The Bestest Best RPG Of 2014: Dragon Age Inquisition

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, you are the most important person in the entire world. People will follow you into battle, go along with your decisions and occasionally kiss you on the lips. There’s an enormous world to discover and it’s all there for you. Go and have an adventure. You deserve it.

Adam: Inquisition is like comfort food. A month-long banquet of comfort food, with all the trimmings.

You could gorge yourself on it and end up feeling profoundly bilious and if you were to analyse all of the ingredients too closely, you might well find that there’s nothing particularly nutritious or substantial, but it tastes great. And it’s somehow soothing.

Partly that’s due to familiarity. There’s plenty to do but you’ll have done most of it before if you’ve been whiling away the years hanging around in fantasy kingdoms. There’s equipment to craft, herbs to gather, monsters to kill, demonic portals to seal, dwarves to snog. There are gruff warriors, rebellious rogues and sombre mages. It’s a silly game that mostly presents its silliness with a very serious tone. Yes, there are tragic moments and weighty decisions, but it is a game about leading a band of assorted heroic types around the wilderness to collect magical doohickeys and bits of animals.

Pointy ears, bull nipples and the occasional spot of rumpy-pumpy. I either remember or imagined Joss Whedon commenting that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would never win “serious” television awards because it had “bumpy foreheads” instead of walk-and-talks. Inquisition is a Bumpy Forehead game but it’s also about proper things.

It’s still daft though, and that’s OK. I could quite happily spend an evening adding comedy captions to all the screengrabs I took while I was playing. Mocking overblown fantasy nonsense is one of my favourite pastimes and I’m very happy to poke fun at Inquisition’s most ridiculous moments.

But it pulled me in and I cared about the choices, large and small, and the characters who relied on my messianic misfit. More than that, I found myself wanting to tick every available quest off the enormous list that was developing. Inquisition is an open world game and while I’m not entirely comfortable with that term, the ‘icons on a map’ approach is one that has almost become a genre in itself. Inquisition fits into that category but it’s my favourite example of the form to date.

The characters, quests and combat aren’t the heart of the game – the world is.

There’s so much to do that some of the quests, dialogue sequences and locations aren’t as solid as others. With this much to see and do, I’m not bothered by the occasionally uneven terrain. There are sequences that I thought were highlights that other people rolled their eyes at, and parts that I greeted with a shrug that other people found touching, amusing or exciting.

Inquisition was an important game for me, not because of any specific subplot or aspect of characterisation, but because it made me fall in love with the possibilities of big budget releases again. The genres that I tend to prefer don’t produce many AAA titles so I’m sometimes a little more insulated than I should be from the goings-on in the world of blockbuster gaming.

Even when I’m not playing All Of The Games I’m keeping an eye on them, and BioWare’s latest fits neatly into some obvious recent trends. There are those icons littering the map and the fact that the carefully crafted world sometimes takes a backseat while you’re running from A to B, hoovering up quests and barely thinking about the scenery you’re supposedly exploring, let alone the narrative implications of your actions.

That the game managed to capture my attention so completely made me excited about other games in this style. Inquisition has a strong flavour and personality, the sort that I often expect to be diluted when there are so many cooks at the cauldron. When I sang its praises I wondered if I’d still feel as positively about the game when I came to write about it again toward the year’s end. It’s only been a month but I stand by my first statement in that review – “Dragon Age: Inquisition might just be my favourite game released this year.”

It won’t click with everyone but for those willing to suspend their cynicism and buy into the world, it’s as rewarding as anything in 2014. And if it really really doesn’t click with you, I completely understand – most of BioWare’s recent output has left me completely unmoved – but I also feel sorry for you, just like so many people feel a bit sad on my behalf when they find out that I have a complete inability to enjoy Star Wars and Mass Effect.

I’ve spent nearly a hundred hours playing already and I’m tempted to start all over again on Boxing Day, when life returns to normal after an overdose of family and food. Back to the comfort zone. It might not be the most exciting or inventive game of the year, but it’s extremely good at being a massive fantasy RPG.

And you can snog a dwarf.

Alec: Like Wolfenstein, I feel like this is here partly because the playing field wasn’t too crowded this year. A fair bit of Inquisition has profoundly irritated me – I don’t really want MMO herb-grinding in my epic save-the-world adventure, and while the flirt-on-first-sight conversation options may well be appropriate to the Tinder age, they do lend a Russ Meyer quality to what is supposed to be high drama.

Even so, the sheer amount that Inquisition attempts to do makes it stand out a mile. When I load it up (I’m still some way from finishing it, as far as I can tell), there are so many options, so many things to do. Some involve gardening, far too many involve someone telling me that their lover has disappeared in a dangerous area and can I go find them and oh look they are dead, but equally very many involve a big, exciting scrap, fantastic scenery and running into a bunch of other stuff en route. And when I want a rest from it all, I’ve got a bloody great castle all of my own.

Even the fights, as overly-actiony as they are, look and feel like they’re operating on a whole new level.

Inquisition is an RPG which decides to take on a number of big What Ifs? and as a result leaves several RPG conventions behind. I don’t feel like I’m having a totally familiar experience, I haven’t ever been quite sure where it’s going (other than when I’m herb-farming), and that’s what I look for more than anything.

That said, to a great extent Inquisition is a singleplayer MMO, and there’s been a heavy price paid for that – too much of my time is spent at the Skinner box – but at the same time there’s a huge relief that I can give up the pretense. This is how I want to play an MMO, really – the star of the show in a big world packed with stuff, and if I want to spend half an hour farming Obsidian the option is there. I take it up willingly more often than I’m comfortable admitting.

And, of course, no-one does RPG characters like BioWare does RPG characters. There are more bores on the team than I’d like, but The Iron Bull’s a star, Sera brings both pomposity-pricking and increasing humanity, Dorian is a fine Errol Flynn and Solas is so fascinatingly odd. And refreshingly, reassuringly Welsh. Just don’t make me look at his face.

Something has been lost as the scope and scale expanded, yes – but what scope and scale.

Back to the complete bestest best PC games of 2014.

344 Comments

  1. Revolving Ocelot says:

    That settles it for me, Divinity will be RPS’s favouritest game.

    I do have a suspiciously Dragon Age-shaped present in the pile, so I have that to look forward to on the 27th. I’m still having an internal debate about whether I should play #2 or not.

    • daphne says:

      That’s “Best Kickstarter”.

      I was expecting this to be GOTY, but apparently not. Dungeon of the Endless, then? I genuinely have no idea.

      Also by all means, play DA2. One of the things DAI does best is to present the DA world with all the little things brought on from DA:O and DA II and neatly integrated. You end up feeling like you just have to play those games, just to see what that stuff you keep hearing about was about.

      • grimy says:

        I’m going to bet on the dark horse here and go with “The Talos Principle”. It’s the only game left this year that I’ve played and loved that’s not already on this list.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hodge says:

          I think it might have arrived too late to land a spot, or maybe not enough of the Hivemind have played it. Which is a shame as I played the public demo thingy and it’s proper amazing.

        • The Godzilla Hunter says:

          I’m going to go ahead and guess, “Elite: Dangerous”.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Going with “This War of Mine”. Ticks the games-are-serious-please-take-me-seriously box that RPS humps in its sleep.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          I think you may be mis-remembering the Wot I Think for that one.

      • manitoo says:

        Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is conspicuously absent as well.

      • LordCrash says:

        I guess it will be either Shadow of Mordor or Alien Isolation.

      • Revolving Ocelot says:

        Wagh, somehow missed that. Why did I assume it was Shovel Knight for best KS?

        Imagine if Shovel Knight was Best Game, though. My heart would explode.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Kentucky Route Zero to make a surprise return to bag GOTY 2 years in a row on account of Part 3’s release this year?

        E:D is surely too soon….although 2014 is it’s year. Shadow of Mordor seems the likely candidate, sounds like the kind of thing everyone likes, which in their democratic voting process will likely pip anything some love.

    • skyturnedred says:

      DA2 is most enjoyable if you just put combat on easy so you can see the story bits faster.

      • malkav11 says:

        Very much this. Also, prepare a nice soft cushion on your desk for Act 3, so that headdesking throughout the entirety of the act won’t cause brain damage.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I, too, vouch for this opinion. I though DA2 had some sterling characters and dialogue

    • amateurviking says:

      Whack it down to casual and give it a whirl. I had a good time with it the week before DA:I came out (FAR too much combat but the dialogue/companions are sparkly and nice).

      There are quite a few direct references to the plot of 2 and the DLC in Inquisition too.

    • jasta85 says:

      I would actually say that Divinity original sin is the best “Role Playing Game” by the definition of what that genre is actually supposed to be. Divinity lets you become who you want and make your own decisions. If you want to massacre the entire starting village including quest givers you can do that (it’s dumb but you can do it anyway). It gives you an enormous amount of choice to play the game in all sorts of different ways and in ways not even the devs could think of thanks to the tools you are given.

      That is the definition of role play for me as it lets me decide how I want to play the game rather than follow a bunch of pre-determined events and pick the red option or the blue option.

      Granted, I still enjoyed DA: Inquisition but it does not deserve best role playing game, maybe best 3rd person squad based action game or something.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        One day someone will describe a game as an RPG, and everyone will agree that it is the correct use of the term RPG.
        But it is not this day.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Quite true. DA2 actually fit my definition of an RPG very nicely, for example

  2. LordCrash says:

    That’s ridiculous and sad.

    Please erase that “PC” label on your page and replace it with “console”. That decision is a slap in the face of everyone who really values PC gaming. Please consider next time what PC gaming is actually all about and make some actual research about good game design before you give awards to games like that…

    DAI is nothing else than a mediocre console SP MMO poorly ported to PC. You can of course still like it but should a professional site dedicated to PC gaming give a RPG GOTY award to a game like that? I don’t think so.

    RPS really lost a lot of credibility today. That’s quite sad given the fact that it once was one of the best PC gaming sites out there. Time to fully move over to IncGamers I guess… :/

    • meepmeep says:

      Please consider next time what PC gaming is actually all about

      Games…on PCs?

      • Fomorian1988 says:

        I wish I could star this comment.

      • Cockie says:

        What a silly idea.

      • Fluka says:

        But the developers also gave care and consideration into how the game might play with a controller, rather than KM+B! Their thoughts are unpure, and all has been tainted!

      • RARARA says:

        Nah man, it’s all about ethics.

        • frymaster says:

          RPS’s hiring policies are a scandal. They need to pay more attention to what part of the country their journalists come from. We need more Essex in videogame journalism.

          • Noumenon says:

            Can’t you Essex people be happy that you got your own column, Ess.exe?

    • pailhoarse says:

      The door is that way.

      • LordCrash says:

        I guess you can’t take the criticism…

        • mediocremind says:

          This is criticism the way that conspiracy-theorists rants about 9/11 on every post even vaguely mentioning the US government are political commentary.

          When you’re capable of making a point beyond subjective declarations (seriously, in what way is this game badly ported? It’s one of the least complained about games – in terms of functionality – of it’s size/scope in years, and regardless of whether or not it’s ported it functions demonstrably better on PC than consoles. All of which is hard for me to admit of a game published by EA) without reaching for outright absurd hyperbole, perhaps you’ll get more engagement than directions to the exit.

          • LordCrash says:

            Look up my posts below or just read some actual PC review (I recommend the IncGamers one…). Or read some metacritic comments for the PC version. It’s not like the overall criticism and especially the criticism of the PC version is a “big secret” only available to conspiracy theorists…

            And sure, I’m conspiracy theorist. I played that game for more than 80 hours and I’ve played pretty much every half decent PC RPG of the past 15 years extensively so I know pretty well what I’m speaking about (and I just use this argument of authority to counter your conspiracy theorist accusation…)

        • RARARA says:

          You dramatically just said you are moving on to another site. Pailhorse is just showing you the way.

        • pailhoarse says:

          Several of your other comments are critical; I don’t have a problem with them, or the criticism contained therein. I had a problem with the assumptive and whiny tone of this comment.

          • LordCrash says:

            It was actually exclusively addressed at RPS and not so much at the commenters here (or fans of the game). I thought they know (or should know) the weaknesses of the game and its PC version pretty well as professional critics so I also thought that listing all the flaws would be redundant here. I wouldn’t call it whiney though, it’s just that I care about RPGs and PC gaming in general.

            But then again I’m enmeshed myself in comment wars which I shouldn’t do. I should have known it better…. ;)

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Goodness sake. When RPS makes an advent calendar, people assume that the game’s placement on it is equivalent to its placement on a list despite The Hivemind clearly writing that all of the games are equal except the game they write about on December the 24th. Now that they made their list similar, except they added some nonsense title like Bestest Best WHAT after they decided the overall list of games, people complain that a game doesn’t deserve the title. You can bet if they gave DAI something like Bestest Best Nipples on a Qunari, no one would complain.

      • LordCrash says:

        True but as a professional site dedicated to PC gaming I expected more from them. At least on PC DAI doesn’t deserve any award, simple.

        It’s quite characteristic that they didn’t mention the actual gameplay with even one word. It’s just about story and decisions and stuff. Maybe Bioware should make Telltale-style adventure games in the future which are all about that because what you actually do most of the time in the game is just boring and even tedious on PC. And the issue doesn’t get any better if you compare the game to its own predecessors, especially Origins…

        • Fomorian1988 says:

          You do realise that RPS is proudly subjective and like, what they like? They can at the same time enjoy the mechanics of, say Shadow of Mordor or Divinity: Original Sin, while at the same time enjoy the enjoyable fluff that is Dragon Age: Inquisition?

          And, for the record – I thought Origins was okay. The RPG mechanics were fine, but the overdereliance on combat (which is always my least favorite part of any RPG) and the frankly ugly color scheme (not graphics – I understand that the game was being made for years and the textures thay had were pretty old by the time it was released. I can live with those textures. I could not, however, with the tiring color scheme) made me quit – expecially since I felt the characters weren’t as interesting as Bioware usually makes them, and the overall plot was pretty standard “Evil wants to destroy the world, chosen one defeats it” (and yes, I’m aware DAI has that same plot – it’s the delivery that matters, and I don’t think much of Origins’ delivery).

          • LordCrash says:

            Again, my criticism is not about whether they personally like the game or not. It’s totally fine to like the game, even on PC.

            It’s about whether it’s a good signal to give the game a GOTY award for best RPG on a site dedicated to PC gaming given the fact that almost every PC-specific design decision or feature of the previous games of this franchise was erased and replaced by a solution that primarily works for controllers and consoles – without any adaptation for M/K or people who liked Origins (and even DA2) in general on PC for how it played. If you ask me it’s the absolutely wrong signal to indicate Bioware that PC gamers are ok with that kind of misleading marketing in advance and in general how their platform of choice was treated in respect to the history and hertiage of the the franchise and its fans on PC.

          • Emeraude says:

            You know, as a very old school PC player myself, I had always assumed the major specificity of the platform was the fact that it gives the end user means to play the game on his/her terms, as long as s/he is willing to extend the patience and time to make it work the way s/he wants it to work.

            Not slavish devotion to some particular input method available to the platform.

          • LordCrash says:

            @Emeraude

            Indeed. But this game doesn’t honor freedom and flexibility on PC. Instead it kind of indirectly forces you to use a controller on PC due to its bad K/M controls. That’s exactly not how PC gaming should work. Someone at EA/Bioware decided that a proper adaption based on the strengths of the previous games isn’t worth the effort for PC and I don’t see why I should cherish and applaud them for that. They crippled the Dragon Age franchise for every PC gamer who loves playing with K/M and there is really no way to deny that, sorry.

