Six Hours Of World-Saving – Dragon Age: Inquisition Demo

As a sprog replaying demos again and again to draw out the stretches between getting new games, I loathed timed demos. I’d happily replay the same two or three levels over and over. As a growed-up, mind, I’d much rather have a one-off timed chunk to explore a game and see what it’s really about. It’s especially handy for open-world games – difficult or pointless to section up.

It’s high time that Dragon Age: Inquisition [official site] got a demo, and I’m glad that it’s a timed one. It’s on Origin. Six hours of singleplayer isn’t bad, and it offers unlimited multiplayer time too.

What can you do in Dragon Age: Inquisition in six hours? Well, have a look at Alec’s Dinq diaries. You’ll surely get through the first day’s stuff, and perhaps the second and even third. No one will force you to stare at Freddie Prinze Jr.’s nipples for that long. Or maybe you’ll scamper off over the hills and frolic in the forest for six hours.

Progress will carry over if you then buy the full game.

I skipped Dinq when it came out and am deep into The Witcher 3 at the moment, but I’ll certainly have a look at this demo once in a bit.

Maybe in these days of honking great sales and F2P games, kiddywinkles are less starved for games. Heck, I have a job and everything and still mostly play Dota 2.


  1. Cinek says:

    Unlimited multiplayer time? Which game had a limited multiplayer time? Is that some “feature” dedicated for console peasants?

    • TormDK says:

      What it means is this;

      After the demo period has ended, the client still works and you can still play multiplayer for free.

      You just can’t play single player, and if you then later buy the full game, your progress is carried over. (Which is easy for them since it’s all based on your Origin profile anyhow).

      So if any of you were even remotely interested in the multiplayer aspect of Dragon Age: Inquisition, but didn’t want to shell out the cash for the game, now is the perfect time to get the client downloaded and give it a spin.

  2. latedave says:

    So how much is actual campaign and how much is ‘fetch this’:) save yourself the boredom and get the Witcher 3 instead

    • Jane Doe says:

      Indeed. They’d have to pay me to play this.

    • TormDK says:

      You must have played a different version of Witcher 3 than I did.

      I saw plenty of FedEx quests there.

      Not to say that DA:I Doesn’t, but the whole glorification of Witcher 3 really needs to be toned down some.

      • Jane Doe says:

        Not in comparison to DA:I.

        Witcher 3 has its downsides, but DA:I is a RPG-disaster of epic proportions.

        • geisler says:

          In my opinion both are padded borefests with mind numbing combat and the usual contemporary open world related repetitive grinds. The main difference is that The Witcher 3 has an interesting world, some great moments of writing and interesting dialogue here and there. DA: I’s writing is just adolescent catered fanfic across the board, as most Bioware titles post BGII.

          • Jane Doe says:

            Here and there?

            You must be one of those people who still go to the opera because the entire new age entertainment industry is heathen! :)

          • geisler says:

            Not really. Possibly i’m just too old and games are purposefully written to target the biggest demographic (adolescents), especially the AAA ones, thus they feature angsty teenage writing that make me cringe.

            Regardless, Witcher 3 writing is mediocre at best in most places (but great in others), everyone with the capacity for observation and critical thinking should be able to see that, nothing edgy about it.

          • kament says:

            DA: I’s writing is just adolescent catered fanfic across the board

            Funny, but I thought it was precisely the other way around. Witcher 3 is just shameless in catering to adolescent male audience. It shows literally on its face: have you seen the females in this game? Have you seen Yen? She’s a doll, plain and simple. W3 writing does have it’s great moments, but on the whole… not so much. And it’s implemented not nearly as good as in DAI, because let’s face it, the writing heavily depends on acting and cinematics these days, and W3 fails more often than it succeeds in that.

            The sheer volume of the game is pretty much its only redeeming quality for me (wish they’d now a first thing about how to build an open world though). It’s a massive argument for it, granted. But writing? Come on.

    • karthink says:

      I didn’t count a single fetch in the main quest chain.

      • Cronstintein says:

        I’m really wracking my brain trying to recall even one. Some quests are better than others but none are down to the level of “go there, pick up thing, bring it back” that so many rpgs rely on heavily (and infuriatingly).

        • Henson says:

          Well, it’s not on the main quest, but there is the task where you fetch Keira’s missing supplies for her.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Outside the main quest line there are others too, like the ingredients needed to get the Alchemist to train you. Within the main quest, it kinda depends on your definition of a Fedex quest. Geralt’s main thing is killing monsters, so there are a few parts of the main quest that involve that kind of “fetch” to continue the main story.

