Get on Up

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a pretty fun game. I know, I’ve been playing it for, well, according to the Xbox, some 97 hours. Thats longer than I played Dark Souls II. The Xbox One also lies, though, so its Time played stat is a bunch of lies that makes me extremely mad. Just… The maddest.

Anyway! I don’t know how long I’ve been playing Dragon Age, but there was a point when I thought that I definitely didn’t want to finish it. There were some extremely… Wait.

*SPOILERS AHEAD – THIS PART OF THE ARTICLE HAS SPOILERS*

ok. Where was I?

There was a point, however, where I realized that I wasn’t having fun. I would visit the war room, do a quest or two. maybe get a small trinket, and then I’d venture out into the hinterlands to do quests. I’d made it to the Storm Coast and picked up Iron Bull, and I’d grabbed Sera, Vivienne and Blackwall while I was at it, and I was pleased. I was using an all melee group because it kept the heat off of me in a very strong way, being a mage.

I’d taken a short trip to the fallow mire, and was bogged down by the demons at the first crossroad. They were level 12, which is a bit of a jump for level 9 characters, especially when your expected to fight waves of them. I thought, because my history with games was that way, that I had to go and grind out some levels in the Hinterlands before I was ready for the big leagues.

See, I’d been raised playing games on the NES: Link, Final Fantasy, Mario, those type of games. Final Fantasy VII later on, and most recently the RPG genre that bioware has gotten so good at: Mass Effect, Bioshock, and Dragon Age. Even Dark Souls. All of these games are, in a very basic sense, linear. You traverse the path of something along the lines of a hero, and make your way through the story. There are portions of the game that are affected by you, but it mostly changes your characters personality and how the world treats him, giving you only the illusion of choice.

This is further exacerbated by the very real possibility, drilled into the players brain from generations of games, that at any time you may be unable to go backwards. This can lead to some pretty circular issues that I’ve come to notice with games. First, there is the thought that any time you pass through an area could be your only time, even if your in a hurry “We must get to the castle before the bomb goes off!” this makes you want to go fast through the area, due to story. This leads the developers to put goodies in that area because its a bonus if you slow down and take your time against your nature, where your afraid that  one time, your going to go to fast and miss the Massive Sword of Enemy Execution and your Executioner Characters ultimate weapon is lost forever, because you can never go back.  So, Your not expected to slow down, so the developers put prizes there if you slow down, so you start to always slow down, then the developers stop putting prizes in and then you aren’t expected to slow down… So games, and especially open world RPGS with consequences that can change the physical makeup of the maps, encourage and almost demand that you explore every facet of their maps before moving on.

In Dragon Age, its exponential, as there are tons of areas, and it seems that things can change in an instant. This lead me to being completely paralyzed. I was unable to go the the fallow mire, because the enemies were to powerful. I was done with the storm coast and all the things I could do, and that left me with the Hinterlands, where nothing seemed important. The enemies were so low of level that I wasn’t getting experience, and when I did, it was so little that I felt I’d never level up. It was extremely depressing and tiresome. I felt that I was grinding for no reason, and that it just not what enjoy.

Thats when, on my way to the land of dreams one night, sitting in my bed waiting for sleep to come over me, I realized what the problem was.
Me.

I had sat on my hands while I was presented with two choices: Aid the Templars, or aid the Mages. I had decided to wait and see what the outcome would be. Sadly, this only exacerbated the pain that I was feeling as I was terrified that if I went forward with the game, anything I had not explored would change. The game, by moving forward, would trap me out of game play that I wanted to experience.

By the time I had reached that point, though, it was a false choice. Instead of wanting to play the content that I was slogging through, I wanted to play the content I was avoiding. I wanted to get into the guts of the game and start being the character I thought I was going to be since the start: A badass. Now, having played through the first act, It feels that the 97 hours that the system tells me that I have played was a slow burn tutorial and that I am only now starting to play the game. I am the leader, now, and they follow my orders. The game now has options and choices of trees in which to take and the specializations that I can use.

That is something that feels tricky to me. None of the Specializations that I have access too are choices that I would make. Meta-mage, Battle Mage and Necromancer are all strange choices for my character. I think, in the end, I will end up being a battle mage simply because it’ll be interesting, but I don’t know yet. There is still so much in this game to explore! Now, having made it through the introduction, I can honestly say, I recommend the game!