            I never said that the PC version shouldn’t offer a controller option if available. I just demand well done K/M solution, especially when we talk about a game whose direct predecessors offered much better controls with that kind of input method. And especially when we talk about a genre in which well done K/M controls are pretty much a standard feature. It’s not some “exotic new game with never seen features”. The problem is that Bioware took away PC or M/K specific features from the past games without telling PC gamers and without “compensating” them. They were just cut because money or lazyness. I will never support that and I indeed think that this is an anti-PC stance that shouldn’t be supported by PC gamers no matter if you could personally live with controller gameplay or not.

          • molamolacolacake says:

            Wait, what’s wrong with the keyboard and mouse controls? I keep hearing people say that the game was clearly designed for controller, but I’m 10 hours in and keyboard anf mouse had been just fine. I usually use a controller for this sorts of games, but on DAI I hated it and went back to KB/M. My only complaint is the camera can be wonky but it’s totally workable.

        • iainl says:

          That would be so cool. Because as with just about every RPG out there, I resent the combat getting in the way of my wandering around, talking to people and admiring the scenery while a story unfolds.

          As for the “EA must be punished because a game plays well on a controller”, if you don’t have a 360 pad you are Doing Games Wrong. That’s almost as crazy as being upset that driving sims don’t work well on a mouse.

    • Fluka says:

      Ugh. This is the kind of histrionic post which is slowly driving me away from the PC gaming community. So much angst and pearl-clutching over what a REAL PC GURM is.

      • LordCrash says:

        A game which is designed for console play and poorly ported to PC is definitely not a PC game like it should be and like PC gamers deserve to get for their money, sorry.

        And a PC gaming community with less casual console players is indeed something I would welcome.

        • Fluka says:

          Played it on PC. Tac cam is undoubtedly wonky compared to the first two, so I mostly played in real time in the end, and found that it was quite a bit of fun and seemed quite natural in that mode. The game looks absolutely stunning on a PC and has lots of graphical and other customization options. The KB+M controls work and feel a lot better than, say, Dark Souls, and I don’t think anyone would say we shouldn’t cover THAT game on this site. So beyond the fact that it doesn’t play identically to DA:O and works nicely using a controller, calling it a “bad port” seems like a MASSIVE exaggeration. (I’ve also seen the “8 skills only” thing as an argument that it’s a bad PC port, but given that the DA console games previously allowed you access to your full set of skills, it’s fairly obviously a gameplay design decision rather than a port issue.)

          • LordCrash says:

            You’re right. The game designed 100% for console with PC being a complete afterthought. That’s actually the core problem. DA Origins or even games like Diablo 3 proved that this can be made a lot better and they also showed that a good developer who cares about the platform he releases games on can use those platforms to their fullest potential. Controllers and mouse/keyboard are not the same. Bioware just sacrificied almost everything that was great in terms of gameplay in Origins for making it a 100% console game, no matter if you play it on console or on PC.

            And then stuff like non-bindable mouse buttons, no free mouse look and the lackluster PC UI are indeed responsible for a bad PC port, even beyond being a game fully designed for console on every platform.

          • amateurviking says:

            You seem to be conflating ‘games played with a controller’ and ‘console games’.

            Which is weird given that the beauty of PC is it lets you use all sorts of input types. Whatever you like! (which I gather is not DA:I).

          • Fluka says:

            And again, this comes down to a matter of personal taste. They didn’t make Origins again – they made Dragon Age: Inquisition. I adore both, but I accept that they’re different games. My own subjective opinion is that I was perfectly happy playing this game with KB+M, and never felt compelled to grab a controller (unlike certain other games – I’ve played on PC all my life, and have a strong preference for KB+M). The UI was perfectly fine for me as well. No dealbreakers, though I know others are much more sensitive about these things. Have you actually played the game for yourself?

            RPS’ end of year list is not just a report card of “How well it played on a keyboard”, though. For me and others, the visual design, character writing, lore, and exploration are a huge part of what makes this game so enjoyable. You’re free to disagree, naturally, but saying that the game’s fans are somehow betrayers of the Grand PC Cause or that they are (gasp!) casuals is a very fast route to looking like a bit of a silly person.

          • LordCrash says:

            @amateurviking
            Indeed I do, because it’s the same here.

            There is just no reason to force people to use a controller in a game like DAI on PC. If that’s the case the developer was just lazy and he should be called out for that and not praised.

            I never said that you should be forced to play with M/K on PC. If you like controller play feel free to use a gamepad. But M/K is still the primary input device on PC so I expect a perfect adaption of the game for that input option, especially given the fact that both predecessors already offered that, especially Origins.

            Everything else is like saying that it’s ok to develop a racing game on PC that only works well with a steering wheel but not with a normal console controller. Nobody would accept that. But I guess PC gamers should just accept that their primary input device isn’t really supported or that the dev hasn’t really put much effort into its best implementation. Yeah, sure…

          • Deano2099 says:

            Err, that’s exactly what most of the super nerdy racing sims do. They have keyboard/mouse or controller support, but they’re an afterthought, with about as much effort put in as the Inquisition mouse/keyboard support. Arguably less. They’re designed ground up for wheels and pedals.

            Inquisition is still a good game, and that’s what this list is. A list of the best games. On PC. It’s not a list of the best PC ports, or the games that best highlight the brilliance of the PC platform (though Inqusition may be one of the best looking games ever, and it only looks that good on PC). Those lists would be different. This is best games. End of. I am certain not one iota of consideration has been give to platform politics. As you observed, if you want that, you will need another site.

          • GiantPotato says:

            That’s also how hard-core PC space sims were. When they announced that Freelancer was optimized for a mouse instead of a Joystick, everyone got indignant and announced that it was dumbed-down and not a real PC game.

        • Traipse says:

          Because, as we all know, there is an irreconcilable dichotomy between “casual gamers” and “real gamers”. Clearly there is only one right way to enjoy games.

          It’s cool that you didn’t like the game — whatever floats your boat — but dang, you seem pretty invested in this issue. Nothing wrong with people having different tastes.

          • LordCrash says:

            I don’t care about casuals. I do think they have every right to enjoy games made for them.

            But I don’t like it when casual games are marketed as hardcore games and I hate it when former hardcore game series are abused for casual gameplay.

          • drinniol says:

            Ohhh you hard-CORE dawg!

            Get over yourself. Sheesh. All your valid criticism just went ‘pffft’ with this dumb-arse comment.

          • iainl says:

            Nothing is more casual that not having a reasonable number of controller options to hand, darling.

            Which is why I’m casual myself; I may have a few 360 pads, a wheel, two arcade sticks and a fishing rod to hand, but I’ve not replaced my flight stick since the last one didn’t work with Windows 8.

        • trollomat says:

          You’re definitely using the word “definitely” and it’s equivalents too often to be taken seriously. Sorry.

    • Stijn says:

      “SP MMO”? Is that a thing?

      • skyturnedred says:

        DAI plays pretty much just like an MMO. Only alone.

        • crazyd says:

          Yeah, controls are straight out of a MMO, and quests are the same generic cut and paste shit you see in them. “Collect X Ox Hides!” “Find X shards!”

          It really does feel like playing a MMORPG solo. I really don’t understand the love this game gets at all.

          • lumenadducere says:

            Because that’s not all the game has to offer? Yes, there are a lot of “collect x of y” quests. There’s also a bunch of other quests, and some good bits o’ writing, and some enjoyable stories and characters and dungeons. And good-looking maps that are fun to explore and find secrets, dungeons, etc. And it provides enough of all of that stuff so that you can actually pick and choose what you do. Don’t want to do the collection stuff? Then don’t – solve some puzzles or explore and delve into a hidden dungeon and get xp that way. There are enough alternate ways and areas to get xp that you can actually pick and choose, if you can get past the completionist mindset. And to fans of the series, it drops some fantastic lore bits as well that expands upon the setting in interesting ways.

            Saying you don’t get why people like the game because it happens to have collection quests is like saying you don’t get why people like Half-Life because it’s just another gun game (not saying DA:I is as good as HL, just using it as an example). I mean…yes, in part. But there’s more to it, and simplifying it down to that is kind of missing the forest for the trees.

          • dahauns says:

            @lumen
            Yes, the game has a lot to offer, a HUGE lot. But I have to agree with the others – much of it feels far too shallow. Quantity over quality. Ok, fine, but a bit baffling to consider it as GOTY.
            Oh well, since Elder Scrolls earns continuous praise I’ve come to terms with the fact that that’s what people want, apparently…

      • amateurviking says:

        As it’s not ‘M’, ‘M’ or indeed ‘O’ I guess we can just left with ‘Game’.

        • LordCrash says:

          I guess that’s why it got the RPG award, because it’s just a “game”…

          /facepalm

          • amateurviking says:

            A game full of role playing. Lovely lovely role playing!

          • Emeraude says:

            @ amateurviking:

            I can’t much speak about DA:I, because I haven’t played it (intellectual honesty and all that jazz) but going by the latest Bioware output,and what I’ve seen of it first hand, we have severely regressed on that front. This is very poor game as far as playing a role is concerned. By the very admittance of the RPS crowd: “comfort food”.

            And, I think here’s one issue: RPS, rightly or wrongly, is considered as a bastion of PC gaming of sort. This game getting the best RPG of 2014 from it is going to be used in publicity to sell the game, and here is the message to the zeitgeist: this is a good – the best – RPG on offer on the platform this year from a PC player’s point of view.

            And given the choice of releases this year, that’s kinda disheartening I guess, if you’re really invested in that debate. The best RPG of the platform is the lowest common denominator one for the people you, for some reason hoped/thought represented you.

            Not that it matters much to me ([mis]quoth a talking tree “I’m on no one’s side because no one is on mine”) but I can see how that can be hard to stomach for some.

          • chargen says:

            I roleplayed an errandboy who does endless menial tasks, suffers through painfully bad dialogue, and nods off during dull actionRPG combat, RPGGOTY.

            There were 3 or 4 RPG better than this in 2014, which was the best year for RPGs in a decade.

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        I think that’s Kingdom of Loathing’s genre.

    • RARARA says:

      “That decision is a slap in the face of everyone who really values PC gaming.”

      Yes, unlike the rest of us unslapped PC gamers, who are apparently just posers, I guess?

      • LordCrash says:

        You can still like the game and just accept its shortcoming in terms of using the potential of the platform. That doesn’t mean a professional site should let that unnoticed and uncommented.

        What’s the signal if PC gaming sites give awards for DAI? It just signals that the PC gamers are fine with bad controls, almost no adaption on PC at all and games of former PC-centric franchises that are now fully designed for console play and that Bioware (and other companies) are welcomed to develop future games exactly in the same way without much effort or care put into the PC version.

        Is that what PC gamers really want? Sorry, but I don’t think so. No matter how much we personally like or dislike the game itself we should all stand up for such practices of letting the PC version being a pure afterthought. It wouldn’t be that BAD if Inquisition was a completely new game in a new franchise. But we know its heritage. We know that the PC version of Origins at least was a LOT better in both execution and game design.

        Again, have a look at Diablo 3 if you want to know how to make a PC and console version of the same game without sacrificing its heritage and already implemented features on platforms. And now imagine if PC gamers had to play Diablo 3 with the console UI and gameplay…

        • Deano2099 says:

          I’d agree RPS are giving out the message that it’s fine to have PC games that pretty much need a controller to play anywhere near at their best. I’m also fairly sure based on past comments that they are 100% okay with doing that.

        • RARARA says:

          It’s funny how you keep bringing up Diablo 3, considering the console version is the one with offline capability, and thus some might argue it was PC gamers who got shafted there…

          • Emeraude says:

            Yeah was thinking that too, but given his post history, I don’t think LordCrash really has an issue with always online.

          • LordCrash says:

            I was actually pretty upset about that decision (and I strongly oppose always-online DRM in general). And I don’t like Diablo 3 that much in general neither.

            I only use Diablo 3 as a good example of how you can adapt gameplay and how a game plays to the specific requirements or potentials of each platform and each input device. The always-online decision for PC has nothing to do with that.

            You could also take DA Origins which played quite differently on PC with M/K and on console with a controller. Bioware just sacrificied that for Inquisition for no apparent reason. They cut PC specific features from the previous games and no matter how you put that, I can’t see the benefit for PC gamers here…

    • Nova says:

      He’s not entirely wrong. The mouse/keyboard controls are awful and this is still a PC-only site. The whole control scheme is designed with the consoles in mind. Only 8 slots on the hotbar, even though you get way more skills later on. No clicking -> char moves and takes object. The whole keep button pressed to attack. The topdown view can’t really be used to navigate because you can’t tilt the camera. But the tactical view is buggy in general no matter the input device.

      • amateurviking says:

        There is a difference between ‘the whole control scheme is designed with a console in mind’ and ‘the whole control scheme is designed with a gamepad in mind’.

        The thing is clearly best on PC, but plays better with a controller than M+KB. Which is OK.

        It’s gonna be OK.

        • LordCrash says:

          No, it’s not. Mouse and keyboard and the primary input methods on PC and a there is no excuse that a game like DAI works better on controller on PC. The real reason for that is that Bioware is lazy and that they don’t really care about that.

          Take a look at Diablo 3 and the differences on PC and consoles there. Gameplay and UI and stuff is really customized and developed for each platform to use its full potential. So it can be made the proper way to respect the platforms and its gamers – if you just want to. And Bioware either couldn’t or didn’t want to do so. So I don’t see any reason why I should applaud them for making a former PC franchise a full console game without any respect or customization for the PC fan and gamer (and please don’t come up with the combat UI on PC, it’s hardly better than the console one)…

          • Deano2099 says:

            If by ‘lazy’ you mean ‘a costs benefits analysis of including an entirely bespoke control system for mouse and keyboard revealed that versus the vast majority of PC players own a gampad and will play with if the game works better that way, and not really care’ then yes, they are a lazy, lazy Bioware.

          • Kempston Wiggler says:

            Oh wind your neck in, would you, LordCrash? You’ve said you’re sodding off to IncGamers, whatever that is, and yet here you STILL are defending PC Gaming like a bear with toothache.

            Newsflash. PC Gamers are allowed to have a multitude of opinions about the games on PC, and this kind of “it’s not a PC game” rubbish does nothing but rubs peoples back up the wrong way. I’M a PC gamer and while I do play many games with Mouse + KB I play EQUALLY as many with my gamepad because I’m not some kind of M+KB fetishist who feels that peripherals designed for other computers are some kind of hideous heresy. If you look at today’s Outcast newspost you’ll find me there praising that fact that gamepad support has revolutionised the 57th Best PC game out there!

            Further, an RPG not being the same anally-retentive mouse UI as you apparently used to enjoy back in the glory days is NOT some kind of apocalyptic omen: it’s a perfectly valid stylistic choice based on the way I’d wager a sizable MAJORITY of gamers like to play their games – on the couch, in front of a big TV, gamepad in hand.

          • LordCrash says:

            @Deano2099
            You have no proof for that assumption. Given the amount of negative feedback about the PC version and M/K on both metacritic and the Bioware forums I would say that there are still a lot of people who care about good M/K controls.

