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 Inquisition

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:46 pm

I've played a few hours so far, here are my first criticisms :

I was really really pissed that I couldn't import my DAO and DA2 save files. They turned it into something horribly complicated. You have to go through a sort of third party, the Dragon Keep web site. The site will technically use your DAO and DA2 save files to create your world state.... provided your games are installed and the last saved files have been synchronized in Origin. -_- I haven't played in years, so of course the games aren't installed. They haven't been for a while. But I still have my saved files, I kept all that, but it was useless. I really wanted my previous choices to reflect, so I had to go to the trouble of adapting the default world state, which took a freaking while. And no, Bioware, I don't remember if I gave food to a prisoner is the prologue of DAO. Evil or Very Mad

Lack of choosing your own stats is so weird. I have no idea why they went down that road. Isn't it enough that we can't choose our backstory, we also have to play some default character? That's the beauty of player creation. We're able to create an imperfect being. He might be a super genius, but he will be out of breath after four steps. Or you can have a muscle power thug who is missing two pebbles out of the pack.

Also, while this is completely my own fault, I am barely reaching the game's minimum requirements (video card wise). So the graphics are down to the lowest setting. It's mostly ok, but sometimes, it will start to lag for a few seconds. It's a little annoying, but like I said, that's my fault, not the game's. Though is it just me, or is the loading time taking forever? I don't know if it's because of my video card. I almost brought a book in my computer room.

I just finished the prologue (after the inquisition has been created). And so far, my impression of the story is : "wait what?". I'm not sure I like the story so much. It felt too rushed. "Oh you just woke up? Yeah, you killed a lot of people, there's a breach in the fade, come close it with your hand. Come quick." (and what's up with the assumptions about the hand closing the rift? Way to go leap of faith). It was too jarring for me. And I just wanted to do a facepalm at the "Hey, he saw a woman, must be Andraste, must be he's a sort of prophet. Yeah. Let's put him in charge.". Another "wait what?" moment. And like Cara or Kana said, why have a chosen one.... AGAIN... "Bioware...what r u doin... Bioware.... stahp..."

I hate the battle dynamics. Then again, I hated it in DA2 too. The little battle dance when you're playing a mage is so silly it's ridiculous. Speaking of mages, why did they have to change all of the spells.... again... That's an annoying habit of changing everything up so it feels like new. It was reassuring, when slipping in Baldur's Gate II, that the spell list is the same (albeit some additions, since the mages are more powerful in BG2). I looked at the list and found like one spell that seemed familiar, other then the classics, like "lightning bolt" (mind blast, which doesn't even seem like the same spell from the previous games). My favorite spell from DAO, crushing prison, is not there anymore. And no healing spell? What. the. f**k.

And I don't understand the approval aspect. I know they wanted the player to feel more immersed in the game by not displaying the NPC's approval. I get that. But it's just annoying (to me anyway). Yes, in real life you can't just look up in a book how much people like you on a scale of a 100. But this is a game, not really life. In real life, if things get sour with someone, I can just sit down and talk it out. I can read people's faces or reactions. Do the interactions with the NPCs change to display the growing approval or disapproval? Do I know how much a person likes me (which you could actually ask in real life). I don't know. It just feels wrong not to display it. You could always choose not to consult it if the rating existed.

That said, I'm sure once I'll get into the main game, I'll enjoy it more. The sort of faction aspect to the game seems really cool, I can't wait to get into the scouting and influence aspect of the game.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:49 am

You're pointing at some serious flaws. This game is pretty much dumbed down just like Diablo 3 to cater to the casual crowd who can't be bothered with allocating points in various stats and coming up with builds.

I can't stand the fact that we only get the illusion of choice when it comes to origins. If you're playing an elf you're automatically playing a Dalish and that's annoying because playing an Alienage elf in DAO was rather significant.

I can't bear myself to play a fighter because of the oversized anime style weapons (especially two handed weapons) that look incredibly silly on anything smaller than a Qunari. I really don't like the dagger rogue playstyle so I've been stuck with the silly dance of the mages and the snooze inducing gameplay of the archer (hopefully it gets better at higher levels but I still need to muster my energy to get there).

Performance wise you should know that after the prologue the new areas are even more demanding on a low end PC. I found I had to switch from high to medium to keep a smooth experience. Originally it didn't make a big difference but ever since one of the patches switching to anything but high means that the scars on the main character won't show up in game (annoying if you've been creative with scars during character creation).

Don't hesitate to lower your resolution to improve performance. As long as you stick to a resolution that is supported by your desktop the game will still be looking ok (scaling in this game doesn't seem that bad).

