If you read my previous post, now you know about my nerdly origins—as well as what these games came to mean to me, especially Dragon Age: Inquisition.
|DAI offers stunning landscapes but it's the story|
that will stay with you in the end.
|In Thedas, as in Los Angeles, you're nobody |
unless you have a really big door.
It's All About the Experience
Ultimately, DAI simply isn't built for the usual streamlined, linear "run to the final boss battle" approach, as something you can check off your to-do list. Instead, it's all about the experience. You can lose yourself for dozens of hours in each of the game's 10-12 regions alone, just wandering, doing minor quests, looting ore and materials, gawking at (or battling) dragons, and more.
|It's always a relief when playing Dragon Age to meet|
an actual dragon. Suddenly, the stakes just got higher.
And this most of all is the secret of the game's addictive qualities (and to those of the entire series), that realization that each and every playthrough can vary in a hundred different little ways that are built upon a vast, intelligent and often poetic foundation of lore.
Gameplay Nuts and Bolts
Combat in Dragon Age: Inquisition is fun, slightly simplified from DA2, and challenging in part for its limitations: You can only use eight skills from your skill tree in playing your character and companions. Another challenge to DAI combat that's new? Healing powers are kaput. This means, for mages, no more fast, easy healing abilities. Boom.
The lack of healing powers was a learning curve at first, but it was a strategic developer choice I actually really enjoyed once I got into the game—it made me rethink my mage, and caused me to revise the way I played her abilities. Suddenly, I was no longer just a magical Duracell constantly filling up health and mana in my companions, but was instead focusing on kicking ass and causing damage, striking terror in the digital hearts of my enemies. Without healing powers, and with only eight health potions available among myself and my three companions, combat strategy played a huge part in how we got through battles and survived them. Best of all, suddenly I was playing my mage as the battlemage she'd always secretly longed to be.
DAI combat is ultimately cleanly presented, logical and easy to master (and as always with Bioware, you can tailor gameplay from "Casual" to more hardcore combat settings like "Insanity" to win specific in-game achievements).
Making Choices and Charting Your Hero
Meanwhile, the quests and storylines of DAI are terrific, and several times, and, as with DAO and DA2, you'll be faced with complex and incredibly difficult choices that will have big in-game repercussions and that will permanently change your own story's progression and outcome.
|Building your hero involves a variety of tough choices. |
After this scene, should you put on sunglasses and
walk away in slow-mo? (Yes. Yes, you should.)
There are also several worthwhile loyalty missions and secondary quests for companions throughout DAI that offer similarly moving or emotional moments, and all of those moments underscore the fact that, when it comes to the world of Dragon Age, while the gameplay is important, it's the story and its characters that always reign supreme.
Check out my next post (number three of three) for the final section of my initial big-picture overview of Dragon Age: Inquisition.