            But of course it’s a decision EA/Bioware willingly came to. It’s not like we should praise them for that decision. We as PC gamers should call them out for it. If you don’t care whether to play a game on gameplad or M/K, good for you. But is it too much to ask for a little bit of support for your platform companions who do enjoy their M/K gameplay and who don’t like gameplad play? And it definitely wouldn’t be that bad if there weren’t any previous games of the same franchise that offered a FAR better experience on these primary input devices on PC…

        • Lamb Chop says:

          The problem is that they advertise the tactical combat, but it’s really still action combat. Which is fine, both are viable game types, but I personally enjoyed the ability to play Dragon Age Origins as a real-time pause Baldur’s Gate style combat by turning AI off and manually controlling every action of every character. The camera controls and tuning of the game make that much less optimal as a style of play to straight action, which I find less enjoyable.

          Lords is wrapping this up in a needless superiority complex, but it’s a reasonable criticism of the game: it doesn’t particularly cater to a play style that was what many people enjoyed about the Bioware legacy and even the Dragon Age legacy. I want to micromanage the crap out of everybody and pause every three seconds to do so and in this control scheme that feels clunky enough that it’s not worth it. Easier to tune down the difficulty a bit and play it as an action game with a bunch of sidekicks.

          Still a great game that definitely deserves to be on the list, but it feels like a missed opportunity that could’ve been fixed with some additional UI/UX and control work.

        • Nova says:

          Yes there is a difference, That’s why I said it. There is much more of an action focus instead of the previous tactical approach. The buggy tactical view was clearly just an afterthought. It wants to be God of War, but can’t because it also wants to be a cRPG.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        The 8 skill bar is a deliberate design decision more than lazy UI design. It’s to force you to pick and choose what skills to bring into combat like Diablo 3.

        Agreed that the overall mouse and keyboard controls suck though.

        • LordCrash says:

          That makes little sense because when AI controlled your companions can use all their abilities and they are not limited to 8. They are only limited if you control them directly which makes absolutely no sense.

          So either you have the full range of abilities but you’re limited by the rather lackluster overall AI programming or you’re limited to 8 abilities but can use that to their fullest potential. That’s not strategy or tacitcs, that’s like crippling your own game on purpose…

        • Nova says:

          Yeah, I read that explanation. It’s as silly as the design decision. D3 and DA:I aren’t really comparable in that regard. Also who does this in D3 except maybe before big boss fights or in hardcore mode?
          You often need all of the skills at your disposal in Inquisition, and it definitely makes sense to use them (long cooldowns, different kinds of enemies in the groups you encounter). It’s much more fiddly to change skills. You’re supposed to do that for the whole party and then switch it back? In D3 you don’t put points in skills, you just get them at a certain level. Etc.

        • Jimbo says:

          It’s a deliberate design choice in so much as it was deliberately designed for a console controller and they only had room for 8 abilities.

          It’s not a strategic choice thing. Your AI companions can use as many abilities as they have unlocked, as long as they’re enabled on the tactics menu. They’ll use them badly of course, due to the removal of the gambit (if/then) system, but that’s by the by. The 8 ability limit for the player controlled character is purely a gamepad limitation.

      • chargen says:

        Woah woah woah, here. Someone expressed indignation and dissent. You’re supposed to dogpile and dismiss them, not offer constructive support on the points that were valid. Please check the address bar so you understand what site you’re on, thank you.

    • Shookster says:

      Keep in mind that this was just one of the 24 best games of the year. “The categories were chosen after the games, so we could work out which games we wanted to celebrate before we decided exactly how to celebrate them.”

      They weren’t necessarily interested in game design or how PC gamey something was, but whether they as a team thought it was one of the bestest best games of the year that was released on PC in The Year of Our Lord, 2014.

      You’re welcome to not continue reading the site of course, but I don’t know that I would call two brief write-ups by writing staff something worth leaving a site over. But that’s just me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Godwhacker says:

      please consider next time what PC gaming is actually all about and make some actual research about good game design before you give awards to games like that…

      Will it be admissible if they release a patch that lets you play with an Oculus Rift and a flight stick?

    • psepho says:

      What a disgusting and unmitigated display of arrogance. How dare you presume to tell us what is and isn’t a “slap in the face for all PC gamers”.

      I have been playing games on PC for decades as have many others here. Others may have only started playing recently. Either way, it’s not for you or anyone else to declare what constitutes PC gaming or speak for the PC Gaming community.

      Many people who play games on PC seem to have liked DAI a lot — including both Adam and Alec. It’s not your business to tell them what should and shouldn’t go in their list, whatever your thoughts on the game itself.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I remember back in the day when the consoles had all the cool games (early ’90s) and we prayed* that somehow we’d get a port of Sonic or Mario. Kids today etc.

        * when we weren’t walking up-hill in the snow both ways natch.

    • Sandepande says:

      It’s an effing lovely single-player MMO. Perfect entertainment, like a good action-adventure flick. Why should PC be deprived of such things? I lack understanding.

      • LordCrash says:

        Indeed you did. You obviously lack both understanding of good game design and of basic standards on PC (like e.g. control standards).

        • Cockie says:

          “You have a different opinion than mine therefore you are dumb”

          • Shakes999 says:

            Why are you people (General statement, not just adressing you) still arguing with this idiot. He’d be gone by now if you quit replying.

          • LordCrash says:

            At least I don’t insult other people like you do…

          • Cockie says:

            wat
            You literally just said someone lacked understanding of good game design because they said they enjoyed this game
            wat

          • LordCrash says:

            Lacking understanding and being dumb are two entirely different things.

            Being dumb means that you aren’t physically or mentally able to understand things. Lacking understanding just means that you don’t know much about something, maybe because you haven’t devoted yourself to finding out more about the subject yet.

            Just because somebody plays video games for example doesn’t mean that this very person has necessarily a deep understanding of video game design. Not every gamer is a good game designer.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Ah, so you didn’t say they were dumb, you merely implied that they were both stubborn and wilfully dumb!

            Splitting semantical hairs so you can still say you’re not insulting other people when you clearly are is very fun!

          • LordCrash says:

            @AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER

            Your attempt of ascribing something to my statements is even funnier… ;)

            But your attempt is missing logic I fear because being stubborn or willingly dumb is also not the same thing as lacking knowledge. The latter was addressed in my latest post and the former is kind of obvious. Stubborn means that you don’t want to learn or know something and instead willingly keep your opinions despite better knowledge. Lacking knowledge is just a descriptive term though. It doesn’t imply any motivation of the lack of knowledge without further context. Maybe you were just not interested in the topic so far? Or maybe you didn’t have the time to learn more about the topic? Many interpretations are possible. Ascribing the worst interpretation to my statement is just a logical fallacy or a bad attempt of disparaging me, sorry.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Ascribing meaning to something that is said is what communication is. We like to think that we can send our meaning perfectly all the time, but that’s obviously not true; we depend on a series of conventions (starting at the basest ones of the English language and the alphabet) so that we understand each other. For instance, I didn’t say that I was making a joke, but from the way I phrased my sentence you (correctly) ascribed that I was being sarcastic. Presently, I ascribe from the way you phrase your sentences that you did imply that about people and you are performing incredible feats of doublethink to still think of yourself as the calm voice of reason while insulting people left of right. I mantain that this is the resulting interpretation of your posts regardless of what intent you claim, and also mantain that you essentially describing the act of communication is funny is really funny. I also mantain that you smell like gym socks but cannot provide sufficient evidence at this time.

      • katinkabot says:

        LordCrash is telling you your enjoyment of the game is meaningless. You didn’t have fun because it would be impossible. Acknowledge his/her opinion as accurate and be miserable.

        • LordCrash says:

          Wrong. I’ve already stated multiple times that you can have all the fun of the world with the game. That’s absolutely not the point.

          The point is whether the game deserves a GOTY award on a site dedicated to PC gaming. As a professional site you should be more critical and review games on more levels than the usual customer. Giving a GOTY for DAI on this site indicates that the game is great on PC and that Bioware should continue making games of exactly the same kind which would be quite sad given the fact how little effort they’ve put in the PC version, especially given the history of the franchise, the misleading marketing as “tactical CRPG” and the PC focus and dedication of previous Bioware games.

          You can have fun with the game, that’s up to the individual. But this isn’t a popularity contest, is it? It’s (or should be?) a critical reflection of a professional gaming site. If Bioware wants to do SP console MMOs, so be it. Then market them exactly that way and just skp the PC. Or invest at least the most basic effort to enable basic control standards on PC. And don’t just cut almost every PC-specific feature or design decision of your previous games of the same franchise while telling the players that you want to “bring back the Origins experience”…

          • Deano2099 says:

            It’s not a critical reflection. It’s a list of games wot are the most fun. If you don’t like the criteria then that’s fine, but I for I one am glad to have a list purely motivated by what’s most fun to play and without platform politics bullshit you seem to want them to include.

          • LordCrash says:

            @Deano2099

            Platform politics? Having a decent PC version of a game is a basic requirement for having fun with a game or at least of being able to fully enjoy it and using its potential on this very platform. You can enjoy DAI despite its design and despite its PC port but that doesn’t make its shortcomings as a PC game “political”.

            And actually a lot of PC gamers care a lot about the PC versions of multiplatform games and of games in general. Maybe you should visit some PC gaming sites that are not RPS to get the full picture of wishes and needs of the PC gaming community… ;)

            If you only want to know whether a game is fun or not without any platform information included you could always visit general multiplatform gaming sites instead like IGN or Gamespot or GameInformer. What’s the point of visiting a dedicated PC gaming site if you don’t really care about the platform? Sorry, but I don’t get it…

          • iainl says:

            “Platform politics? Having a decent PC version of a game is a basic requirement for having fun with a game”

            Yeah, you’re the one who’s going to have to tell all the Dark Souls fans they’re dumb for mistakenly thinking they like that game. No way in hell I’m going near that one; they’re SCARY.

            Bad versions of good games can be more fun than good versions of bad games. This is RPS, not Digital Foundry.

          • Deano2099 says:

            I visit the site because I have a PC and not a Xbone or PS4. And because dim mostly into weird indie stuff that primarily appears on PC. But no, you’re right, I don’t care about the PC as a platform for any reason beyond: “if it’s on PC it means I can play it”. If that means we get console equivalent experiences on PC then good, means I can put off buying a new console to play certain things for a while longer.

            A PC is just a tool, I’m not in some sort of relationship with it.

    • Distec says:

      What is the deal with people complaining about “MMO gameplay” in RPGs these days, as if previous RPGs throughout history were somehow so markedly different and unique compared to today’s offerings?

      It’s bullshit, through and through. I can only think this is due to the prevalent popularity of games like WoW, which has completely skewed the language used in RPG discourse and has turned into an object that every game is compared against. So for the past few years I’ve been seeing a steady increase of these pearls of wisdom coming forward. Apparently if you have an action bar, that’s “MMO”. If you have spells and abilities that utilize cooldowns, that’s “MMO”. If you go out and complete quests for XP, loot, items, and so forth, that is so totally “MMO”.

      Jesus Christ, where’s Christmas already. Maybe your argument is something else, but I’m being an effin’ Grinch.

      • Emeraude says:

        I do think the general “streamlining” – for lack of a better term – of the MMORPG sub-genre has infected the more traditional single player offline games. For better or worse, depending on where you stand. Hell, for better *and* worse.

        That’s not a perfectly gratuitous complaint. Though I do believe it’s more an issue of the designing and development ethos having changed quite a bit more than anything.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        I’d always thought that it was a comment about the blatant repetition MMOs offer. Collect 20 rat legs, and so on. Oh, wait, I need 50 more now. That type of thing?

      • LordCrash says:

        There are specific features which are typcial for MMOs (at least for most) since WoW:

        – button mashing combat (which neither involves any actual skill nor deep or complex tactics)
        – instant or at least very fast rewarding
        – extensive crafting and item collecting
        – a tone of fetch quests and collection hunting and stuff like that
        – zones/regiones that work mostly on their own without a big narrative/plot connection
        – enemy (re)placing just to level up without any meaningful integration into the narrative (grinding)

        If you think that’s good gameplay or game design for a SP game is up to you but most people would probably deny that. Such gameplay is often specifically made for a “social experience” in which you compare yourself with other players and define yourself by the time and dedication you’ve put in the game. It’s not so much about the narrative or the gameplay itself, it’s more about how you stand in the game compared to other players. In a purely SP RPG without any social interaction (apart from achievements perhaps) that’s usually not the feature. Usually SP RPGs are either mostly about gameplay or about the plot/story/world or about both.

        DAI wants to be a kind of jack-of-all-trades and fail at it imo. It’s a game in which the sum isn’t bigger than its part, quite the opposite. It’s a highly inconsistent experience without a clear identity or vision. It’s a bit tactical CRPG (only a very tiny portion), a bit action SP RPG, much MMO and the typcial Bioware character interaction. It seems like Bioware copied a lot of feature of their previous games together without having an overall consistent vision for the game, more like “let’s put everything in we’ve ever done before and then let’s see what we get”…

      • Raiyne says:

        Actually, it’s more of the overall structure of quests and ‘to-do list’ objectives that make it seem like an MMO. The MMO gripe is usually not the combat gameplay itself, but the treadmill nature of the game’s main content.

    • farrier says:

      The Bestest Best Indignation of 2014: LordCrash

      Though some would argue it’s just a poor port of a typical comment about purportedly poor ports from poor sports, I love his work here. Starts strongly with some quick, compact condemnations: “That’s ridiculous and sad” followed by three quick, confident commands to the staff of PC gamers at RPS.

      Efficiently ascends to the high ground with his opinion, which some might call obnoxious at best, but it’s the way he sticks by it so earnestly that I find winning.

      LordCrash then offers a quick carrot of magnanimity (“You can of course still like it”) before following with the brutal stick, laying bare the professional integrity of RPS in a question he answers; fine rhetoric.

      It concludes with a fantastic if abrupt update as to the current state of RPS’s credibility (“lost a lot of [it]”) and a lament to what this reviewer surmises was what LordCrash believed to be a Golden Age of PC gaming criticism.

      Agree with his opinion or no, the umbrage exhibited here is second to none, its execution nigh flawless. The resentment is strong with this one. This reviewer for one can’t wait to see what LordCrash delivers in the future!

      8.5/10

      • vecordae says:

        Jim Sterling once commented to the effect that he receives far less vitriol for panning a game than he does for praising the “wrong” one. It seems that praising a game from a public platform of any kind will somehow deprive someone else’s favored game of some deserved amount of praise.

        It’s rather puzzling that, given the whole host of gamers, PC or otherwise, that some small subset of them will treat praise as a valuable and terribly limited commodity. Why would anyone waste energy raging at the lack of objectivity inherent in any list of games a person or group of people happened to quite like? Why would they conflate their subjective experience with objective fact?

        I have no idea. It seems an inescapable part of enthusiast culture.

        • LordCrash says:

          Well, I could ask a very similar question: why do someone who likes a game invest so much time defending it on the internet? Why not just staying relaxed and ignoring any critique? Or why not just playing the game instead?

          It’s actually quite normal that people who dislike something complain. That’s not a game specific phenomenon.