Lowering a few settings to improve the flow of the game is not such a bad tradeoff IMO. Be warned though that if you're having problems with DAI you should consider an upgrade before contemplating getting the Witcher 3 since it's more demanding (I have very mixed feelings about this game frankly).

Last but not least, considering that this is a Bioware game there is only one option and that's to go with the Chosen One shtick. Playing a rather unconventional character makes it a bit more interesting but that can't really be helped.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:24 am

I've read what's been written by you both and Kana about Inquisition and Witcher 3 and right now I'm so pleased I've not invested in either of these games.

Rob got me an early b'day pressie of Risen 3 - Titan Lords plus the DLC.  It was the best price yet in the Steam sale providing you bought the components separately.  It will be interesting to see how this third in the series compares to Inquisition and Witcher 3.  So far I've really enjoyed the Risen games.  You may play a Chosen One, but there has been enough variation in their skill trees and in game choices/dilemmas, to make this fine. I have no issues with the Gothic series from this perspective either.  Both series have real re-play value.

I've been a bit poorly with a viral infection recently, so once I'm more up to speed I'll start Titan Lords and begin a thread.  It might also be time to start writing reviews again........

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:29 am

Take care Sue, I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately and it's even worse when the weather is hot.

As for Risen 3, I don't think we should really compare these games. The Risen series does its own thing and that's definitely a good thing. From what I've played of Risen 2 it certainly has flaws but its heart is in the right place and that's what matters.

Inquisition and Witcher 3 are the big boys out there and I have mixed feelings about both. After playing a bit of the Witcher 3 I've actually reinstalled the first game and all I can say is that I like it a lot more (it had more heart IMO). The Witcher 3 and Inquisition are just huge and gorgeous (with a few odd artistic choices) but they both feel streamlined and I don't think they're so great narratively speaking (don't get me wrong, they have their moments but they fail to engage me as a player).

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:04 pm

Carabas wrote:
Performance wise you should know that after the prologue the new areas are even more demanding on a low end PC.

LOL, yyyeeeeaaahhhh. I saw that last night. The transition to The Hinterlands took about 15 minutes. And it started with a cutscene... in which 10 to 15 seconds passed between each setence. The speed picked up a bit afterwards, but there were a lot of cases of lagging while exploring the area, so I called it quits. I'm going to go get a new videocard tonight. I'll have to do it sooner or later, since newer games will just have bigger requirements. I had the Radeon HD 4600, and I'm looking at the Geforce GTX 750. I'm very much a newbie in hardware swapping. Do I have to crosscheck compatibility with other components, like the motherboard?

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:30 pm

Quote :
I had the Radeon HD 4600, and I'm looking at the Geforce GTX 750. I'm very much a newbie in hardware swapping. Do I have to crosscheck compatibility with other components, like the motherboard?

Better safe than sorry so check for compatibilities first.

The good news is that your current card doesn't meet the requirements for the game so anything above is going to be an improvement (probably a huge one).

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-750/performance

That should give you an idea of what to expect. Your screen resolution matters (a lot) mind you. Don't expect to be able to play new gen games at 60 FPS on ultra at 1920x1080 with this card.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:10 pm

Yeah, I don't expect being able to play everything on high, but it'll at least help me stay above the minimum for a few years.... we'll see.

Thanks for the tip!

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:13 pm

Woohoo! Bought the videocard, installed it in my computer, installed the drivers, loaded up DA3, everything works fine! I love it when things don't screw up unexpectedly. It's refreshing... Laughing

The autodetect put DA3's graphics on medium. I knew it wasn't a top of the line card, but I was hoping for High or something... Laughing Well, at least the machine can actually run the game. Smile Should keep me out of the water for three years, maybe.

So, back to the game. What's up with the spells, seriously. I still don't get why they took out healing spells. One of the producers said in an interview they did that so it would push the player to have a more tactical approach to fights instead of hacking with abandon on an enemy while a healer keeps you out of hot water. But I disagree. Healing is so part of the RPG magic system that taking it out is like taking melee fighting out. To me, it shows laziness and a lack of creativity in making challenging battles. And having a healer isn't that much of a nerf thing. Yes, a healer is useful and a (litteral) lifesaver. But having a good healing also means you lose one character out of your party. Healers are usually weaker because you specialized them and while they're healing, they aren't doing much else...

