Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Back in the spotlight recently, due to Bioware’s latest game, Mass Effect Andromeda, to some extent aping its MMO/Ubimap-like structure. I have mixed feelings about Dragon Age: Inquisition. On the one hand, I thought it had a great cast of companion characters, boasting both charisma and weirdness (say hello to Solas, above). On the other, I never finished the thing, having burned out on frantic random encounter combat, endless pursuit of icons and the ever-spinning loot’n’craft wheel before the storyline could resolve.
I don’t think it’s even remotely a disaster, or even the red-headed stepchild of the Dragon Age family. I think, in fact, it’s Bioware’s best game since Mass Effect 2, particularly in terms of characterisation.
I enjoyed my time with it quite a bit, but inherently struggle with almost any repeated activity, and increasingly it felt as though DAI was defined by repeated activities.
I do fear every big budget game slowly morphing into an icon-based open world game, I must admit. But I think it’s time to accept that this is what’s going to happen to what we once might have called RPGs, because that’s what sells. I hope that the next Dragon Age can find ways to advance, rather than simply siphon, the formula.