassin

        I saw you playing around with that. I wanted to run one here at my office so that we can have a server to jam on!

        Did you get it running?

        • WarframedSquirrel

          Was just messing with it, need to actually give it a proper test with the UDP port forwarding in place, etc. so peeps can connect.

          Don’t think my 2mbps line can handle lots of people on it though.

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            Aye, let me know how it goes, I’ve got a 6mb fibre at office, I’m sure it can handle 8 players

          • WarframedSquirrel

            Pretty sure it can. I’ll do some testing and let you know… it’s also a freaking 4gig download.

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            Kewl

  • WarframedSquirrel

    It would seem that many people will disappear from reality for MANY hours with this, and The Witcher 3, being open, massive, world RPG’s

  • Hammersteyn

    Still buying it second hand because…
    A. Yes I’m childish.
    B. Up yours EA
    C. Destiny, so no time to play it anyways

    • ToshZA

      lol. I’m buying on Steam special because “fuck you I’m broke”.

      • Hammersteyn

        Hahaha

      • Admiral Chief Assassin

        Ditto

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Steam? Origin only I’m guessing.

        • ToshZA

          hmmmm. You are perhaps right. Origin sale then.

          • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

            Wait 18 months for Dragon Age 4 to be announced. Inquisition will be a free download then.

  • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

    Honest question, does it feel closer to Baldur’s Gate than Origins? I really didn’t enjoy Origins.

    • Devon

      I certainly hope it does…

    • Nate

      You didn’t like Origins? Blasphemy

      • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

        After having played Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale for years, Dragon Age was truly a step backward. No more dynamic weather or day night cycles, only two party members with you at a time, very dull voice acting and really repetitive (although great) music.

        • john faucher

          I think you mean 3 party members with you at a time and amazing voice acting XD. Also I like the fact that the don’t have day and night cycles. This way they can create the perfect setting they want for each zone.

          • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

            Ah yes, three active members. Still, I stand by everything else that I said. For a RPG game that is released in 2009 how can it not have dynamic environments? ;)

  • http://www.themovies.co.za Rinceable

    I am very keen for this! Man, Zoe, I think you we less enthusiastic when you met Mark last week :P

  • Lardus-Resident Perve

    On which platform was this hands-on?

    • Willem Swanepoel

      if I can throw out a guess… XBOX One ;)

      • Fred Strong

        All gameplay we’ve seen so far has been on PC with a controller.

    • Richard Flynn

      As far as i know all hands on so far have been pc with a controller.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      PC with an Xbox One controller

  • Ray Lewis

    Big Elder Scrolls fan and this game will be a great game to
    play while I wait for ES IV

    • Hircine

      Oblivion (IV) was released in 2006, though, and V was released in 2011. Do you mean the unannounced VI?

      • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

        Ha! Considering that it’s about a decade out (they need to first give up on TESO and release Fallout 4), that’s a long time to wait.

        • Hircine

          But worth the wait ;)

          • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

            I hope so. The scary thing is that it’ll be released into a world of 8k displays, VR headsets and iPhone 17s: incredible visuals, but will the depth and gameplay still be worth the development time?

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