And how do you reconcile healingless magic of DA3 with healingfull magic of DAO and DA2?? It's supposed to be the same world, with the same magic. How can magic be without healing when the story takes place a few weeks (months?) after DA2? If they at least incorporated that in the story... Like the Breach f**ked up magic and some spells (including healing) don't work anymore. But no. It's barely adressed... (and it's not even called "spells" anymore. They're "Mage abilities"... Neutral

I'm playing a mage character. What are the good control spells in DA3? In DAO, I would use a lot of Mind Blast, Crushing Prison, Cone of Cold, Petrify to control the flow of the battlefield for my fighting. With DA3, I'm not sure which spells are best.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:39 pm

Congrats on the new card.

I like lightning but I can't really say I feel it makes much of a difference...

The more I think about Inquisition the more it makes me think of a JRPG (right down to the big anime looking swords).

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:13 am

I think they took out healing magic because they were trying to take cues from Dark Souls or Bloodborne, with its limited heals between rests. It works in those games because: 1) The combat is more reactive, and 2) You only have a single character to control. When you take damage in Dark Souls, it is ALWAYS your fault. It's frustrating in DAI to see your AI controlled archer run stupidly up to a bear, try to shoot it from two inches away, and immediately get stomped and lose 3/4 of their health. Dude, what the hell? It's a ranged weapon. That means you're supposed to use it from a distance. Why should I have to use one of my limited potions to heal a character that was injured because of the AI's stupidity?

The magic is really poorly balanced, and mostly pretty useless. The most powerful magic tree is Spirit, by huge leaps and bounds. It's all about keeping up barriers. I completed the game on Nightmare rather easily, simply by maxing out my mages' Spirit trees, and always having two in my party so I would never be without barriers. Add some runes that build guard into the mix, and you are unstoppable.

So, basically, in this game, mages are barrier machines. The most powerful party you can have is either two sword-and-shield warriors and two mages, or one sword-and-shield warrior (preferably a Champion) and three mages. In the tough battles (like higher level dragons), two handed warriors and rogues are dead weight.
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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:01 pm

Yeah, I think you're right Kana. But it infuriates me because Dragon age Inquisition is not Dark Souls. You can't remove an important aspect in a third entry of a series to conform to some new fad. Make a new game and adjust it how you want. You want to make a D&D, RPG type game? Guess what, there's healing in those.

And I think you nailed it with your comment. I also think it works more in a one character game than a party game. If at least you could spam potions. But no. You can't carry more than 8 potions around. And those 8 are a party pool of potions, shared amoung your characters. And when you rest in a camp, they are replenished. Free of charge... Neutral

Yeah, I noticed that Spirit spells seem the better option. I will try to head into that. So far, my party is Cassandra, Varric and Solas, with my mage character. I still haven't met any other party npcs, but I think I'll dump Varric. Leliana in DAO or Isabella in DA2 used to be useful. Not terribly important, but useful still. In DA3, rogues seem to be dead weights, like you say.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:32 pm

An Archer is actually a pretty good choice for a main character.

To be fair the game is not difficult so going for the most powerful option may be a double edged sword in the sense that it is just going to be too easy. My advice would be not to powergame.

Playing a Mage you will be able to pick the Knight Enchanter specialization which comes with some healing power so that will make your life much easier if that's still bothering you.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:36 pm

Yeah, I've hard about the (one) healing spell. I think I will head in that direction. I've also already got the revival ability, so there's that!

I played a bit last night, I am still in the Hinterlands. Holy sweet baby jesus, there's a lot of ground to cover, compared to the other previous Dragon ages. I've played in the Hinterlands for 4 hours or so, and I seem to be a third of the way from having explored the area! Finally, a positive point. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:23 pm

The quantity is there that's for sure. That and the elf roots... Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Hahahaha, damn elfroot. Everytime I press "v". "Yay! an item is nearby, behind". I turn around in excitement. "Damn you elfroot!!"

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:37 pm

I know exactly what you mean!

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:00 pm

I don't want to just slam the game, because I do have fun when I play, but playing in the Hinterlands brought up another criticism (albeit a minor one). To better explain it, I will relate an imaginary conversation between two programmers.

*The day the game was released*

John : Yes, we worked hard but we managed to staple on Dragon age Inquisition the exploration aspect  that made Skyrim or Far Cry so popular. Yay to us!

Steve : Indeed. The fans will be so happy that the maps are so big they could walk for hours real time to get from one corner to another, like Skyrim and Far Cry.

John : Oh yeah, and hey, if they get tired of walking to a destination, they can just click on any landmark of the map and be transported there immediately, like Skyrim and Far Cry 3.

Steve : ...

John : You did include that option, right Steve? So they don't have to walk forever just to exit the map.

Steve : I thought you did.

John : No, *you* were supposed to do that.

