Saturday!

Hi folks, I’m filling in for Jaybird this week, and I’d like to talk about a game I’m really fond of, though it’s not without flaws – Dragon Age Inquisition.

Inquisition is a game about being thrust into the middle of an emergency and having to deal with it because, as usual, everyone else is too busy bickering to do anything useful about it. Well, not exactly because a few other people have noticed that this is a Serious Problem, and after an unfortunate misunderstanding you decide to band together to form the eponymous Inquisition and try to try and put the world to rights.

I’m a fan of the Dragon Age series in general, and Inquisition is my favourite of the three. In addition to several interesting and complex main characters (the best thing about Bioware games are the characters), it also has an element of build up an institution, not just running around on your own. My biggest issue with the game (apart from the fact the controls are not properly optimised for PC) is that it doesn’t do enough to explore this.

You acquire power for the Inquisition, and can even upgrade your stronghold to some extent, but most of these upgrades are cosmetic. Your base looks more formidable and better populated at the end of the game, but you still find yourself running around doing odd jobs. And how many odd jobs there are. I get that sometimes you want to expand a game’s length by adding a few side missions, but my first playthrough of Inquistion took 90 hours; a game that long doesn’t need padding out with MMO-style busywork. Sure you don’t have to do most of it, but the completionist in me gets really bothered if I don’t do the quests in front of me.

I think this was a missed opportunity. What I’d have liked to see is a mechanic that let you use the growing resources of the Inquisition to deal with this stuff. In the early stages of the game, you’d have to do petty side-quests yourself if you wanted them done, but once the Inquisition was more powerful you could just send your followers to deal with the minor stuff and only take care of the important things yourself. That would shorten the game by removing low-value content while giving you a better appreciation for this organisation you are building.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been playing while I wait for Civilization VI to be released. What have you been playing this week?

(Picture is Scene from an Inquisition by Francisco Goya, a faithful reproduction of a Public Domain work of art)


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James is a government policy analyst, and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests including wargaming, computer gaming (especially RPGs and strategy games), Dungeons & Dragons and scepticism. No part of any of his posts or comments should be construed as the position of any part of the New Zealand government, or indeed any agency he may be associated with.

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9 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. I played it almost all the way through, bought an expansion pack (because I was having fun), and decided to take a detour through the expansion pack. Partway through the pack, I hit a fight where my party just can not do enough damage fast enough to clear out the monsters, and I got stuck.

    Had to put it on the shelf for a while, will probably go back to it at some point, but right now, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is keeping me busy.

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    • HR is fun,but the boss fights are….clearly done by another company who in no way communicated with the rest of the development team.

      My advice? There’s well known…alternative methods…to deal with some of them. It’s about the only game I recommend exploiting glitches or design flaws in order to proceed, because I found the fights that annoying.

      Of course, I went sneaky/pacifist, so….I had real drawbacks there.

      If you ignore that (and I did easily enough) the game is pretty fun. I hear mankind divided is basically HR with the annoying boss fights removed. (Well, and a different story, and whatnot).

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      • Agreed, the boss fights are impossible to do head to head unless you spent all your upgrades on combat mods. As soon as I hit one, I read up on the alternate ways to tackle the problem. I just beat the female boss at Picus, and I shot her once with a stun gun, ran to the upstairs while dropping EMP mines, tossed an autohacker on the terminal, and set the turrets on her.

        No Mano-e-Mano for me. If you’re fighting fair, you’re doing it wrong.

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        • IIRC, I beat her by hiding near the back under cloak, firing the laser at her THROUGH her capsule.

          I cheezed another boss with the takedown glitch.

          Frankly, that was much more satisfying than a full-blown fight. “BOSS FIGHT” . *interrupts, slams into ground with spikes”. “Nope”.

          I have to say, seeing the “Ghost” reward popping up on a mission? So nice. (I think that’s the one for never being seen).

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    • Inquisition’s expansions suffer from two problems:
      1) The combat and levelling don’t work properly much past level 20. By that stage you have every ability you want, and since the number of abilities you can have for use is artificially limited at 8 you get less from each of your late-game levels than you do for the earlier ones, making the difficulty ramp up.
      2) They are more game in a game that doesn’t need more game.

      I play through Trespasser because that one is very plot and character heavy, but the others aren’t good enough to justify the above problems.

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  2. So, the question is: how does Clinton not soil the golden fleece this Sunday. Does she refuse to shake the Donald’s hand (knowing where its been) …

    (ok that was a tasteless. I was wrong to have said it. I am sorry. Anyway, Bill has told far worse jokes; we’ll talk about it Sunday …)

    But seriously: how can she shake the hand of someone who brags about sexual assault? Or for that matter, share the stage with him as equals?

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        • It’s difficult to make exactly the distinctions that we like to make here but comments of the form “the Big 10 is superior to the SEC!” are okay but ones of the form “Protestantism is superior to Catholicism!” are not.

          It’s possible for someone to talk smack about (your favorite football team) and for that conversation to end with both people liking the other more.

          It’s rare, if possible at all, for someone to discuss religion (or politics) in the way we discuss football (or cleric domains, for that matter) in such a way that both parties can both disagree with dang near everything the other person has said but also walk away saying “yeah, he’s okay” rather than “yeah, he’s fundamentally bad”.

          Occasionally, we can have a topic where religion or politics happen to bubble up (a favorite of mine is how superheroes have become ways to discuss morality/justice in a post-Christian society) and that’s fine, as well as it goes, so long as it inspires conversations where there are not likely to be hard feelings. Those are rare.

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