          Trying not to be too spoilerish… Early on, you have to kill a certain monster before an army commander will tell you where Ciri went. The main quest requires entry to Novigrad, and one of the ways to get a pass is to kill a monster. Another clue to Ciri’s trail involves two monster hunts related to the Three Ladies of the Wood.

          But the thing is… the writing and the environment design are so good in Witcher 3, that these episodes never felt like a typical RPG fetch quest. I was lost in that world, enjoying it all too much. That never happened with DA:I, and it’s why I never finished it more than about halfway. I just never bought into the setting or the characters as anything interesting or believable. So every flaw in the game design — like fetch quests and filler content — stood out more.

        • Holderist says:

          You fetch an old lady’s pan in one quest.

          • Zenicetus says:

            And in another off-main quest, a goat you have to find and herd back home. I almost forgot about that quest, it was hilarious.

      • nearly says:

        I seem to remember one of the very first steps of the main quest (spoilers if you haven’t played the first few hours) requiring you to fetch the head of a gryphon?

        Sure, it’s split up into multiple parts but those parts are : A) go talk to an herbalist who will tell you where to go grab an herb and B) go talk to a hunter (after you kill a couple dogs) who will tell you where to find a nest where you…actually I don’t think the steps where you go to Points X, Y, and Z and use your Witcher senses in the nest really help you in any way?

        The quests are dressed up, but quite a lot are “Go to Point X and use your Witcher senses to find an item or kill a monster or talk to a person.” Mix in one or more of these options, some dialogue throughout, and The Witcher 3 is an utterly conventional and generic RPG.

        Worse, it suffers from a very bad case of AssCreed map substituting for generic “Go kill 5 monsters/bandits/wildlife” quests. There aren’t really any “Kill 5 monsters/bandits” quests (vandals, sure) but you’re going to do a hell of a lot of it if you’re a completionist or just want to see what’s in an area.

        And don’t get me started on how they straight up re-use the entering Flotsam “defend a mage in a bubble while they walk through along a path” scene from The Witcher 2. Fetch quests, annoying escorts (made even more annoying than the first time, somehow), this game has it all. Regardless of how much you enjoy it, it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend it’s doing anything really new or different rather than prettily and mostly well-executed (though I do agree with others that the writing is mostly mediocre and very definitely catering to adolescent young men).

  3. ansionnach says:

    No thanks. Can easily think of a pile of real RPGs I haven’t played that are not only dirt cheap… I already own them. This one will be forgotten once the hype is over.

  4. Darth Gangrel says:

    I really wanted to like Dragon Age: Origins, but it just felt like it overstayed its welcome, had far too much filler in form of enemy encounters and the combat wasn’t very fun. That the party AI was stupid and needed to be micromanaged to not go fubar just made it worse. In very crowded end-game sections, the game also failed to respond and I needed to click like five times to activate a spell or healing potion. Otherwise, I had no problem running it on my 2.3 GHz dual core laptop, but just when you needed it the most in those tough, clusterf*ck encounters, the game refused to acknowledge commands such as spells and healing potions. Being a completionist I did everything and by the end of it, 300 hours and two playthroughs (warrior and mage) later, I got burned out.

    So it’s good that there’s a demo of this game, because I’m not sure that I ever would want to play a Dragon Age game again if it’s like DA: O. The talk of filler and fetch quests isn’t encouraging, but a demo is a far better way to judge it than what people say. Lots of people love DA: O, but I learned to resent it.

    • Volcanu says:

      Im not surprised you feel it overstayed its welcome if you played it for 300 hours!!!

      Why on earth did you play through it twice if you found it such a chore? Im not having a go, Im just genuinely surprised/curious…

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I’ve found that in some games you need to play through it once to get to know it and so I accepted that I would suck at it the first time. It went much better the second time as an elven mage, because mages are overpowered. I made the mistake of choosing a human warrior the first time and playing it on Normal, instead of Easy where friendly fire is disabled, meaning all cool area-of-effect spells were meaningless.

        While the combat was dreadful, almost everything else was really good, so I gave it a second chance. 300 hours might seem much and it’s the second most played game in my Steam library (first being VtM: Bloodlines at roughly 450 hours), but I like games with replay value and will spend a lot of time with games I like. For such a big game, 300 hours isn’t that much and I played Bloodlines a lot before its discs got corrupted and I had to buy on Steam.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          Bloodlines is actually just 347 hours, but I played it a dozen times before I got it on Steam, so 450 hours or more is probably correct.