          People talk about things they care, I don’t see why that should be bad though. I’ve bought that game, played it and give feedback, although it’s quite negative. And it’s kind of obvious that a lot of people feel called upon to defend themselves, Bioware or RPS for whatever reason. Lacking self-confidence could be an explanation and so could be that they just care as much about games than I do. So what? I’m not worse than you people, I just seem to disagree. Do I have a strong opinion? Hell yes. So do many of you guys. The world continues to turn I guess…

          Just keep it civil and don’t make that personal. I don’t attack you people or your taste. Actually I don’t care if you like the game. If you do, good for you. Be happy. But obviously not everybody is so happy with that game and obviously some people are quite disappointed and even annoyed. Deal with it.

          • vecordae says:

            I’m not sure what you’re going on about.

            It’s fine to dislike a game. It’s simply obnoxious to presume that, since one did not like the same game as someone else, that someone else must redefine themselves to suit the first person’s particular perspective.

            I feel no need to defend the hivemind’s love of Dragon Age. I am unbothered that you do not share it. I do not think people object to your dislike of Dragon Age so much as they are irritated by your, let us be diplomatic here, less-than-circumspect way of expressing it.

      • Premium User Badge

        kfix says:

        The Bestest Best parody comment review comment parody…. thing of 2014: farrier.

        Seriously had me chuckling. It was even totally worth reading LordCrash bang on and on and on just so you could write that. I take one hand off my gamepad to salute you.

    • jalf says:

      It’s a game. It is available on PC. It is a PC game which the RPS staff liked and had fun with.

      Given all that, I don’t quite see what the problem is with them calling it out as a good PC game

    • Shakes999 says:

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I think that no game has been developed yet that is perfect. Every game has flaws. It’s the collective whole and subjective opinion that determines how good a game is.

      Despite it’s flaws – most notably for me the Tactical Mode – Dragon Age: Inquisition is still a game on the PC and is just as valid for any selection of RPS’ Best Bestest games as any other. Your opinion of the game and it’s place in this list are also valid but should not under any circumstances be mistaken for fact or worth more as anyone else’s.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I quit taking RPS seriously as a source of PC game reviews a long time ago. Not sure what happened, but they have shit taste in most everything now. They seem to prefer more dumbed-down, casual, type games with stories over genre specific gameplay.

      But what can you do?

      People get old and they have kids and suddenly they just want to play an RPG with Bioware mechanics, or a Tell Tale “Adventure game” with no actual “Adventure game” elements.

      Such is the circle of life, I guess. We all end up with shitty taste in things in the end.

      RPS has just entered its “Dad rock” phase. In a year with so many more exciting RPGs on PC, “DA:I” is basically the Pearl Jam of RPGs. Not exactly awful, but you’ll never like it as much as your dad seems to.

  3. stonetoes says:

    I really liked a lot of Sera’s dialogue and wanted to have her on my team but I just couldn’t stand her voice actor!

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      You and me both. I like her attitude and dialogue, but sadly I really don’t like her voice.

    • Jiskra says:

      Listening to Sera was so annoing i refused to speak with her :P

    • Emeraude says:

      No option to turn the voice off ?

  4. daphne says:

    “There are more bores on the team than I’d like”

    I thought there was exaclty one bore on the team, but then that companion quest happened and that one bore became my favorite fast.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      If it isn’t too spoilery, would you mind telling who that bore is? I personally assume it’s Blackwall.

    • pepperfez says:

      There are also fewer boars on the team than I’d like.

  5. Auldman says:

    It was always going to be between this and Divinity, in this genre, for me. Glad to see one of them won for this category. I pretty much love everything about this game. Even the MMO bits are entirely optional and can be ignored at any time. It’s a massive sandbox so if I want to gather materials for crafting weapons I can do that. Or if I just want to kill bad guys or romance a companion I can do all of that too. Great game!

    • LordCrash says:

      The whole game is designed as an MMO. You cannot really ignore that.

      Each region in this game is basically a typcial MMO zone full of fetch quests, herb and minerals gathering and standard enemies in order to level up without any real connection to the main plot or other zones and mostly without much story or narrative effort on its own. Besides that the whole world is extremely static and unimmersive. It’s not a world that lives around you (on its own), it’s a world that only works with you while you’re there. That’s game design from 2000 from last-last-gen…

      • Premium User Badge

        X_kot says:

        Huh…it’s almost like the review acknowledged that limitation of the game. And that you can ignore any of the side-questy stuff you want so that you can pursue the stuff you like. And that even in spite of the MMOishness, they found compelling reasons to keep playing.

        • LordCrash says:

          If you ignore all the filler content you hardly reach the recommended char levels fo the main story for once. And without doing all the more or less meaningful filler content the game is hardly 30 hours long with still a lot of time needed for just getting from A to B. Doesn’t sound that good anymore I guess… ;)

          • Auldman says:

            Horse-hockey. You’ve not played the game and it really shows. I made a point after lvl 8 of not doing a single req request or shard hunt and I’ve still managed to hit level 20 with one more major story chapter to go. I’ve even encountered people on BioWare’s forums who have completed the entire game i.e. the major plot points without opening all areas or completing all quests (it was still something like over 20 hours of content).

            It has MMO stuff yes. However it’s not like you really have to do all of that stuff to complete the game. I will probably finish the first playthrough soon and I can guarantee you I will not have collected every gem, closed every rift, found every plant etc or seen the inside of every temple or dungeon in the game. But that just leaves other playthroughs. ;)

          • LordCrash says:

            Yeah, sure, I’ve not played the game…or whatever.

            I guess my level 21 party has played itself for the past 80 hours and fulfilled almost every quest on their own and travelled to each region and map of the world on their own…

            If I don’t do the MMO stuff I’ve just invested 60 bucks in 20-30h RPG with mediocre ham-fisted writing. Great…

            You know, it’s not like I dislike the game visually. I enjoy travelling its regions. It’s just that you almost never make something meaningful or impressive or anything worth remembering. It’s kind of pointless to bring up the excuse that you could just skip 80% of the content of a game and still praise it as GOTY… ;)

          • Deano2099 says:

            But if you thought it was that bad, why didn’t you stop after the first 40 hours? I mean, that’s kinda the basis of Adam’s point isn’t it? That despite all the flaws in the game, there is something there. Something kept you going back for 80 hours, you didn’t stop. I mean, that to me is the mark of a phenomenal game, one that even the biggest detractors find themselves going back to, despite slagging it off on the Internet. Because it’s comfort food. You know it’s bad for you, but something in there feels really nice. You’d have stopped a lot sooner of it didn’t.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Deano2099

            Might just be a compulsion of sort though. There’s not a game I own I haven’t finished. Even those I deem bad.

          • LordCrash says:

            @Deano2099

            I already bought the game so why not playing it? It’s not like I could sell it anyway. And I play a ton of games each year, month, weak. There aren’t enough really great games to fill my gaming schedule so I also play the mediocre ones, especially RPGs since they tend to be less simple than other genres. And you can indeed have fun with Dragon Age Inquisition, I never denied that. You can have some fun despite its many design flaws, despite its console/controller focus and its bad PC version. A mediocre game is a game that isn’t really bad, it’s a game that is just seriously flawed. Inquisition is a game that is “ok” most of the time while it’s almost never “great” or “unique” or “oustanding”.

            And yeah, maybe I game too much. But then again, it’s my passion and I’m not ashamed of it. ;)

            It seems that some people have still misunderstood my point. It’s not about me disliking the game (which is only partly true) but about the GOTY award being a bad signal coming from a PC gaming site given the fact that the game is way less PC oriented (or better: none at all) or opttimized (and I don’t talk about graphics here) than even Dragon Age 2…

          • iainl says:

            “If I don’t do the MMO stuff I’ve just invested 60 bucks in 20-30h RPG with mediocre ham-fisted writing. Great…”

            Given that the ~6 hour Mirror’s Edge is one of the games of the decade, as is the 4-hour-long Portal 2, we have very different definitions of value for money.

      • lumenadducere says:

        That’s not entirely accurate. Fallow Mire and Crestwood are both highly story-oriented zones, focusing around a central storyline for the entire map. Exalted Plains does as well, revolving around helping the Orlesians re-take the area from the demons (and hey, fighting through the trenches was fun and different IMO). Emprise Du Lion is the culmination of all of the efforts against the Red Templars, and it’s their final stronghold that you take out after weakening their efforts in the other areas of the game (mostly Emerald Graves). Western Approach is pretty much the equivalent for the Venatori, where you investigate what they’re doing there and stop them on multiple fronts.

        Hell, oftentimes you’re even linked between zones. The Dalish elves in Exalted Plains ask you to find their missing First in Emerald Graves…which leads to the Red Templars in Emerald Graves, which in turn leads to Emprise Du Lion and their final stronghold. It’s a logical series of events and quests, it’s just likely that players get sidetracked finding shards between each step and forget what happens in between.

        In general the maps seemed split 50/50 between ones that are open-ended/sandbox and zones that have a central storyline to follow. But the story requires you read/listen to everything (war table, your scout, your advisors, and the random journal stuff you find) and then remember it after you’ve decided to go and spend an hour gathering materials. You skip any of that stuff and just follow the quest markers, or you forget it after getting sidetracked, then yeah you’re going to miss what’s going on. There’s a case to be made that the story isn’t presented well, but not that it isn’t there. Just because you didn’t follow it or weren’t paying attention, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

    • katinkabot says:

      I bounced off that game so hard. Well…that’s not totally true. I had fun in Divinity when playing with a friend and we were laughing about how ridiculous the game was. That’s what it was good for and we had a lot of fun just trying to break it. We got bored after about 15 hours and gave up. I don’t see us heading back. I also don’t understand why I loved DA:I so much. There is so much missing from the game that I wish was in there. I miss tac-cam. I miss having all my abilities. I miss the healers. I miss Shale. Yet, I still love it. It’s so fluffy and soapy. It’s so easy to fall into and while away the hours. I’m just content running around the world listening to sad elf-egg and Sera argue while closing rifts.

  6. Jiskra says:

    DA:I is definitely bestest best of something and its one of my favorite games this year, but i woudnt call it RPG. More like action adventure meets Telltale games. Its great game regardless.

    • Fluka says:

      I’ve seen this kind of comment before on RPS comments, but I’m curious as to why DA:I does not qualify as an RPG? Are we defining RPG as purely cRPG style stuff now, or turn-based stuff, with a very narrow set of mechanics? It’s as much or more of an RPG as, say, Mass Effect, The Witcher 2, or similar games.

      • Emeraude says:

        Well, to be fair, those games you cite already were deemed problematic with the RPG moniker, so at least the complaints are consistent.

      • 65 says:

        Shh, don’t you know that discussing what does or doesn’t constitute an RPG summons Wizardry?

    • gmillar says:

      If we take RPG to mean a pen and paper style RPG, a la D&D, then there is no such thing as an RPG video game, because a machine cannot act as a game master. The definition of RPG has to be malleable in order for any video game to count.

  7. Drunk Si says:

    I absolutely fell in love with this game, despite the fact that a huge amount of the quests are just busy work there was something about the world that sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. Controls were awful though and if I wanted my Knight Enchanter to use Spirit Blade while in tactical mode he’d spend more time running around rocks apparently looking for just the right place to start attacking than he would actually attacking. In the end I switched to a control pad and I had much more joy just directly controlling my Inquisitor and occasionally issuing commands in tactical to the rest of the party.

    Performance tanks in Redcliffe but on the whole, control issues aside, I think it was an ok port and a bloody good game.

  8. Laurentius says:

    I don’t want to say anything bad about this game but I must say I am disappointed by this choice…I mean comfort food, single player mmo from Bioware is good idea ( I wish they actually did that with SW:TOR, instead typical WoW clone ) but this year, this year has been my favourite cRPG year probably of all time: The Banner Saga, ShawdowReturns:Dragonfall, Divinity:OriginalSin, Wasteland 2 and also Legend of Grimrock ( which I haven’t played yet unfrtunately). Five great PC games, unique, games which haven’t been around in ages and best cRPG of 2014 is console game, full of typical grind map icons stuff ? I just don’t get it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Two of those games have already appeared in our Best Of listings. As I wrote above, I enjoyed Inquisition as much as I did BECAUSE of the ‘typical grind map icons stuff’. I find it such a tedious formula and was delighted that BioWare crammed so much quality into the majority of those icons. Forced me to re-evaluate my pre-emptive dismissal of what they were attempting.

      Divinity: Original Sin, on the other hand, is a game I fell in love with at first sight and will gladly gabble about all day long.

      • Laurentius says:

        Since I don’t have anything against this game I just wonder why it couldn’t had been the other way round ? Best cRPG of 2014 for D:OS or LoG 2 and Best of something or something for DA:I, you could had easily come with category for it. Best cRPG in 2014, man, for me it’s tough pill to swallow.

        • Deano2099 says:

          It could have. The categories were chosen after the games. All games except the ‘best bestest best’ are on level-pegging. They’ve just given names to stuff this year so that people can list the ‘award’ on the box/ steam page.

          • LordCrash says:

            They should have given the “best SP console MMO on PC” GOTY award to Dragon Age Inquisition instead… :P

          • gmillar says:

            Bestest best whiner of 2014.

    • Steve Catens says:

      Without commenting on the chosen selection (although feel free to insert an audible sigh here if you’d like), I will also say that the revised, expanded, standalone version of Shadowrun: Dragonfall Directors Cut is the best new CRPG I’ve played in several years. It’s the real deal, and became an instant classic for me. Great writing, proper full tactical party control, interesting characters, and a brilliant setting. I can only hope it wasn’t in the running because of quibbling over whether it qualifies as a 2014 game or not.

      I’m sure it will be on sale during the Steam sale. If you were unsure about it, I encourage you to pick it up. Harebrained actually really needs the support. EA doesn’t.

      It’s been such a great year for CRPGs.

      • Laurentius says:

        For real. I don’t harp about SR:Dragonfall all day only because I’m already huge fan of cyberpunk setting but this game has it all, bar world interactivity which is minimal. Writing is top notch in my opinion, I absolutly love your character dialouge lines, it’s pretty rarly in games that your character has actually interesting things in to say to others. ie. in Bioware game is hard for me to really care for these things since i see this one liner and god knows what actually my character will say in the end.

        • Steve Catens says:

          My dialogue with an important female character at the end of [Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut] was really one of the loveliest, craziest dialogue trees in an rpg in recent memory. I almost choked up. The mission where you investigate the cyberdoc’s former lab is hilarious and wonderful, and deserves to be in everyone’s memory as a classic rpg moment. The game’s open-ended epilogue is pitch perfect, very noir, very Blade Runner.

          • gnodab says:

            God yes. The “sally” from the “castle” was my gaming moment of the year.

      • Chris D says:

        Now this is how you actually challenge a pick you don’t agree with.

        Clear, concise reasoning that points people towards another game they might enjoy without disparaging people who did like the original game in question and a conclusion that leaves everyone happy and upbeat.

        Watch and learn, kids. Watch and learn.

        (I could actually be more patronising but I’d have to work at it quite a bit.)

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Dragonfall DC might be my favorite non-Black Isle/Obsidian RPG of all time. Dead Man’s Switch was good, but the expandalone is excellent.

      • LordCrash says:

        Indeed. Dragonfall was a great game although I think it could have been even better with a slightly bigger budget. It has some rough and unnecessary edges, even in the DC.

        Well, Harebrained will probably soon start another kickstarter for the sequel so it’s on us to change that… ;)

        • Steve Catens says:

          LordCrash: Dragonfall was a great game although I think it could have been even better with a slightly bigger budget.

