As some of you may have heard, a surprise DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition just came out today. Some of you may be wondering if DA:I is worth playing in its current state. Consider this to be a cumulative patch report in which I give you my impressions of the current state of the base game (no DLC). I have already covered what was good and what was bad about the original version of the game when it came out last year.
I am running the most current version, i.e. Patch 5. I haven't purchased the DLC yet.
What has been fixed
- Tactical camera has been fixed for the most part. In open areas, you can zoom out a lot more and have a bird's eye view of the battlefield.
- You can turn off the “toggle mode when zooming” which is a relief. This way, I can manually choose to go in and out of tactical mode by pressing T. And I can zoom in and out of either mode without being confused.
- Tactical camera's movements are now more intuitive (specifically, 'A' and 'D' correspond to panning instead of swinging).
- Single clicking companion portrait no longer recenters the camera on them. This was a very irksome bug which I am very happy to see gone. You can choose to recenter the camera by double-clicking the companion portrait.
Items and Exploration
- The search button now highlights items in your minimaps. This really minimizes frustration when you are looking for the source of the 'ping' every time you search.
- The default interaction button 'F' is now also the default 'Take All' button.
- Added button to toggle walk/run. Not something I had an issue but it does seem to please some people.
- A party storage chest is now available for all you hoarders out there. I believe it has “infinite capacity”. For the most part, this wasn't a big issue for me. The limit of 60 (and later 75) items forced me to only keep what was necessary. Still, it's great for storing all those ability enhancing rings that we get in abundance.
Tinter – Patch 5 added a wonderful new tool, the armour tinter. This has allowed people to customize costume to their hearts desire. Until now, I had ignored tinting options in all previous games. But the allure is quite strong with DA:I, possibly because armour takes not just the colour but also the texture of each ingredient. [Every tint will cost you a single unit of that ingredient. It's a nice way to award exploration without making it too taxing.]
Here are some examples of what people are doing with the tinter:
What could have been fixed but hasn't
- Even though tactical camera works better in open spaces (and DA:I is primarily open spaces), anything indoors or with a tight ceiling is going to cause you the same amount of frustration. This is so sad because they had already solved this problem in the previous two games: they allowed the camera to zoom out and made the ceilings transparent. In DA:I, the camera hits the ceiling and doesn't go up any further.
- There is still no way to select more than one companion at once. This slows down tactical play.
- No improvement to the companion AI menu.
My tips for playing Dragon Age: Inquisition
This is going to sound very arrogant of me (like that time Steve Jobs told you that you weren't holding your iPhones correctly), but there is “correct way” to play DA:I. I use “correct” in the sense of “less frustrating, more rewarding”.
My first playthrough was binged. I was left really dissatisfied by the Hinterlands and all its stupid side quests. The problem was that I was trying to play it like the previous two games, as a completionist. I started my second playthrough between patch 4 and 5. I made a few changes to how I play this game which has resulted in a much more satisfactory experience. Here are my tips:
- Do NOT be a completionist. It will burn you out. Trust me, you can get enough Power and Influence without being a completionist.
- Try role-playing, like in Skyrim. This means focusing on self-assigned objectives. As an example, when I arrived at the Hinterlands I chose to ignore all the side quests and focus only on getting a horse, discovering camps and closing rifts. Later in the story, my character became a bit more altruistic, so I returned to help out the peasants.
- If you are more interested in the companion relationships, focus on “The Inner Circle” quests. Honestly, between closing rifts and completing companion quests, you should have enough Power to unlock all the story content.
- If possible, break apart your playthrough into small chunks played over a long period of time. In my case, it's down to 2 hour sessions, played every other day. This way, each session allows me to focus on one thing. One session can be about completing a companion quest, another about convincing Master Dennet to come to Skyhold, and a whole other session just creating, customizing and tinting my equipment.
- Smaller session also give me other benefits. For one thing, I make a point to talk to my companions during each session. Also, I have enough real-world time to complete all the War Table missions. I can actually role-play them, instead of assigning it to whoever completes it the fastest.
That's everything for now. If you are thinking of starting another playthrough, or of purchasing the game, it is now a good condition to be played. I also hope you take some of my advice so as to not burn-out or be intimidated by the amount of content.
I may write-up my impressions of the DLC when I get around to playing it. More likely though, I'll wait for a few more DLCs and patches to come out before giving a cumulative review of them all.
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