Let me tell you what’s mystifying about Dragon Age: Inquisition—it’s not a fun game. It’s not an interesting game, not an entertaining game, not an evocative or moving game. It’s a boring game. But it SHOULDN’T be.
It has all the hallmarks of a real computer RPG. There’s companion NPC’s holding conversations and arguments while I march across the map, there’s quests to complete, monsters to kill, treasures to find, Big Bads to stop. Everything that should be in a game is here. So why is it so crappy?
“It’s a joke. You know, like the funny kind. Only different.”
THAT is Dragon Age. It’s a game. You know, like the fun kind. Only different.
First there are the obvious flaws, flaws which ruin quite a lot of the game. All of the NPC’s are obnoxious, pushy, or boring. None of them—not one—are entertaining (like Urdnot Wrex), or charming (like Tali’Zorah or Liara T’Soni), or the proverbial “guy you’d just like to have a beer with” (like Garrus). They’re all weird, obnoxious, or obnoxiously touchy and bitchy and I’m only sad I didn’t kick that chick out of my Inquisition sooner.
Then there was the stupid decisions, like Red Lyrium. Lyrium is a magical blue rock that mages freebase to be able to cast spells. Red Lyrium is a Lovecraftian version of this that causes mass insanity and other plot-convenient events. The substance is a mystery in Dragon Age II, but Inquisition reveals the truth: it’s blue lyrium INFESTED WITH THE ZOMBIE BLIGHT PLAGUE.
A magical rock. Infested with a zombie plague. THE STUPID SHE IS BURNING MY SKIN OFF MY FACE!
The main quests are repetitive (we’re talking greater than MMO levels of grind here), the main quests are repetitive (we’re talking greater than MMO levels of grind here), the main quests are repetitive (we’re talking greater than MMO levels of grind here), it’s really buggy, the NPC’s are just as off-putting as your bosom companions, and there’s several places the game expects you to do platforming, in a game engine that simply CANNOT SUPPORT platforming.
Bioware’s RPG engine (used in, for example, Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire) was originally only psuedo-3d: everything was modeled in three dimensions, but all the levels were essentially flat (compare them to 2013 Tomb Raider, which is WILDLY three dimensional). You couldn’t even jump. They’ve recently corrected this, but even now the engine hasn’t the rendering accuracy or precise controls necessary to support platforming. Platforming in DA:I is like trying to touch type whilst wearing water-logged boxing gloves—it’s not that you can do it well, it’s that you can do it AT ALL that’s amazing.
Oh, and the game ends with the stupidest—“What about Mass Effect 3?”—the SECOND stupidest twist I’ve ever seen. Basically one of the evily evils from the first Dragon Age turns out not to actually be evil at all, even a little bit. She’s just misunderstood.
THE STUPID SHE HAS BURNT MY SKIN OFF MY FACE AND IS WORKING ON MY MUSCLES!
To be fair to the game, the first part of it is kinda enjoyable (basically everything up until you move into your bigger digs). But soon after, the annoyances accumulate and the game rapidly bogs down. The game is simply a cavalcade of bad decisions, and each bad decision saps away a little more of the entertainment value. It’s death by a thousand bugs, resulting in a game that’s stupendously boring and stupid.
What this game ISN’T is openly political. (That’s “didn’t continuously and openly push a real world ideology in my face the whole time” for those who can’t grok what “political” means in context. Yes, there’s in-game politics BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU SPERGS.) Anyway, the game isn’t openly political. The main problem is more subtle than that.
PoMo’s—adherents of Post Modernism and its various bastard offspring—gradually lose their grasp on what humanity is. Thus, the characters and situations they depict in their art are just… off. It’s the characterization equivalent of the Uncanny Valley effect. We can accept simplistic or one-dimensional characters in our fiction (like Jack Jeebs from Men in Black), but what we cannot accept, or empathize with, are characters who simply do not react the way actual people do. Like in The Collapsing Empire where the lady calmly chats with the guy who walks in on her in flagrante delicto, while she casually continues with her recreational activities. Patently inhuman.
As YouTuber Diversity and Comics recently said: “You can only empathize with humans. You can’t empathize with a human-shaped organism that doesn’t have any human emotions.”
All the characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition are human-shaped organisms that don’t have any human emotions. Like Ready Player One, they’re plastic people with plastic emotions and you can’t empathize with them, or even enjoy spending time with them. Garrus was a friend, these guys are animatronic robots who you suspect might have acquired the habit of walking around at night handing out jump scares and eating random security guards.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a total artistic fail, on every level. The writing is bad, the scenery is uninspired, and the one interesting area in the game (the actual Deep Roads) was seen by less than 5% of the players (according to the “this is XX rare” Achievement announcements my Xbox was throwing up). Despite the game trying SO DAMN HARD to be epic, in the end it’s a damp squib. Only about 10% of players even finished the game, and many of them skipped easy to acquire achievements that were right in the path of the finale to do so.
PEOPLE WERE RUSHING SO FAST TO FINISH, THEY IGNORED ACHIEVEMENTS THE GAME WAS BASICALLY HANDING OUT FOR FREE.
I cannot recommend Dragon Age: Inquisition, except in the sense of recommending that people not buy it, or if they have bought it, recommending they burn it with fire and have their domicile exorcized right after, just to make sure none of its baleful influence lingers.
It’s an awful game. An awful, awful, awful, awful game that nobody should play, ever, and it’s cosmically stupid that Bioware made, then shipped this piece of garbage.
THE COSMIC STUPID SHE HAS BURNT MY SKIN OFF MY FACE AND ALSO MY MUSCLES AND IS NOW CHARRING THROUGH THE BONE!