          That’s a bit of a truism, no? Is there any game for which that is not the case?

          At no point did I say Dragonfall DC was free of weakness. There is no perfect movie or game. We love them for what they deliver despite any flaws. Dragonfall DC won’t deliver spoken dialogue (which is fine by me–there is no poor or uninspired voice acting in my imagination), fully rendered 3d environments, or the flashiest character models and animations. It wont give you hundreds of hours of content, or layers upon layers of mechanical polish. There will be times when it will be clear the game is straining against the confines of a Kickstarter budget–between the game they wish they could make, and the game they *can* make.

          What it will give you is great writing in every way–an interesting, unconventional story with intriguing characters, good dialogue, complex morality, lots of conversational roleplay options, and a refreshing, immersive setting. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel dirty, you’ll feel loss. It will give you a solid and satisfying tactical combat system with full party control. It will give you replay value in the form of different character builds, party mixes, and conversational options. And as they sometimes say about movies, it may not have the biggest budget, but it puts it all up on the screen. They do the most with what they have. The handpainted backgrounds are colorful, appealing, and reminiscent of classic 90s rpgs. The cyberpunk soundtrack is spot on.

          The reason I keep emphasizing that this is the standalone Directors Cut I’m speaking of, is because the DC adds refined mechanics and some very meaningful content (especially character specific missions that develop backstory and attachment to your party members) to the game. The changes are significant enough that if you’ve only played the original DLC expansion (which RPS reviewed positively), I don’t think you’ve actually played the game I’m speaking of. The expanded content adds significant “tilt” factor. The developers continue to work on it as well.

          The game is inexpensive, and a good value for the cost. Please buy it.

          • LordCrash says:

            I agree. I recommend Dragonfall to every fan of CRPGs. I’ve played the DC a bit to explore the new options but it wasn’t enough to keep me motivated for a full 2nd playthrough. Maybe later when no new game is up my alley… ;)

          • Steve Catens says:

            People who played the original Dragonfall expansion may get varying mileage out of replaying the Directors Cut, but I will say this. When I reflected on my favorite moments in the game, I was shocked to find how many of them were added in the Director’s Cut standalone. I probably would not have written my previous post without them. The “Lockdown” mission where you explore the Cyberdoc’s old lab is great and worth the price of admission by itself, and the teammate based missions add an important degree of emotional investment in those characters.

            Sometimes a good game needs just a little push to make it great. I think the standalone Director’s Cut of Dragonfall is a great RPG, a better game than RPS reviewed, and my personal favorite among a number of refreshing indie rpgs this year.

    • gnodab says:

      I couldn’t agree more.
      Such a great year for RPGs.
      Shawdow Returns:Dragonfall, Divinity:OriginalSin, Wasteland 2, the Spiderweb revival and so much more.
      And all from small companies, Indies and Kickstarters.

      And what wins on RPS? DA, the soulless, AAA, WOW rip off, which has long shed any remains of it’s RPG heritage and now has more similarities to console brawlers than to cRPGs.
      At this point it has become impossible for me to see a difference between the new RPS and any of the old mainstream gaming media sites. RPS used to be special. It was my start up page for years and I would read almost all articles even if I wasn’t particularly interested in the games. I still re-read old articles and am amazed just how good they were. But the talent left or retired and I barely browse the site anymore. Mainly look over the headlines and skim a few articles. I was hoping at least my beloved RPS calendar would reignite my passion for the site. But first the “ironic” VGA redesign left a bad taste in my mouth and now this. I kinda expected it, but I was hoping there was some of the old RPS left over. I told myself the RPG nomination would decide it for me. There were so many amazing games in that genre. DA sadly was neither amazing nor an RPG.

      I know I should stop typing know, but I just want to try and end on a less bitter note. I know all my last post were merely grumping about, but I want to make it clear, that this is only because I have come to expect so much from RPS. And that is only because RPS was the greatest site ever. So thanks for all the years of joy and an amazing backlog, which I will continue to enjoy. Please never take the old articles down.

      Cheers

      • LordCrash says:

        +1

      • Deano2099 says:

        Divinity is on the list. Which means it’s seen as just as good as Inquisition. Don’t assume that best RPG trumps best Kickstarter. Just assume they dedicided there were two/three great RPGs but Grimrock and Divinity happened to have other things they could be called ‘best’ in.

        Or if you must, assume Divinity, as best Kickstarter, has done even better than Inqusition, as the best KS category is for games that are amazing AND didn’t even have traditional publisher funding, so had it even harder. Making it way more important than just ‘best RPG’

      • sneakyflutemusic says:

        What defines an RPG? What excludes Dragon Age Inquisition from that category? Should Divinity have won by virtue of being an indie title? By the way, combat in Divinity is so tedious that it undermines everything positive about the game.

        • LordCrash says:

          Combat is literally the best element of Divinity. I guess you just don’t like turn-based games.

          • sneakyflutemusic says:

            I like turn-based combat just fine. However, the sheer amount of micromanagement required in Divinity turns combat into a chore. I had the same problem with nightmare difficulty in DA:O. It’s not fun, only tedious.

          • Emeraude says:

            @sneakyflutemusic

            As I like to say, one gamer’s tedium is another’s fun.

            Personally, I do agree that combat is probably the most interesting feature of D:OS. If anything, I think it fails almost everywhere else. More or less gracefully depending on which aspects.

            Still, good to see someone tackling that kind of design again.

          • LordCrash says:

            @sneakyflutemusic

            Actually DOS had way less micromanagement in combat than e.g. the old Infinity engine games. Or do you mean that fights are too long? Larian are already working on a patch that should speed up the combat…

            The game imo had tedious bits but not in combat. Micromanagement in the inventory for example was tedious. And then micromanagment is pretty much a standard “feature” of classic turn-based or RTwP games. They are usually a lot more complex than let’s say XCOM EU. You don’t have to like that of course but it’s actually part of the formula niche CRPGs gamers mostly love and expect…

  9. Wizardry says:

    In the year of the revival of the genre, Dragon Age wins the best cRPG title.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      Most people no longer think like us, Wizardry. The cRPG is no longer about playing the role of a character through the medium of character stats, it’s about self-inserting. Bioware have been moving down this route for years, and as much as I barely regard their output as interactive games let alone role playing games, I am afraid that the genre label has now been well and truly appropriated. We will never get it back, and it’s pointless to even try. At least a certain number of proper RPGs are being made again, rather than Bioware and Bethesda shite composing the entirety of the field.

      • pepperfez says:

        The cRPG is no longer about playing the role of a character through the medium of character stats, it’s about self-inserting.
        I don’t think these are mutually exclusive? I mean, certainly a lot of tabletop characters are self-inserts realized through character stats, and similarly in even the crunchiest of cRPGs. It seems like you’re troubled by the decreased importance of stats more than by a different focus in narrative.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          Funnily enough the prevalence of self-insertion bothers me more than the lack of stats, as a phenomenon unto itself. I mean, whilst it’s true that the cRPG as a genre has been historically defined as stats=role (I-am-a-sneak-because-my-sneak-stat-is-high), I don’t object on principle to a game that tries to use flavour mechanics to help bring out the role. I mean, I wouldn’t call Deus Ex or Thief RPGs myself, for self-evident reasons, but I can’t deny that they do approximate both the mechanics and flavour of being an agent and being a thief, respectively.

          Where stuff like Bioware’s recent output bothers me is how playing the role takes a back seat. As we know the prevalence of stats in RPGs has been trimmed to the point of non-existence, so it’s nigh impossible to BEHAVE in a differing way from character to character, on a mechanical level (and no, archer/thief/wizard does not count, that has been become ubiquitous enough to be downright mundane). Since mechanical difference in playstyles are put on the back burner, one has to give the player meaningful choices in order to give the player any agency. My question: WHAT meaningful choices? Sword, bow or staff, pick five of the eight available dreadfully written, in many cases downright offensive cardboard-cutout party members, and job’s a good ‘un.

          So where does self-insertion come in? Well, in my opinion that is the natural conclusion of removal of player agency. The player cannot meaningfully mechanically behave in the way that they might choose for role-playing, and as a result simply has to accept the roller coaster ride that s/he is given whilst imagining themselves personally to be experiencing it. Recent ‘renaissance’ (driven by niche PC kickstarters and totally misunderstood by the AAA developers) aside, I think cRPGs as we used to understand them are not on the decline because people reject stats and complicated character sheets per se, but because they have become conditioned into accepting a rollercoaster requiring only limited player input or commentary in order to be appreciated. Therein, in my view, lies the problem.

          (I could incorporate my well known hatred of Skyrim into this in several places, but have decided against doing this for fear of dragging things into irrelevant places!)

          (PS why is it always you that replies to me, Pepperfez? Nobody else ever seems to want to say hello :( )

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Hi WhatAShamefulDisplay! Festive yuletide to ye!

          • 2helix4u says:

            I finished DA:O, I finished DA:2, I fininshed all 3 mass effects. I bought DA:I on RPS and Polygon’s recommendation and bounced off it so hard.
            There’s too much shit, you also actually can’t skip much of the side questing since you need currency gained from side quests in order to access story missions.
            My character is a Qunari, can I follow the Qun? Nope fuck you. Can I reject the religion of Andraste? No, that would require adding more than a couple lines of dialogue. Oh, your character agrees with NPC shitlord that they aren’t the herald? Well that changes nothing he’s still mad at you because we said so.
            My early experience with the game was grinding Ubisoft style map icons in order to go on a story mission that turned out to be a cutscene with no gameplay set in a city with no city.
            The party AI is much worse, and you can no longer edit it so good luck keeping your friends alive.

            Oh also, something I haven’t seen mentioned so maybe everyone has an SSD but for me the PC loading was intense, actually one of the major factors stopping me playing the game. Hilariously only half the loading screen has lore on it, and its the shorter half, when the loading screen goes black as if its about to load in its actually only about 40% of the way through.

            The graphics are obviously better but Dragon Age is still not exactly a looker. It basically looks like what you’d expect if you ported Dragon Age into Frostbite, high res environments, goofy characters and everything looking like its under a white SAD lamp.

          • Emeraude says:

            @WhatAShamefulDisplay:

            Kept that on in the back of my mind all day (I’m a rummaging thinker), and I think I agree, yes. Makes sense. Not having tools to actually, envision, explore and expand oneself into any significant possible alterity leaves players no over recourse but being themselves in other guises.

            Makes sense, especially in light of the silent hero trope.

          • malkav11 says:

            Of course you can’t follow the Qun. To follow the Qun would be to hand over agency to NPCs (especially as a Qunari mage), and that really doesn’t work for the protagonist of an RPG, especially one of this scope and theoretical openness. You would also be horribly unsuitable for leading the Inquisition, given its political origins. It’s a bit annoying that you still get the option to ask what the word Qunari even means, though. Even a second-generation Vashoth ought to know that, even if they wouldn’t necessarily have a good idea of how Qunari society functions.

            And you can quite regularly proclaim that you don’t believe in Andraste and aren’t the Herald. I did so at every available opportunity. It doesn’t stop other people thinking you are, nor does it change the fact that the majority of your followers are Andrastian, both playable and vague background NPCs, and there’s no particular reason it should. That’s not how these things work.

            The loading times are really awful though, no argument there. It makes me really not want to return to home base often, even though you’re clearly expected to for the real-time war room assignment mechanic.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Wizardry lives!

  10. Ignis says:

    I’m angry I can’t romance Sera because my character is MALE, and she is gay. I feel discriminated alright. I bought that game to romance Sera and this is what I got?!

    • Traipse says:

      In the absence of context, I will assume this is clever satire.

    • jrodman says:

      Clearly you should solve this problem by having your character become gay too.

      • Rizlar says:

        So they can sleep with Cullen, the hunkiest hunk in the whole of Thedas?

    • iainl says:

      That’s life; sometimes, even really hott people might not want to sleep with you. Sucks, I know.

      Unlike life, nothing’s stopping you replaying it in a female body.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Weak game (probably the weakest in the series for my money) and a shoddy port job to boot.

    The UI and control scheme is garbage whichever control option you use, but especially so if you choose to use mouse & keyboard. The tac cam is just plain unfit for purpose: it doesn’t give you a clear view of the battlefield, doesn’t stay where you put it and the camera cursor (yes, camera cursor) literally has to be driven around the terrain. The world is extremely pretty, but unfortunately feels completely static and lifeless. The combat system is shallow and dumb regardless of difficulty setting. Oh, and the story isn’t very compelling either. Other than that it’s ok though.

    The PC version is clearly an afterthought, so it is a little odd to see RPS holding it in such high regard.

    • Rizlar says:

      You know you can mouse over everything in tac cam and just click on things? Agree that the tactical aspect is completely gutted compared to something like DA:O and not really worth playing with, but mouse and keyboard controls seemed perfectly good to me. Just need to use ‘r’ for auto-attack and ‘f’ for interact and hold down the right mouse button all the time for running about the place.

  12. Vinraith says:

    As someone who played Dragon Age: Origins a couple of times (and enjoyed it) but who skipped Awakenings and DA2 entirely, would I lose anything by jumping straight to this one?

    • katinkabot says:

      If you’re a lore fiend then play both. If it’s a money issue: There is more references to DA2 than Awakenings in DA:I. Awakenings is the better game though, so I recommend playing it if you liked DA:O.

    • Rizlar says:

      Nah, it should be fine. I skipped 2 and didn’t encounter any issues. I did go through the tapestry thing though, where you make all the decisions to import to DA:I, and pretty much read up on the plot of DA2 through that. You also get a chance to talk to quite a few characters in DA:I about the events in DA2, so I now feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what happens in it.

      I also now really want to play DA2.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        If you go into 2 knowing that the combat is not that great and there is a lot of repetition, you can have quite a bit of fun playing it. It has some of the best characters that Bioware wrote, and they actually tried something different for the plot.

        Definitely worth a shot if you have the time and money.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I haven’t quite finished it yet, but references to the middle games in the series are minimal. There is a main character reappearance from DA2 but it’s not critical to know the backstory. It’s fairly self-contained.

      If you enjoyed DA Origins *and* if you can live without a very useful overhead tactical view, *and* if you can adapt to a faster-paced combat style (but still pause-able), I’d say you’d probably enjoy this. But those two things are critical for some folks. I’m not fond of the combat but I’ve been able to live with it.

    • Jimbo says:

      You’ll be able to follow it, but the game spends a lot of time referencing events/characters from DA2 and its DLC, and there a some very important returning characters from both of those.

      Tbh, I think DA2 is worth a shot. It has some significant issues, but it also has a soul and tries to break the mould a bit. Inquisition is just kind of safe and bland in comparison.

      Awakenings is practically irrelevant to Inquisition, but is probably my favourite entry in the series. It’s a neat, focussed and pretty much self-contained piece of content, which is rare from Bioware.

      • sneakyflutemusic says:

        I’d argue that soul is the most important thing missing from Dragon Age 2. Most of the loot is unceremoniously relegated to the “junk” pile. You make your way through the same alley twenty times with only a vague notion of what you’re supposed to accomplish. Many of the codex entries were lifted directly from Origins.

        The game is totally uninspired and dull. It’s like EA execs stormed into the building and threatened to fire everyone if they didn’t produce something in a year.

    • LordCrash says:

      I would play Awakening and DA2 instead. They are cheaper and better. And you could still play Inquisition afterwards for probably less money. ;)

      And since DAI is very lore-heavy I would also recommend playing the other games before. You just get more out of the game, especially since the other parts of the game aren’t that good anyway.

