THIRD TIME RE­ALLY IS A CHARM

Dragon Age: In­qui­si­tion

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by Sale­hud­din Husin

Bioware’s re­turn to gam­ing af­ter the Mass Ef­fect 3 de­ba­cle her­alds a re­turn to form for both the com­pany and the Dragon Age se­ries. It’s pretty im­pres­sive to see the mas­sive re­tool­ing BioWare has done here, pulling the se­ries from the pit that con­sumed the sec­ond in­stal­ment.

In­qui­si­tion has an epic story that weaves past Dragon Age games and cast ex­pertly into the nar­ra­tive. If you’ve stuck by the se­ries from the be­gin­ning, here’s where it all pays off. Of course, that’s a dou­ble edged sword. In cater­ing to the faith­ful, BioWare has alien­ated new­com­ers. They’ve done an ad­mirable job to ease new­bies into the world of Dragon Age but with so much back­story and ma­te­rial to cover, it was never go­ing to be enough.

Fus­ing both real time and turn based sys­tems might seem like a bad idea, but it works su­perbly well here. Com­bat’s un­for­giv­ing this time around, es­pe­cially on higher dif­fi­cul­ties and is a tad un­bal­anced but is fun enough that it never be­comes over­whelm­ing. That is un­less you play a Knight En­chanter, then you’re un­beat­able.

The big­gest flaw in In­qui­si­tion is in­ven­tory man­age­ment. It’s ar­chaic, stupid and the in­ter­face makes ev­ery­thing a chore. If you have to spend time fig­ur­ing out whether a new equip­ment piece is bet­ter or not, that’s a bad thing. Worse still, there’s not even a sort op­tion to re­or­ga­nize your items. Who­ever did the UI for the in­ven­tory sys­tems should be shot.

Of course, what’s a BioWare game with­out glitches? In­qui­si­tion suf­fers from its fair share of bugs. Be it con­ver­sa­tions that don’t trig­ger, freez­ing is­sues and even cor­rupted saves, In­qui­si­tion has it. To Bioware’s credit, the game’s been patched nu­mer­ous times since re­lease and most (if not all) of the game break­ing bugs have been squashed, but if you’re play­ing on a con­sole with no in­ter­net con­nec­tion, the ex­pe­ri­ence might not be as pleas­ant as you’d ex­pect.

In fact, In­qui­si­tion pretty much re­quires an in­ter­net con­nec­tion (though it’s not manda­tory). With in­ter­net ac­cess, you can connect to Dragon Age Keep, a ser­vice that lets you man­u­ally cre­ate a back­story of the world based on past games to your lik­ing. It might feel like a cheap hack since there is no com­pat­i­bil­ity to im­port from past games, but most im­por­tantly it works.

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