Steve : ... shit.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:31 pm

You can travel between camps.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:35 pm

I know you can travel to any camp from the fast travel stone thing, but you can travel from one camp to the other? Still, I had to take a ridiculous detour, even from the last camp to the world map, I had to fight two or three times. They are low level fights, but when you just want to go elsewhere, it's annoying to walk a while and deal with respawns. :/

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:16 am

You can fast travel TO the camp from anywhere on the map (so long as you are not in combat), and also to the pyramid-shaped fast travel markers. So, you can cut your trip short by fast-travelling to the camp closest to your desire destination.

In most places, you can also bring up the world map and fast-travel to another world location. So, for instance, you don't have to go to a world-map marker to return to Haven/Skyhold.
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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:01 pm

Laughing   Ok ok, I overreacted. I hadn't realized fast traveling was always in effect. Mea culpa. jocolor

Speaking things I didn't know, I had my ass handed to me a few times while trying to close the western rifts in the Hinterlands. I always get screwed over when the second wave appears. I learned yesterday, looking online for battle tips, that you can use the dispel spell on appearing demons before they materialize and those will me neutralized instantly. Apparently that info appears often in the loading menu. Never saw it. Neutral     (I tried it and man is it helpful!!)

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:53 pm

Ok, so I am thirty or so hours into Inquisition. I have just moved to Skyhold. So far, there has been interesting missions. But, while the idea of selecting advisers to take care of certain missions is interesting, it was rather a let down for me that there was no more consequences of the choice of advisors (unless things change post-moving into Skyhold).

Another thing I couldn't help but notice : baaaaaaaad writing. The main story is a mess. I said so before, but the way Cassandra and Leliana name you character Inquisitor makes absolutely no sense. And yes, you actually hear lines like this through out the game : "the inquistion needs a leader, and it’s THE ONE WHO HAS BEEN LEADING IT ALL THIS TIME". What? Who wrote this??

I read a couple of articles that connected deep with me about DAI. I really like the first part of this one :

Quote :
The beginning of Inquisition doesn’t feel like a beginning and there’s no buildup to the giant explosion, you enter the game after the inciting incident of the game: the destruction of the Conclave. Now in media res is a common literary technique and works great, but starting the story after the most important invent in the game is such a stupid move. That’s like starting Skyrim during Alduin’s attack and asking us to choose our race and appearance while fires burn in the background or starting Mass Effect after the attack on Eden Prime, the whole pace of the beginning section would be wrecked. There’s in media res and then there’s just starting at a random point in the story because fuck the pacing, amirite?

This other article about the game had me chuckling :

Quote :
Marching on Denerim at the head of the army I had worked so hard to build is still one of my fondest gaming memories. Sending packs of Werewolves to shred the Genlock Archers harassing me while a newly crafted Golem took on an Ogre with help from the stalwart Legion of the Dead was incredibly satisfying, it was a final battle that really made me feel like everything I did in the game actually mattered. All of the alliances, all of the sacrifice, all of the death: it had all been building towards this moment, and it was a moment that did not disappoint.

Mass Effect 2’s Suicide Mission remains the epitome of the epic ending for me. A mission in which everyone can die, including you, and an explosive finale that sent a chill down your fucking spine.

Even Mass Effect 3 had a damn good conclusion until they fucked it up in the last 10 minutes. That final charge towards the Citadel Beam may have seemed stupid, but it was the stupidity of desperation. It was a desperation that said “we either do this now or we go extinct.” It was a desperation I felt right down to my bones.

Those are the endings that will stay with me for a long time. Not because I’ll remember the specifics of why or how or when, but because I’ll remember how I felt.

Dragon Age: Inquisition… well it’ll be just another game I’ll probably remember having played at some point, but I won’t remember what it was about or what happened in the end. And most importantly I won’t remember how I felt.

Because Dragon Age: Inquisition didn’t make me feel anything…

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:41 am

Those links don't impress me. Those guys are trying too hard to be clever and edgy when they really could afford to take a few English classes (just like so many other bloggers/reviewers).

Inquisition has many flaws but it's not worse than Skyrim or Divinity Original Sin (for different reasons obviously) and when it comes to writing it's not worse than Dragon Age Origins (Alistair making the player character the leader didn't make more sense despite the reasons that were put forward in game).

The problem I have with Inquisition is that it's an action RPG and it limits you when it comes to the choices you have (no Alienage Elves, only surface Dwarves; restrictions on classes and builds).

The other problem is linked with the open world nature of the game because it is all about quantity and the idea that more/bigger is always better is wrong. Bioware tried to appeal to the new crowds who always clamour for more content when they should have catered to their fans who cared more about quality and depth. Inquisition is too big for its own good but it's not terrible by any means.