    • malkav11 says:

      Awakening is on par with Origins, except much shorter. DA2 isn’t nearly as good, but if you turn down the combat to the easiest difficulty, the first two acts have a lot to offer. The third…well, it’s canon. Sigh.

      DAII unfortunately has a much, much bigger presence in Inquisition’s story so far. There’s some references to stuff in Origins and Awakening, but two of your party members are from II (though only one was playable in that game), there’s at least one more major guest, and the general situation is directly tied to the last act of DAII (shitty as it was) and the one piece of story DLC for it. (Which I never played.)

  13. derbefrier says:

    I got about 20 hours in it before I got sobored I wanted to claw my eyes out. Its not a rerrible game or anything its just nothing I haven’t been playing for the past decade. Once the novelty of the new car smell wore off uyour left with a pretty bland rpg but that’s pretty much been par for the course the whole series so I wasn’t ewxpecting anything different I guess.

  14. JS says:

    The best RPG of the year is a crappy console port that is not even on Steam? Yeah, right…

    • Emeraude says:

      It wounds me that Steam is now synonymous with the platform to that degree to some.

    • sinister agent says:

      Complaining that it’s like a console game, then complaining that it’s not on a closed distribution system, one of the worst things about consoles?

      Hmm.

      • Shakes999 says:

        I wish I could star this burn to infinity. Just total destruction.

      • LordCrash says:

        Steam isn’t a closed environment like on consoles. Valve never requires devs to exclusively distribute games via Steam. If they do so it’s their very own decision. And in reality most devs don’t.

        • sinister agent says:

          It’s arguably worse. You buy 200 games on Steam, and Valve decide you’ve done something wrong, or just decide they want to do things in a way you object to from now on? Bye bye games. They keep your money. Buy a game on a console, and you can keep playing it forever, whether MS/Sony/Nintendo like it or not.

          • Deano2099 says:

            At least until MS/Sony exercise their (legally untested) right to remotely brick your console if you use it in a way they don’t want you to. Though I guess in that case you can always get your stuff back by giving them another four hundred quid…

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t know about untested, Sony did argue to court that it still owned the console it had sold you.

            It lost for now.

          • LordCrash says:

            Yeah, until your console breaks and you can’t get a new one since it’s already out of production for a few years.

            Bye, bye, games.

            And I guess people still misunderstand “digital games”. Digital games are no traditional products with a specific “value”. It’s just entertainment. If you buy a game on Steam you buy the entertainment. The pure entertainment value defines the monetary value and not any artificial resell value. You literally buy X hours of fun with the game. It’s actually more like streaming or even more like cinema than like buying a traditional product.

            That’s not necessarily worse than anything else. It’s just different. The sooner you accept that the better. It’s actually not all that bad since you can make pretty simple decisons based on the quality of the game which is quite easily to determine in our modern times of dozens of online reviews available for free and even more coverage and let’s plays and reviews on youtube. The simple question is: is the game itself worth the money? Yes or no?

            And Steam has nothing to do with the closed environment/market on console, no matter if you personally like Steam or not and whether you like digital games or not. That’s just another thing alltogether.

          • Emeraude says:

            And Steam has nothing to do with the closed environment/market on console, no matter if you personally like Steam or not and whether you like digital games or not. That’s just another thing altogether.

            Steam *is* a walled garden architecture inside the PC market. Whether you like it or not. On some respects more open, on others more closed than the closed environment of consoles.

            And we also perfectly understand the move going on from game as product to game as service. And our opinion is that it’s bullshit tailored to make things a lot better for publishers, and overall worse for consumers.
            The Orwellian double-speak with which it is being presented notwithstanding.

          • LordCrash says:

            @Emeraude says:
            “Steam *is* a walled garden architecture inside the PC market. Whether you like it or not. On some respects more open, on others more closed than the closed environment of consoles.”
            As I said before, no publisher is forced to exlusively release games on Steam. So it’s not the same closed market/environment than on consoles. That is just a FACT.

            “And we also perfectly understand the move going on from game as product to game as service. And our opinion is that it’s bullshit tailored to make things a lot better for publishers, and overall worse for consumers.
            The Orwellian double-speak with which it is being presented notwithstanding.”
            Who is we?

            And no, I don’t think that this development makes “it” (what is it in detail?) worse for consumers. Actually consumers (financially) profitted pretty much so far by the digital revolution in gaming on PC with Steam being its spearhead…

            But anyway, that really gets pretty off-topic now.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            So the difference is that Steam doesn’t force devs to use it, while Microsoft and Sony go to their headquarters and whip the CEOs until they agree to publish for their walled gardens. That’s an important distinction we’re forgetting.

          • Emeraude says:

            Who is we?

            The people who supposedly “still misunderstand “digital games”.

            As with game design, I think you here again show an over-inflated sense of your own opinion. People not agreeing with you doesn’t mean they “misunderstand”.

            So it’s not the same closed market/environment than on consoles.

            Yes, I said so myself. It’s not the same, but another example of the kind.

            what is it in detail?
            ” the move going on from game as product to game as service”

            Actually consumers (financially) profitted pretty much so far by the digital revolution in gaming on PC with Steam being its spearhead.

            Yes, they just had to lose the right to propriety other bought products while the publishers/reseller managed to get the best of both worlds, picking from both sides of product and service selling legislations depending on their needs.

      • malkav11 says:

        It is on a closed distribution system: Origin. It’s just a shittier one than Steam, where most of my games and all of my friends aren’t.

        Also, the biggest evils of the console’s closed distribution involve having to go through the console manufacturer for patching and DLC, and the ridiculously uncompetitive pricing on digital items, neither of which are a factor for Steam (or Origin, for that matter, though they haven’t been as good about sales).

        • Emeraude says:

          To be honest one of the few things for which I used to prefer consoles over PCs is that they had no patching whatsoever.

          Completely different model.

        • gmillar says:

          At least Origin will give you a refund if you don’t like it.

          • malkav11 says:

            On specific games, within a month of sale. I mean, it’s better than Steam’s policy, but it’s not really all it’s talked up to be.

  15. Rizlar says:

    Inquisition is bloody brilliant! The icon hunt thing seems to be a big issue for a lot of people but for me the world is so engaging, the content of the quests and landmarks and such is so good, that it is very easy to forget about collecting everything and just enjoy what is in front of you.

    Looks like I’m about to finish it and the only consolation is that I can finally go back and read Adam’s diary, spoiler-free.

  16. flashlight_eyes says:

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    Why does wasteland 2 get no love?
    RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE

  17. Wagrid says:

    “Inquisition is like comfort food. A month-long banquet of comfort food, with all the trimmings.” Is really, really apt. It’s what’s so appealing about BioWare when they’re on form.

    Still, I’d have given the nod to Banner Saga personally. Divinity: Original Sin is great too but gets edged out for me.

    These comments are reminding me how tedious RPG fans are. It would be funny, if I didn’t really like RPGs and thus have to put up with them.

    • ffordesoon says:

      We are simpatico, sir or madam!

      This idea that some games labeled and marketed as RPG are not RPGs because you stab or shoot the baddies yourself is asinine. It’s like saying Super Mario World is a “real” platformer and Super Mario 64 isn’t, because platformers are only 2D and can only ever be 2D. More laughable is the claim that Inquisition is an “action game.” One assumes the people saying this have either never played an action game in their lives or are really shit at them. There is a world of difference between Inquisition and Metal Gear Rising, or even Shadow Of Mordor.

      The MMO comparison is perhaps more salient, but Inquisition is less an MMO than a game that borrows some systems from MMOs and then goes off and does its own thing with them. Which could easily describe Origins and DA2. Inquisition just borrows the right things from MMOs this time.

      Can’t argue that it plays best on a gamepad, of course, but a PC gamer who doesn’t have a gamepad in this day and age isn’t a real PC gamer.

      (See, guys? It is also possible for filthy casual console kiddy awesome-button-humpers to whip out a no true Scotsman!)

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t know, for me I guess the issue: how well does the game pull off emulating what it is I am doing when I’m actually playing a real (i.e – the tabletop kind) RPG ? That’s the thing the game is supposed to be for me, a single player emulation, -recreation, of the collective game we call RPGs.
        And, really, I don’t care about the cRPG/console RPG or the wRPG/jRPG divide. What I care is: what does the game do that is interesting on that front?

        And so far I stand by my evaluation: Dragon Age is basically a western version of Growlanser, a sixteen years old game, and it isn’t even as good on many fronts. It’s a regressive game, and you can’t even really say it has perfect polish on its side to make it all worthwhile.

        I guess it’s just a matter of having played mostly all the games, of being invested in a genre vs just wanting to have some fun (and nothing wrong with that).

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          Good post, I agree with the regressive point. Then again, even Baldur’s Gate was regarded as the polished version of the innovation coming out of Black Isle, so lets not pretend that Bioware have ever pushed the bar on their own per se.

          • Emeraude says:

            Well, yes, but they didn’t use to push in the other direction either.

            I read comments from some Bioware designers saying they want to segregates the conversations and the combat, segregates mechanical aspect from one another to make things more digestible to more players, and my feeling is that they don’t care anymore. They want something kind of insignificant , and by the book, that does not ask for too much involvement and just be consumed.

            Which I guess is fair enough… but they used to be better than that.

  18. khomotso says:

    I think this may be the first game I’ve played at the highest difficulty setting, and I had to do so before I learned to really enjoy it. I started at the second-highest, and the game just felt hollow, a sweet nothing of an amusement park ride, and I, too, focused in on the SP MMO line of criticism. I skipped over many things that seemed dull (e.g. potions, tonics, crafting, certain skills, tactical team play) because they were flatly unnecessary.

    But at the highest difficulty the world started to feel dangerous, the harvesting of plants important for a new dimension of tactical combat, I planned more carefully my complementary skills and combos, I had to become deliberate and thoughtful about crafting and kitting out the team, and my sequence of exploration started to really matter. Suddenly, many things started to have purpose, where before they were fluff.

    I’m still quite annoyed at the bugginess of the controls and tactical movement, and am still really put off by the over-earnest boobishness of the storytelling, but the world really only came alive for me once I embraced a setting the game told me was ‘masochistic.’

  19. sneakyflutemusic says:

    Is anyone here even remotely familiar with Bioware titles? Most of the complaints I’ve seen can be applied to nearly all of their games. Remember when you had to visit various planets in Mass Effect only to find the same research facility recycled about 50 times? Sterile, largely uninhabited environments (or the “minimalist approach”) were pretty much the hallmark of Bioware games in the early 2000s.

    Dragon Age Inquisition is honestly one of Bioware’s best efforts. The attention to detail and sheer scope of the game are simply staggering. I think we can all agree that Dragon Age 2 sucked in every possible way from its uninspired, nebulous story to the rehashed dungeons to the bizarre design decision to have enemies fall from the sky. But I think people’s impressions of Dragon Age Inquisition are being influenced by the negative reception of its predecessor and the involvement of EA.

    I do wish the tactical menu and companion AI had been refined a little more, but the combat system is a happy marriage between that of Origins and Dragon Age 2.

    By the way, there are very few “fetch” quests in this game so I’m wondering how many of these fervently opinionated people have even played the game.

    • daphne says:

      I like to think that by now, the criticism has evolved to classify any quest with a discrete numeric progress component (performing some action X, N times) as a fetch quest, hence the complaints. Never mind the context of the action and the fact that most quests don’t have any fetching.

      • Emeraude says:

        It’s also a matter of presentation.

        Compare going to and finding Balmora in Morrowind and doing the same a new town in Skyrim.
        Same action, but the presentation, the UI, the way the tools you have on hands make you tackle with the task at hands change things completely. Hell, the pilgrimage in Morrowind is technically a fetch quest, but I’d argue it’s one of the best in the whole game.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          I agree completely. One of the other best quests that spring to mind in MW was also a fetch quest, the Telvanni quest where you had to find that rare ring for a Telvanni aristocratic lady. She had no idea where to start, so one had to ask around at jewellers’ shops, around the servants, and so on, using one’s own intuition to reason who in Sadrith Mora might know where to find this one specific ring.

          There was more roleplaying in that one quest than I think I experienced in the following two ES games in their entirety.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            I totally agree with that comment. The key is, I think, that the game presents you with an interesting and relate-able puzzle with sufficiently engaging context and then (this is where modern developers may lose the thread entirely the poor little poppets) /don’t/ tell the player the solution and allows the player to figure it out. The game portion of this element comes from solving the puzzle rather than just going through the indicated steps.

            I wish more games – particularly RPGs – would do this.

          • Emeraude says:

            I think the big issue is that modern game design has taken industrial design as its referent, but when you try to make problems perfectly understandable,, knowable and solvable, what you end up is something that is barely a game.

            Hence the so-called “MMO” modern development ethos, for which a game ends up being just a volume of tasks to be accomplished, of content to be exhausted with barely any real involvement of the player being demanded, because frustration is to be avoided at all cost.

            But a game that demands and expects nothing of its players is in the end a game that gives very little back. Because the best production of the gaming medium is what comes out of the players when they have to put themselves in the game – it’s the processes they create and heuristically learn, the content they appropriate (or feel like they do) that brings value to the experience, not the one they’re being fed.

    • Emeraude says:

      Is anyone here even remotely familiar with Bioware titles?

      Are we talking pre-KOTOR Bioware, Jade Empire Bioware, or just modern, post EA acquisition Bioware ?

      I mean if, Mass Effect happens to be your oldest reference point, I can wee why you’re not seeing where others are coming from.

      • sneakyflutemusic says:

        Does it matter? The early 2000s were arguably their most prolific development period.

        • Emeraude says:

          I think it does, your expectations are going to be widely different if for you Bioware happens to be the studio that did Baldur’s Gate 2 rather than the studio that did Mass Effect 2.

    • LordCrash says:

      Well, indeed. But is it GOOD that their world design hasn’t improved a single bit since 2000? It’s a cheap excuse to say “that’s typcial Bioware”.

      Ubisoft just proved with AC Unity how a living, breathing world could look like from a design perspective. Compare that to the static, Disney-like world of Inquisition and you easily see how far behind Bioware is in the year 2014.

      Their only benefit is that Inquisition was pretty much the ONLY AAA kind-of-RPG in 2014. Everything else had either much less production value or was much more niche. So it’s an easy win for Bioware.

      It’s the same with Bethesda. From a game design perspective Skyrim is terrible. It’s full of flaws and bad, antiquatd design that hasn’t been improved in any form since e.g. Morrowind. But the have no real competition. So far there wasn’t any other company offering that kind of 1st/3rd person open world AAA RPG so they could get away with everything. Due to the lack of serious alternatives people interested in the genre had to play the game anyway. That maybe change with Witcher 3 though. But Bioware still has no real competition for their kind of RPG they’ve invented with DA Origins and Mass Effect. So they also get away with improving almost nothing of their core design (like the extremely unimmersive, static worlds). They only copy elments from other games and add them to the formula instead of improving the basics of the game…

      So no, it’s not ok just because “it’s a Bioware game”, sorry.

      • sneakyflutemusic says:

        I didn’t mean to imply that nothing has changed or been improved. The world is much more vibrant and actually feels inhabited. Mass Effect 3, which was released only 2 years ago, still has the whole minimalist thing going on with barren landscapes and urban “hubs” that look like they’ve been sparsely populated by squatters.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Hah, I really liked Mass Effect 3 but that’s so true

      • sairas says:

        I pity you for caring about computer games without being able to enjoy them.