          I think I’ve played The Witcher 1 for 300 hours, but since I got it from GoG I can’t tell exactly. That game is also long, but never feels like a drag. In fact, it’s got some of the most fun combat in any RPG I’ve played. I don’t mind the rhytm-based clicking needed to produce combos, because the animations are so good and varied that I never get tired of watching them. The “stun and do a fancy execution move” mechanic you can do with the Aard Sign is also very fun to execute.

    • ansionnach says:

      Had a 2.2GHz C2D when I played it and I had some issues here and there. I stripped down the AI to nothing and gradually built up quite detailed scripts for each character and was quite satisfied with it. There are quite a few bits that are very substandard – the short enough Fade section and all of the dwarf fortress bit spring to mind. Even though it’s a stripped-down, simplified RPG at least Bioware tried with this one. They haven’t even attempted to make an RPG since.

    • suibhne says:

      There were many things I loved about DA:O – at the time, I thought it was the best RPG in a few years. Yet I also thought if got pretty old by the end, and it took me years to get around to actually finishing it.

      The brain-dead party AI was a real detriment to Fun, and requiring players to invest points in “Tactics” was ridiculous. Basically, if you wanted to use the game’s (semi-decent) approach to mitigating the terrible, terrible AI, you had to invest character points into doing so. Totally baffling decision on Bioware’s part.

  5. anHorse says:

    Six hours about covers the timeframe it took for me to get bored with DA:I, the writing and the combat were just not hooking me.

    Either go full on action RPG where I only need to play one party member or full on with a tactical system where I have to control them all, don’t do some rubbish middle ground that captures the joy of neither aspect

  6. manio22 says:

    Nice try Origin.

  7. skyturnedred says:

    Well, I am now downloading 25 GB demo just to see if it works on my rig. Well played, EA.

  8. Hebrind says:

    Wow, that is a lot of hate for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Is it really that bad, or has The Witcher 3 come along and outshone it and now DA:I is “bad”? I think a perspective check is needed, if I’m perfectly honest.

    I enjoyed my time with DA:I immensely, I don’t think it deserves the hate it’s garnering here. Haven’t played W3 myself, but I’m sure that even if it is better than DA:I, I wouldn’t think DA:I is a “Bad” game. It’s gorgeous, the story was a lot of fun to play (that grey wardens quest!) and the characters were, in my humble opinion, on par with the Origins cast, which were stellar. Yeah the quest content was sometimes a bit MMO-ish and fetch-quests can get boresome, and I didn’t really understand why they had you customise your keep, that felt a bit forced. But is that enough to call it a “bad” game?

    But then I suppose that’s the world of amateur reviews isn’t it? Everything is either an amazefest or dumpy turd. There isn’t a middle ground there, it seems.

    And yeah, Origin sucks, but it’s here to stay. I think it’s high time we all got over it, and accept the fact that Steam isn’t the all-encompassing overlord of digital distribution. You can’t blame EA for wanting to curate their own games, it makes business sense. Everything is massively overpriced, though, because – y’know – EA. I understand that.

    • Laurentius says:

      It’s not that bad, at certain moments I can describe it as Bioware’s pleasant cRPG romp. On the other hand it is really underwhelming. Like there is no way not to say that story is bad, the main villan is cliched and laughable. Suprisingly whole tamplar/mages conflict quickly takes back seat and mostly we read and hear about not witnessing it at all. Main story is short and ending is extremally rushed. Tying story to the world is absolutely terrible, which really is mind boggling why to create this whole open world ? There is actually only one quest that does it and it’s best moment of the game: Gray Wardens Quest. Generally going through main storyline requires acumulating/grinding power to unlock special mission location despite swaths of detailed and huge locations almost completely unsued. All in allI I am sure that beating the game I have my money worth and yet I still feel that I have misspent my money something that doesn’t happend to me since SW:Force Unleashed.
      Witcher 3 is not this perfect marrying open world with strong narrative as CDPR claims to be it is way better at trying though and in result is far more satisfying.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        The way you describe the Templar-Mage war is completely accurate – it plays second fiddle to the rift problem for the first half of the game, and then is resolved in an entirely unsatisfactory way and promptly forgotten about, apart from a few throwaway lines of dialogue while you wander around towns and such. I don’t dislike DA:I, but that whole plotline was thoroughly underwhelming considering how much shit we went through in DA2 trying to prevent the damned war from starting in the first place.