There is nothing wrong with starting in medias res (that's the correct spelling by the way) and pointing out Skyrim as an example is an incredibly weak argument (because while Skyrim did start in medias res it also showcased a terribly heavy handed opening sequence). The story in Inquisition may be what it is but it is not about the Conclave, that event only serves as a starting point and to claim otherwise is incredibly disingenuous. I don't care much for all the hype that has been heaped over DAI but that anti-hype stance being demonstrated in the links you've posted is not any better.

In all fairness I think that you're doing yourself a disservice. Either you're able to ignore some of the flaws in Inquisition or you should just put it down. It's been a while since I last fired it up myself because it didn't hold my interest but I know that I'll be going back to Thedas at a certain point in the future and when I do I will try to suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy the game instead of focusing on the bits that irk me (which frankly is exactly what I've done in the past with Skyrim and many other games including Fallout 2 which to this day is still among my favourite games).

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:50 pm

Meh, the links gave me a chuckle. I think he had rather good points. The in medias res was either poorly done or was a bad artistic choice. It took me a while to get into the game because of it and I felt jarred and annoyed at the beginning. If it were the first game of the series, it wouldn't have been too bad. But considering it's the third of a series and many players played all through the first game and (more importantly) the second game, which Inquisition is the direct sequel, we're expecting to understand what's happening since we're well aware of the world's lore. One of the examples usually put forth to illustrate in medias res is Hamlet (the king's death has already happened). But that one works because Hamlet is about the character's revenge and descent into madness. And since the king's death happened some time before, it's less jarring. Doing it like Inquisition would be like a Whodunnit murder story that starts as they're figuring out who the killer is. It also has less emotional impact. Had the prologue been at the conclave, chatting with fellow mages and templars (and using that time to shape your character), followed by a white flash and the actual starting cutscene, then the headscratching "What happened? Have I done this? Who's responsible?" would have had a lot more impact.

But anyways, that said, don't worry too much about me. Smile I like to complain, but when I play, I play. I do like the game. I don't think it's the worst game to have been made. I just can't help but be mad at the direction they're taking the game. And it's not just this game. It's popular culture in general. The same criticism is present in a lot of pop movies :

1) laziness (not forcing yourself to come up with the best story/concept, not validating it (or enough), not forming the best creative team you can (how you can invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a project with mediocre screenwriters, I will never know. And there are some spectacular screenwriters out there...wtf...)

2) lack of respect for your audience (mainly the "let's dumb it down, they won't understand if it's too complicated" bullshit).

3) trying to appeal to too many people and denaturalize your product (like cramming all fads in one product in an effort to generate more money).

In recent years, there have been games (or at least parts of games) that have raised the bar. Like the blogger mentioned, the Suicide mission in Mass effect was one hell of an ending. Inquisition does have redeeming points to it. And it did try some things out, like the war table. It was a nice touch. But with a little effort, it could have been so much more.

I don't regret my 30 bucks spent on it. I'm glad I bought it. But I probably would have regretted it at 70 bucks.

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PostSubject: Re: Inquisition   Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:50 pm

The framing device in DA2 was very clever and that may be the one thing I like about this game.

Quote :
Had the prologue been at the conclave, chatting with fellow mages and templars (and using that time to shape your character), followed by a white flash and the actual starting cutscene, then the headscratching "What happened? Have I done this? Who's responsible?" would have had a lot more impact.

That would have been the more "mundane" way to go about it, set the scene and let the characters take part in the story. The major problem is that they did it before with Ostagar in DAO and the other problem is that we would have needed a real backstory, i.e. actual reasons for being there. Dropping the character right in the thick of it has its merits (unless you're ready to give players some origin stories and make them as good as the ones in DAO but let's not fool ourselves that is not likely to ever happen again).

I do agree that the "suits" are trying to market games so they will appeal to the masses and as a result they end up being dumbed down affairs when they're not a complete mess.

That's why there is hope when it comes to (some) indie games because it doesn't take long to realize that the people behind the best indie games are trying to make games that they would like to play and not necessarily games that they can sell to the largest audience.

I can totally imagine the "good" people at EA discussing the Dragon Age franchise and looking at the success of Skyrim to decide that they have to make the next DA game open world to sell it like hotcakes... Oh and let's get rid of all the complicated stuff and streamline everything so that people who have no attention span whatsoever can still get ahead, they'll market it as a deep tactical RPG anyway. Plus let's fill the game with stuff that looks like it's taken from an MMO, kids love that sort of crap. Sad

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