        • LordCrash says:

          I know, it’s like a plague. Once you’re really into game design you look at games in quite a different way. You pretty much “analyze” them. But there are still a lot of games I enjoy nevertheless. The biggest problem is that the biggest games are often also the worst designed and copycatted ones. So I tend to play more indie games lately which way more often offer some new ideas, unique gameplay and well thought game design without too many compromises that sacrifice overall consistency… ;)

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            I drew a graph for you! Try to figure out where you are on it ;-)

          • LordCrash says:

            @AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER

            Try harder, I’m not convinced yet…

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Sh-should I put sparkles on the graph? I worked very hard on it :-(

          • LordCrash says:

            Sometimes our hardest efforts are still not good enough I fear…

          • sneakyflutemusic says:

            I find it very curious that you like Dragon Age 2 but hate Inquisition. Can I ask why?

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Well, I tried my best. How many can claim as much?

      • Jason Moyer says:

        “Inquisition was pretty much the ONLY AAA kind-of-RPG in 2014”

        Stick Of Truth

    • malkav11 says:

      No, my impressions of Inquisition are being influenced by my experience of Origins, which was a superior game in virtually every way except technologically, at least as of ~35 hours in. Inquisition is certainly better than II, though. And absolutely gorgeous.

  20. Bursar says:

    Snog a Dwarf? How did that happen. As far as I could tell a Dwarf was about the only race you couldn’t snog.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      You need to play as a healer. At level 24 you start to get this feeling and you gain the skill sexual healing.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I kept getting the glowing Heart conversation option for the lady dwarf Scout that you meet in new areas. I had other plans, so didn’t follow it to see if it goes anywhere.

      It’s a little odd that the option was even there for a clearly subordinate character in your paramilitary organization (Penny Arcade did a strip about it). But in any event, it seemed a better idea to stick to the peer group of candidates.

  21. Crafter says:

    you are the most important person in the entire world. People will follow you into battle, go along with your decisions and occasionally kiss you on the lips. There’s an enormous world to discover and it’s all there for you

    Please AAA studios, let me be some random schmuck that just tries to survive the typical RPG cataclysmic threat. At this point, it would be infinitely more interesting.
    I am bored to death of the easy power trip chosen one quest.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Have You Played…. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons?

    • zaloper says:

      A million “hurrah”s to this. I’m so sick of power fantasies. Or at very least lower the stakes, why are we always the messiah?

      • DragonOfTime says:

        This is arguably what they did with DAII.

        • malkav11 says:

          To an extent (and it’s one of the best things about II). You do still end up being a conquering hero type with a pretty dramatic impact on that -particular- corner of the world. But it’s at least smaller scale.

  22. Zenicetus says:

    This should have been “Best Budget Thrown at an RPG” so something else could win the Best RPG title.

    I’m having fun and will probably finish it. It’s a very polished game, with lots of things to do. But it could have been so much better with a real tactical overhead combat system instead of the jury-rigged, halfhearted system that showed up in the game.

    And for a Bioware game, I’m amazed at how much I don’t like almost all my party members. Blackwall is the only one I think I could stand to sit down and have a drink with. The others are various combinations of annoying tics and self-absorbed posturing.

    • Jimbo says:

      If you like Blackwall you are going to love his companion quest.

  23. sairas says:

    for me this is one of the bestest personal computer games since 1986 (bubble bobble, duh). I loved DA:O, hated DA2 and had no hope for this one. but reviews pulled me back in and after 200+ hours on first playthrough I still want more. agreed on the “single player mmo” but like Alec I actually kinda like that.

    I have no understanding for the “not a pc game if not optimal for m+kb”; just plug a controller in your game machine and be happy. Ok, maybe you won’t be happy about the inability to zoom out in tactical mode in combat, but that’s my only grief. lovely gem of a game this one.

    • LordCrash says:

      No way. I hate controller gameplay in pretty much every 3D game. Just because you like or accept to play with a controller doesn’t mean everybody else likes it. I play on PC for a reason.

      So maybe you should show some respect and tolerance for those who don’t gave up PC’s primary input device for no apparent reason.

      And what the hell did you do in the game for 200+ hours? I’ve completed the game in less than 80 hours and I’ve thouroughly explored every region of the game, fought against every enemy and collected practically almost everything…

      • futabot says:

        “Show some respect and tolerance.”

        I’ve gathered well over a thousand pieces of metal in Inquisition, but none as ironic as this nugget.

      • sneakyflutemusic says:

        If both modes of control are optimized and refined for a PC game, I’ll almost always choose keyboard and mouse. But some games are simply a nuisance or downright unplayable with kb+m (Dark Souls and Castlevania Lords of Shadow off the top of my head).

        DA:I is fun as hell to play with a controller and doesn’t limit your options in combat. That dubious honor goes to the poor tactical camera and menu. However, it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

        • Emeraude says:

          Not talking about DA:I specifically, but the choice of the preferred input device does have UI and game-design ramifications for the end game. If you have to optimize for one, you can’t necessarily optimize for the other.

          For example, I think it’s hard to argue the “ring of choice” in Bioware games is a result of constraints from both recorded conversations *and* gamepad input (though to which degree each element is to blame is fairly debatable).
          And it clearly represented a loss in player agency in the manipulation of narrative elements from the more envelope pushing games in the genre. At the very least a stagnation from the average perspective.

      • sairas says:

        “So maybe you should show some respect and tolerance for those who don’t gave up PC’s primary input device for no apparent reason.”

        sure, it’s up to personal preference as much as anything else, but I still think there really are apparent reasons to add a controller to the pc:s input devices.

  24. WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

    Dragon Age and Mass Effect have twin problems: their mechanics are stale and derivative, and their worlds lack imagination or erudition. It’s hard, when playing Bioware’s stuff, to escape the feeling that the mechanics were designed by bean-counters, money men and focus testers, while the actual design was conducted by culturally illiterate hacks.

    Even if one still finds them enjoyable (and lords knows I have enough hours in Euro Trucks to know when something is ‘just fun’), I just don’t see how anyone could regard them as brave, or innovative, or pushing the envelope of what the genre can do. Indeed, the genre did much better twenty odd years ago!

    • Big Murray says:

      I haven’t yet seen anyone claim that Inquisition is pushing the boundaries of the genre. Nor does it attempt to. It’s just the same formula that we’ve had before, done really really well. Why do people have an obsession with every new game having to be “groundbreaking” or “genre redefining”? Sometimes I just wanna sit back with the decades of refining that we’ve done to a genre and bask.

      Inquisition is like your mum’s Victoria Sponge. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s what you know done damn good.

  25. Myrdinn says:

    As someone who loves tactical RPG’s and character customization I totally regret getting this game. I’ve played and finished every single Bioware game since Baldur’s Gate but Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition. The former because I got burned out on Commander Shepard and DA:I because of its combat, its way too large zones and its lack of character building options. I can somewhat sympathize with LordCrash because a lot of people are lauding this game as a great RPG and this makes me a sad puppy. Bioware used to make such fun games.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      My problem isn’t with the game, it’s with the developer. Bioware said that DA:I was being developed with the PC as the lead platform. That it would be balanced as least as well for tactical as action mode.

      They lied.

      I don’t mind that so many love this game. By all means, love what you love. RPS could have given them console port of the year, or single player MMO of the year. Just not RPG of the year. People trust and respect RPS, giving them RPGOTY is something that they can put on the back of the box to increase sales.

      They lied to us, and those who still believe in preorders, who believed in Bioware, and who wanted a tactical RPG got burned. This isn’t the first time they have pulled this crap, either. Dragon Age Oranges had a youtube ad depicting itself as an action RPG.
      link to youtube.com
      Customers looking to scratch their Diablo II itch were just as ripped off then as many are now.

      They lied to us, and with RPGOTY you just send them a cash gift in thanks to the privilege of being lied to.

      • Antiquary says:

        Single Player MMO of the Year – yeah that sums it up :)

    • zentropy says:

      RPG = Retroactively Pissing on Genre? :O

  26. green frog says:

    Well, I could see this comment storm coming a mile away. Kudos to RPS for having the integrity to go forward with their choice, given that they had to know how many anguished diatribes picking a BioWare game as “Best RPG” would elicit from their audience. And kudos to BioWare for making a game worthy of recognition. I’m looking forward to their next project even with all the overblown backlash that will doubtless accompany that one, too.

    • B.rake says:

      How dare you not condemn a game for failing to match the preimposed expectations of various random individuals!

  27. somnolentsurfer says:

    Given how I just got mercilessly ripped off for DLC after thinking Mass Effect 3 for £2.99 sounded like a good deal, there’s no way I’ll be buying this unless they bring out a complete edition. Which is a shame, as I’d quite like to play it.

    • B.rake says:

      Got a similar deal, then a friend told me I “HAVE” to get Leviathan and Citadel, also Shadow Broker for ME2, all with ‘Bioware Points’, which appear only availiable on Origin in packs of 10usd or 20usd, so no matter what I’d be losing 5 dollars to an otherwise useless point system…oh wait, still need to get Shale, apparently the best NPC for DA:O, another 1200 points, for which price I can get the “Ultimate Edition” on Steam…. Yet still no “Complete Editions” for the ME games, nearly 3,5,and 7 years old. As much as I enjoyed ME1, disinclined to bother with the rest if the best parts are trapped in Bioware’s arcane proprietary nonsense.

      • malkav11 says:

        Bioware’s been very very bad about a) lowering the price of their DLC ever, b) discounting their DLC ever, and c) bundling any of it since the Ultimate Edition of Origins. (And even that involves manually downloading every individual piece of DLC direct from Bioware, unless they’ve changed it since I last tried.) It sucks. That said, in no sense is the DLC really necessary to enjoy the games in question (you should get the Origins Ultimate Edition, though) – I know this because I’ve bought virtually none of it and I still enjoyed all of these games. I suspect ME2 in particular feels a little more fleshed out with DLC (it has hardly any weapon variety, and DLC adds some of those, for example), but it’s not required. My main issue is that plot points in a couple of ME2 DLCs and DA2’s one non-companion story DLC have proved to play a meaningful role in their sequels’ plots. You don’t have to have played them, there are summaries, but it annoys me that there are claims made about my character having experienced things that I didn’t.

        Also, FWIW, the Bring Down the Sky DLC for ME1 came free with the PC version, if you can dig it up (it’s not distributed through any of the later channels Bioware DLC has gone through). It’s not tremendously exciting, but it’s probably worth playing. Unlike Pinnacle Station, which is just combat trials.

        • B.rake says:

          Good to hear and thanks for the tips. I’m sure I’ll get around to them eventually. Origins is especially galling as I own the disc from launch, yet there’s no upgrade to the Ultimate edition available- would like to give it another crack, and there’s little sense in waiting for EA/BW to be sensible about ancient DLC.

          • Juke says:

            Came to say same, that despite the relative quality level of any particular DLC packs, Mass Effect games were worthwhile in their own right. There’s no need to feel ripped. The only ME DLCs I’ve played are Shadow Broker and Citadel, which I can recommend (though for different reasons.) I watched Leviathan via Let’s Play videos, for example, and felt I got the good bits of story without a lot of extra time or money invested. You could do the same.

            The only one I’d caution against “watching” is the Citadel DLC, as it’s specifically built to be a lost love letter to the Commander Shepard you specifically played throughout the trilogy. In fact, I still think the best way to experience Citadel is coming back to it after the end of the ME3 campaign using an old save, as an epilogue. That’s the way the original ME3 players experienced it, and how I think the developers intended it. Played through where they deposited it in the main story, I’d think it would feel out of place with ME3’s overall grim tone.

            My $0.02. Thought it was a great game overall, still enjoy talking about it. Hope you give it a go.

          • malkav11 says:

            On sales you can usually get the Ultimate Edition for about $7.50. I think that’s fair, especially since Awakening is included and is a full on proper expansion, not just a bite size 3-4 hour affair.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeah, Bioware’s attitude to DLC is totally outdated in my opinion – developed at a peculiar time when downloadable content and the charging of it was still trying to find its feet. Consequently, we’ve got a system that is over-complicated, lacks any transparency and always stings the customer for more money than the DLC is worth (forcing them to buy bioware points in blocks that exceed the value of the DLC itself). For some reason they’ve not opted to revisit it.

      Generally, delivery and payment of DLC is these days now incredibly easy (regardless of whether I happen to agree with the business models in place or not) and I suspect Bioware are missing out on a bit of a goldmine.

      I did contact them to complain/request a reduction in price – I’d certainly pick up certain older games and their DLC if the pricing was sensible – but unsurprisingly I heard nothing back. I think it’d be be beneficial if lots of noise were made of this because to be honest, I think Bioware are really improving the quality of their output overall.

      • zentropy says:

        Every other attitude towards DLC besides “DIE MOTHERFUCKER” is the wrong one.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          personally, I dislike the prevalence of DLC. As a means of delivery it has great potential for good. However, in most cases I find it annoying to have frequent content updates to a game I have already finished with – I feel like I’m missing out. I also think businesses definitely take advantage of people who will feel almost compelled to purchase complete collections of it. There’s a technical term for that but I cannot remember what it is. I don’t like the exclusive content either. I think pricing is frequently exploitative. It puts me off purchasing a game on release when I know there’s likely to be more content coming in the next couple of years – I’d rather wait for the complete collection before playing. I think that the quality of content is often questionable and pricing frequently does not value even in a relative sense. Many more reasons besides

      • Wulfram says:

        Bioware have actually dumped the whole “Bioware points” thing. Now you just pay them money.

        Or at least you would if DLC for the game existed beyond pointless deluxe edition stuff. Which is another thing they should get some props for, really.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          OH! That’s good news :) now some reasonable pricing over time would be a good next step

  28. zaloper says:

    I read the article and could swear you weren’t talking about Dark Souls 2. Peculiar.

  29. Antiquary says:

    Great, another review site that’s lost all credibility. Never mind that it’s a console port and combat is simplified and a mess, try not to be blinded by the pretty landscapes that they got BF4 to do for them, DAI is just badly written. Bland and utterly unconvincing as a RPG, the character that you are forced to play has the charisma of a wet dishcloth, which makes his position unbelievable and ruins immersion. It feels like watching one of those BBC kids’ shows that the new trendy nerds have embraced (Dr. Who, Merlin), without the hystrionics.

    • Llewyn says:

      It always amuses me when people register new commenting accounts specifically to imply that RPS isn’t the site it used to be.

      • Antiquary says:

        Hey, whatever gets you to that smug glow inside the quickest.

    • zentropy says:

      Gotta agree with the above dude, but still – love the comparison. I mean why make anything new when we can just rehash the past, right? :3

      • Antiquary says:

        Not sure I follow you there? The defence of DA2 centred a lot on accusations of ‘You don’t like the new’, ‘You don’t like change’. Both words used in a meaningless way. ‘New’ and change as actions are neutral, neither good or bad, the worship of change is nonsensical. Everything changes, there’s no need to rush it along with no real thought as to what will happen.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Hi! I am sorry to see that you are upset here. I hope you don’t mind if I address your comment. Might I suggest that this is an issue of differing opinions rather than some form of scandal worth become upset over?