        In some ways it reminds me of the whole civil war in Skyrim, which as we all know amounted to, “Let’s all stand around waiting for the Dragonborn to pick a side, then only fight when and where they do” (which of course was symptomatic of the game’s larger problems, but nevertheless was as equally anticlimactic as the DA:I war). It makes me wonder if this is an issue of scale – wars make excellent backdrops for fantasy settings, but most RPG engines aren’t optimized for handling Total War style battles, or even M&B-sized ones. It seems like there’s a discrepancy between what the writers want to achieve, and what is technically feasible, which is surprising, since we’re talking about AAA studios that should have considered issues like this in pre-production.

    • Jenks says:

      I thought the tanking combat was fun, I tried the other classes in multiplayer and didn’t find them nearly as engaging. I played through the campaign as a warrior and really enjoyed the amount of control you have over the battlefield, and the guard mechanic was good too. The other classes felt way too shallow to dig into a long RPG with, IMO.

    • Auldman says:

      No, I think you’re right on the money here. DAI is not a perfect rpg but it’s not an awful one either. It’s a flawed but good one. I think where it fails is in the main story which is too short. BioWare have a good story here but did not spend enough time with it and maybe the forthcoming story dlc which tidys up the ending will do that for them. They also failed to make secondary quests interesting enough which is something the Witcher 3 does a much better job at. I still think where DAI hit it’s best stride was in the really good characters BioWare gave us. All of them are interesting. The open world of DAI also has it’s interesting moments. I don’t think BioWare hit a home run on this one but they didn’t fail either. You know, gamers, there is a middle ground sometimes. ;)

    • Cronstintein says:

      After seeing the terrible quality degradation from DA1->DA2 I started at ‘wait and see’ for this title. Then post-release descriptions seemed to indicate it was a grindy slog with mmo-lite combat… meh.

      I might pick it up when it hits $5 but I’m certainly in no hurry to play something like that. If I was, isn’t SW:TOR basically the same thing? Bioware writing + bad mmo combat? Meh.

      Meh I say!

    • icarussc says:

      No, no, I also enjoyed the game tremendously. The companions were great, the areas were spectacular, and the whole thing was so beautiful it hurt. I was not the least bit disappointed with it — best RPG I’ve played since Torment.

      I realize it’s a lost cause trying to convince people, but I say things like this in case someone’s not sure. Go for it, hypothetical potential buyer! You may love it, as I did!

  9. PsychoWedge says:

    All this pointless discussion about how shitty this game is in comparison to Witcher 3’s shittyness… Really?

    The interesting question is: Why are they doing a demo now, 8 MONTHS after release? The game is still 60 bucks, so nobody who hasn’t already bought it will buy it know for the same price. They are not releasing a new DLC or anything in that regard. The only relatively relevant news lately was that apparently only 1% of all the Xbox players bought the first and only DLC which makes that a fucking great deal for M§.. xD

    So, why? Why out of nowhere at a totally random date do they release this demo?

    • A Pair of Pliers says:

      Was about to say that there’s an -40% coupon off non-pre-orders on Origin, but looks like that ran out just as they kicked out the Inquisition trial. Which seems a bit dumb, but guess there’s more money to be squeezed out yet.

    • Asurmen says:

      Have to disagree with this. Months after a release is the best time, for them, to release a demo. It gives people sitting on the fence a chance to play and gets your game back in the news, without distracting your team with producing a demo during development.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        But who is sitting 3/4 of a year after release on a fence and can’t decide but is still willing to pay 60 euros/dollars? That’s a long enough time for everybody with even a mild interest to check it out at some friend’s console/account. 2 or 3 months I would understand and even agree, but 8 months…

        • PsychoWedge says:

          also, please excuse my English. I seem to have lost the ability to structure sentences properly…

        • Asurmen says:

          Because not everyone has access to a console/friend’s account.

    • Wulfram says:

      I think they’re mostly trying to get some extra people playing MP, which generates money for them by micro-transactions.

      Though it seems likely that they’ve got DLC coming soon or announcing soon. Rumours suggest something approaching expansion size

  10. S Jay says:

    Still Origin exclusive? *sigh*

  11. Be_reasonable says:

    Origin. *Closes article*

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I get that it’s annoying that Origin requires you to use their proprietary client to play certain games (and I threw a fit for an hour or so when I found out that was the only way to play DA:I), but really, all it means is double-clicking on an orange icon instead of a blue one. Why boycott the client entirely for that small inconvenience?