      Whilst you yourself do not like the game, it is evident that RPS does. The various writers have never been shy about stating when they do NOT like a game, regardless of who produced it or how popular it is. In fact, in this very article you will find some flaws highlighted and two distinct points of view.

      Perhaps it would be worth taking on board an opinion that runs contrary to your own. It’s quite acceptable for people to like different things and by taking on board others’ opinions, you might even gain new appreciation for something you had previously dismissed. And if you don’t then that’s okay too, you might still enjoy reading a different perspective or just like the writing styles here or even, you might find some measure of pleasure in reading about someone else’s enjoyment, regardless of the source of that entertainment.

      Ultimately, RPS is just a blog where several personalities express their thoughts and opinions – usually about games or the games industry. If you enjoy the site and the writing then stick around! If you like the community then join in!

      • green frog says:

        Stop that being reasonable!

      • Antiquary says:

        Um, thanks? Perhaps don’t back away and ‘manage’ like you think I’m a mental patient, disappointed would be a better description than upset. Also with the patronisation. If everything is just meaningless opinion and nothing has objective value then the whole concept of reviewing is a waste of time. Accept a robust back and forth, punish actual rudeness.

    • Big Murray says:

      “It feels like watching one of those BBC kids’ shows that the new trendy nerds have embraced (Dr. Who, Merlin), without the hystrionics.”
      THE HIPSTER LEVEL IS OFF THE CHARTS, CAPTAIN!!!

  30. zentropy says:

    2014 was that bad, huh? :/

    • brotherthree says:

      Sigh.

      I still have faith one day there will be a dragon age origins 2..

  31. SwiftRanger says:

    I understand that people really enjoy the game with a controller on PC. That’s just fine. But the issues at hand here are about the keyboard and mouse controls. If we all accept that playing on PC with a game pad should be possible and enjoyable then at least be as honest to say that playing with keyboard+mouse should also be possible and enjoyable (it’s a weird thing to say it like this for a PC game but that’s what it has come to now, even on RPS…).

    There is a nagging fact that no-one can get around; not the folks who can enjoy DA:I with its current keyboard+mouse setup and not the folks who just say “plug that controller in” (as if everyone on PC has a controller). Dragon Age has always been sold to the PC audience as if it would become the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate games. For some, that just means it has to be a decent RPG, have great characters and a well realised world, for others that also means it should resemble the way BG actually played out. And that’s where the tactical camera and mouse+keyboard controls take central stage. DA:O mostly succeeded in emulating the BG-feeling.

    It’s pretty baffling that few people “get” what the sometimes overreacting anti-DA:I crowd is pointing at: that all the Infinity Engine games and Dragon Age: Origins were actually small-scale pausable RTS games where party interaction really mattered during combat as well. It seems that this feeling is now lost in DA:I and that those “old” controls were miles and miles better and more performant. The new Dragon Age has, just like DAII, become another kind of game. For the record: Origins was already quite a step back in several ways on this front compared to the holy grail that Baldur’s Gate II still is (smaller party size, less varied combat, unbalanced pacing, etc.).

    Big deal? No, life goes on of course. But don’t call this Bioware’s most expansive RPG ever if they downscale such a big part of the whole experience (the combat). I see it’s easier for Bioware to do it this way, multiplatform development realities and all that jazz. It’s just a pity that they’re letting other, much smaller companies get away with being better Baldur’s Gate-like games this way.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I completely understand your complaint with regards to tactical mode – it’s clearly not what was on display earlier in development and is suited for a gamepad rather than a mouse. It feels like a step back to me in terms of combat (although is an improvement on DA2 even so) and I’m really hoping someone somewhere will be able to introduce a fix. The cheat engine fix is almost there but doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

      However, it does not necessarily follow that a “Step Back” in one area means a reduction overall. On the whole, I would say DA:I has definitely increased in scope, from what I have played so far. The game feels epic and engrossing to me in a way I’ve not really encountered in a very long time. Although it may be a matter of opinion in many ways, calling DA:I Bioware’s most expansive RPG ever, despite the issues which many here recognise, is perfectly valid

    • Rizlar says:

      So it’s not about the mouse and keyboard controls at all, it’s about not liking the combat system.

      • SwiftRanger says:

        It’s about both like I said. It’s clearly a very different experience than what Bioware promised earlier on which is a shame for people who actually hoped this would be a new Baldur’s Gate. You know, that game in which you were constantly playing with a “tactical” isometric point of view with more and proper functionality.

        There’s nothing wrong with enjoying Inquisition as it is now, but Bioware should have been honest by removing the tactical camera altogether then. Fine that they’ve made a more action-based RPG (those can be fun too) but that has nothing to do anymore with the original Infinity Engine games, period.

        They’ve obviously forgotten where they came from, I can only hope that other companies will get the same budget to make a proper spiritual BG-successor.

        • Rizlar says:

          Except everything you say is about the combat systems, the game’s features, not about the controls. It seems like tactical view is equally crap whichever input device you are using (and the action combat element works fine with whichever input device). They are fair criticisms you are making, it’s just not related to the controls being bad, see what I mean?

        • malkav11 says:

          They also should take said action-RPG approach to a different franchise. I have no issue with Jade Empire being an action RPG, nor Mass Effect (although I did object to their switch from CRPG-mechanic driven run and gun shooting to bland and unvaried cover shooting, but they did a lot to remedy that in 3 and presumably whatever Frostbite ME game comes out will further iterate on that). Dragon Age started as pausable real-time tactical combat (with heavily customizable AI behaviors) and should have stayed that way. Instead it immediately fled it. I can understand that it wasn’t very console friendly, but, well, them’s the breaks.

          At least Inquisition’s combat is much less tedious than II’s, and once I learned to stop trying to treat it as tactical combat, became mildly satisfying instead of painful and frustrating.

          • damnsalvation says:

            I would have LOVED a Jade Empire sequel! But DA:I filled me with such rage and nausea that I deleted it shortly after that f’ing dwarf showed up again. I’m just glad I didn’t buy it.

            Maybe it’s because the combat was actually really bad. Hold down the attack button till one of you dies? Gee, that’s fun.

  32. Squirrelfanatic says:

    For some odd reason the header image looks weird to me. The dude in it appears to have been taken from a game of the early 3D period; to me he looks flat and somehow as if he was pasted together from different bitmaps. ô_o

  33. Big Murray says:

    I felt a disturbance. Like thousands of butthurt people crying out simultaneously, and suddenly being silenced.

    • green frog says:

      Silenced? If only. The wangst is strong with these ones.

      • Juke says:

        Epic Bioware Thread: +2 to wangst

        Not sure I comprehend this new emotion, though I assume it involves a combination of tears and angry fondling.

  34. dmastri says:

    I must be the minority PC gamer who enjoys playing some games with a controller on my TV from the comfort of my couch. Unfortunately this is not one of those games. Bland and boring action RPG complete with MMO grind. Terrible choice for RPG of the year.

    • Emeraude says:

      I must be the minority PC gamer who enjoys playing some games with a controller […]

      Not a all, it’s just a matter of the right control input for the right game. And if there’s one thing the PC platform excels at it’s giving you a plethora of options.

      Hell, to the horror of many, I once advocated playing Thief Deadly Shadow on controller.

    • damnsalvation says:

      For me it all depends on the game. 3rd person games like Batman and GTA, for example, make a lot more sense with a controller. But I just can’t get used to using one for first-person games or non-action/arcade titles.

  35. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    It’s weird, I played through all 100 hours with keyboard and mouse and enjoyed every minute of it.

    I guess they could have improved the controls a little bit, but they weren’t *that* bad. Certainly nowhere near enough to impact the overall game enjoyment.

    • Rizlar says:

      It definitely seems like the people complaining about mouse and keyboard controls are actually complaining that it doesn’t have Baldur’s Gate style combat. As if mouse and keyboard / PC controls = playing the whole game in tactical view.

      Since I couldn’t get my controller working I ended up playing with mouse and keyboard. It’s totally fine! And the mouse controls in tactical view are actually really polished, even if it doesn’t go out of it’s way to explain stuff like two right clicks=hold position. The thing is, playing the whole game like that probably would be rubbish because DA:I is actually a 3rd-person action combat game with a bit of squad control on the side. We get it, the tactical elements are terrible The controls themselves are very good though.

      • Big Murray says:

        Yep, I haven’t had any problems playing the game with KB+M. Controls are pretty damn fluid.

        The main gripe seems to be that the tactical mode is designed for controllers and doesn’t work well with KB+M. To which the answer is … you’re right. The tactical view is diabolical, hasn’t been thought out and seems bunged in there. The further answer is that it’s not a dealbreaker. The game is great even with that flaw.

        • Rizlar says:

          Dunno, it seems like tactical mode would be just as crap with a controller. It works fine with a mouse and keyboard, the mouse interactions seem very polished. The only slightly irritating part is camera positioning and movement, but that would be the same whatever the input device.

          • Big Murray says:

            No, it’s diabolical no matter what peripheral you’re using. It doesn’t zoom out anywhere near enough, every time you switch to a new party member to give them orders the camera moves over to them and away from where the enemies you’re going to want to command them to attack are, and there’s been zero thought into removing things like trees and buildings from tactical view leading to the general situation of not being able to see anything because there’s loads of branches and crap blocking your view. The tactical view is an utter mess, and the game’s much better simply not using it.

            But the point is that it’s a mess because of many reasons, none of which are to do with consoles or controllers.

          • Rizlar says:

            Indeed. The only slightly irritating part is camera positioning and movement, but that would be the same whatever the input device.

          • malkav11 says:

            The way the camera moves in tactical mode is not (or at least, wasn’t in the original release) controlled in a way that makes intuitive sense on PC, but seems very designed for analogue sticks. One of the patches supposedly tweaked that, but as you say, there’s plenty of other questionable design decisions that make tactical mode rubbish, so I have not tried to use it since then.

  36. Wulfram says:

    Odd how Dark Souls didn’t get the same degree of complaining about the controls being better with a controller.

    Not I have any really issues with DA:I using M/KB. Once I stopped trying to use the tactical camera as a zoomed out overhead view and instead just took advantage of it as a mobile low angle view, and once I got used to having to keep my finger on the button to keep attacking, it’s fine.

    Rather more tactical than previous games, really, though part of that is just because good tanking is much more needed, which I’m not totally keen on.

  37. ~~Harri says:

    My GOTY is The Long Dark. I love it, finished or not. I now have my “coffee-drinking, ice-fishing, getting eaten by a pack of wolves SIM” that I’ve been dreaming about since the first day I had a game controller put in my hands.

  38. kpi says:

    I’m sure EA had to take plenty of lube for this nomination..

  39. wodin says:

    Divinity OS for me by a long way.

    • Big Murray says:

      The problem with Divinity OS is that the story makes you want to fall asleep. Which for an RPG is a bit of a dealbreaker.

  40. Universal Quitter says:

    Dragon Age being the best RPG of the year is a perfect example of why I don’t play a lot of RPG anymore. Your options today are usually tired, conventional low-res JRPGs, and Bioware’s casual sex sims.

    DA:I must have some great fucking writing to make up for that Dragon Age gameplay.

    • Steve Catens says:

      “Your options today are usually tired, conventional low-res JRPGs, and Bioware’s casual sex sims.”

      The Banner Saga, Shadowrun:Dragonfall Directors Cut, Wasteland 2, Divinity :OS, Grimrock 2, Lords of Xulima aren’t either of those. It was a great year for cRPGs. Dragon Age Inquisition was also released.

    • brotherthree says:

      Dragon Age Origins had me more attached to & actually caring for the characters in a video game since… FF7 probably, which was like a decade ago.
      If DA:I can do this, I will fully support it. If not, I will get angry and complain that I want another Dragon Age Origins.

      As many retards as there are sullying the crowd of complaints (many of which are legitimate but many are just killing everyone elses credibility) try not to blame people for being so passionate about this series – I have been playing video games 4-6 hours almost every day for the last 15+ years. And I’ve tried most games under the sun. I’m not ashamed to say Dragon Age Origins made me feel like pretty much nothing has in a long long time.

      • damnsalvation says:

        I agree about Origins, but Inquisition also made me feel like no game had in quite some time. That is, nauseated.
        Funny thing, the last game that did so was DA2.

        Probably the only games I’ve ever played where I actively hated the companions. I want that half-naked dwarf dead.

  41. dmastri says:

    We had a good run RPS but if this is what you guys consider “RPG of the year” material we’ve clearly drifted too far apart to reconcile our differences. I wish you lot best of luck.

  42. gmillar says:

    I find the whole potion/health system a bit annoying. Oh, I’m out of potions? Better fast travel to the nearest camp! Wait, where was I?

    The keyboard and mouse controls though, are absolutely fine. Seriously, I’ve had zero problems.

    It’s also a fantastic looking game. Not just the engine and technical stuff, but the art direction is fantastic, especially compared to Origins, which is very generic-looking. It does get a little odd the way they keep changing up the darkspawn though. What will they look like in the next game?

  43. socrate says:

    Wait…Dragon age inquisition is an RPG???wtf?…i really really don’t get what define RPG these days….basically every action game with loot and dialogue option= RPG….so…why not Farcry 4 at that?….why not Lara croft and the temple of osiris…really when i played DAI it really felt just like a consoly action game….the now called RPG on console which i kind of miss JRPG quite alots at this point on console…sadly this is apparently a thing in PC now wow…1 button spam with no tactic and then you can call that RPG…really disappointing,oh and about the graphic i think it look like plasticine and awkward when they go close to the character so yeah not a big fan of the so called FINE graphic.

    Not to mention the gazillion PC rpg that came out this year and are still coming out next year i mean cmon….wasteland 2 and divinity alone are a gazillion time more RPG then this and wayyy more tactical and well done with 100x less budget…and claiming bioware is the king of RPG at this point is pure insanity they just do action game and have proven that no one that is left in Bioware actually did much on Baldurs gate and neverwinter night at this point…they are making action game that have very small RPG element that usually dont have major impact on the actual gameplay and are just there to make the game different then the gazillion other clone action game on console…and then i play PC RPG…and i go oooh yeah right i have to use my head i have tu be clever about this fight and tactically beat it or ohhh i have to solve this quest and find the murderer and if i do an error i might have to deal with the conscequence and this is actually elaborate and not just some filler side quest made in 10 sec by some call of duty dev that just think about action all the time and the quest just last 5 sec or is tedious.

    • damnsalvation says:

      I remember how BioWare used to make RPGs. I wonder if they ever will again.

  44. Gargenville says:

    BoF Dragon Quarter RPG of the year every year (except on leap years those are Morrowind).

  45. Someone5050 says:

    !DO NOT BUY THIS GAME UNLESS YOU HAVE A LARGE INTERNAL HARD DRIVE FOR YOUR XBOX 360!
    It “requires” at least 7.1 space on an internal hardrive and you CAN NOT use anything else for this. I have wasted money getting this game only to be denied the ability to play it shortly after putting in it my console. This is the last game I’m going to buy with Bioware’s shitty name on it. Returning it tomorrow for half of what I paid no doubt. You got me for the last time Bioware.

    • wu wei says:

      Yeah, how dare Bioware stop you from reading the minimum required specs!

  46. Maou says:

    Well, for me since Mass Effect 3, Bioware is only going downhill.
    R.I.P Bioware. Go bankrupt EA.

  47. damnsalvation says:

    Origins was one of the greatest RPGs I ever played.
    Too bad they never made a sequel.