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Thread: Dragon Age: Inquisition

  1. #26
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    I love how you're all rushing to the defence of a worthless troll like Gabucino.
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    His favourite insult is "fat Americans inhaling cheeseburgers" -- autism is #2.
    One which I hadn't used for literally years until you brought it back up about 4 months ago. You're like a petty grudge elephant. In the aftermath have you noticed where it's been exclusively directed? At you. Throw sand in my eyes, expect to receive the same treatment in kind.
    Last edited by EvaUnit02; 14th Nov 2013 at 12:37.

  2. #27
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    I'm not defending Gabucino, I'm merely taking offense at how you always use "austistic" as an insult, portraying us all as subhuman neckbeards worthy of endless derision. It's a free country so you're free to say stuff like that, but I don't like it, is all I'm saying.

  3. #28
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by EvaUnit02 View Post
    I love how you're all rushing to the defence of a worthless troll like Gabucino.

    One which I hadn't used for literally years until you brought it back up about 4 months ago. You're like a petty grudge elephant. In the aftermath have you noticed where it's been exclusively directed? At you. Throw sand in my eyes, expect to receive the same treatment in kind.
    LOL ROFL LMFAO HA HA HA HA you're an idiot and that's not even close to true.

    And you know what? You can call me a cheeseburger inhaler all you want (it's inaccurate, as I do not eat beef, but don't let that stop you) but at least being a cheeseburger inhaler is better than being a sheepfucker. BAA

    Go away.

  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    His favourite insult is "fat Americans inhaling cheeseburgers" -- autism is #2. I don't even get the Owl City thing.
    Don't be silly detholl if you inhaled cheesburgers you'd get an infection in your lungs or somethin

  5. #30
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Dragon Age Inquisition is $20 USD currently on sale from Origin Mexico using the usual method.

    Also on Origin Mexico the recent Jaws of Hakkon DLC can be had for $10 USD vs. $15 asking price from the US store.

  6. #31
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    If anyone cares, the next DLC expansion is out next week.

  7. #32
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Bioware slipped out the final story-based DLC expansion while nobody was looking.

    “You are the Inquisitor and you must decide the Inquisition’s final fate. A tremendous enemy threatens Thedas. The stakes are nothing less than the future of the Inquisition. Your mark burns with the magic of the Fade. Danger is everywhere. Thwart assassins. Fight back an invasion. Even after the Breach has been closed, Dragon Age: Inquisition – Trespasser presents an all-new single player adventure that ups the stakes and then some.”
    At $25 NZD a piece for this and The Descent, I'm definitely waiting for a sale. I SO would've bought both of these by now if the Origin Mexico trick still worked.

  8. #33
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here

    warning: long post ahead

    I've sunk 80+ hours into DA:I over 2016, and I can't tell you why.

    Well, I have an inkling. It's probably something to do with hope.

    The House That Hope Skinner Built

    Okay, I was lying. But it's interesting to see what's changed under the hood of the latest Bioware epic, and what this means for the future of the studio's output. In the time I've spent playing DA:I, the immediate impression is that it's full of more unnecessary fluff than a feather pillow stuffed with bunnies.

    It's probably a good idea to recap what happened with DA2, which was a game that was obviously a smallish writerly project expanded into a mainline entry, with (probably) half the budget of DA:O. As such, it was a game with some interesting yet boring/conflicted character arcs set in a stuffy old city, which isn't the biggest sin in the world, you know?

    What was the biggest sin in the world was the combat, which had... misplaced priorities. To quote one of the preview videos, 'Every time you press a button, something awesome happens'. What this translated to were mages who were walking particle effects factories that were ineffective and squishy as hell, and encounters so full of trash mobs and waves of enemies that spawned in at random, it made me want to break something. (RIP, my old Logitech keyboard. You had the best space bar.)

    With DA:I, though, It shows that Bioware can learn from feedback in that almost every one of these issues is addressed, in a fashion far more generous than needed.

    • Combat sees you dealing with enemies in more open spaces and with less wave-based shenanigans; even when there are waves, the position of enemy spawns is telegraphed a few seconds before they come in, and if you've got a character with the requisite ability, you can even prevent one or two from spawning in. It's still based on the ol' tank-aggro generation-DPS dealers mix, but then, how many party-based RPGs aren't?
    • The explorable areas are large, dense with detail, and beautifully crafted. There's no more of the traditionally modular, boxy and boxed-in linear environments Bioware's been doing since they moved to full 3D, and nowhere is this newfound freedom better celebrated than in the dedicated jump button. That's right: in DA:I, you can jump like a loon. And no, you can't mantle. Let's keep our expectations a little, ah, grounded, eh?
    • Companions are still a mixture of archetypes and quirks combined in a weirdly dispassionate way, except for Sera, who is unhinged and alternately annoying/hilarious. It's still enjoyable - party banter is back and very welcome, there's a lot of it, and you get to regularly check in with companions and have different things to jaw about after each primary quest is completed.

    Of course, none of these is without its flaws. Spaces are more intricate in their traversal, but don't approach the intimate architectural design that causes Dark Souls' environments to twist back onto themselves. The tactical camera from DA:O returns, but doesn't pull back far enough to be as useful as it was in DA:O. Combat veers towards not challenging enough even on the harder difficulty levels.

    The big flaw, though, is that Bioware decided to bring a raft of new mechanics to fill in the expanded scope of its environment design. I haven't played The Old Republic, but it's probably fair to say that it's had the biggest influence on this game's triumphs and problems. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, throw the kitchen sink at it.

    You can actually see the beginnings of this in DA2. There were side quests -- if that term can be applied -- where random NPCs wanted you to find junk they'd lost or otherwise misplaced. You'd come across these in one of the drearily samey dungeons at random while on an another quest, and when you were back in the city you could click on the NPC and they'd say a word or two of thanks and you'd get some XP. Exciting!

    For DA:I, this remains the same, but with the added bonus of them requiring not just one thing, but X number of them, over a much larger area. How can anyone find this sort of thing fun?


    Almost all of us here are conditioned to enjoy games. That's why we keep playing them. We see the Skinner box, we know how it works, yet we do the dance to get our reward. The hope is that the effort put in is fun on its own merits, and the reward is substantial enough a pay-off to keep that cycle going -- if it isn't, we move on to something better.

    The reason why MMOs like WoW are addictive is because they're a nested set of Skinner boxes. Almost everything is designed to reap you a reward when played right, and if the rewards+unlocks happen at the perfect set of intervals, it's a high that can be intoxicating and validating when shared with friends. The effect breaks down, though, when there isn't enough variety to what you're tasked with. DA:I recognises this, so what it does is... give you more tasks.

    Let's take a look at its systems, which are best represented by the meters you need to game.

    Character Level: Your basic RPG metric for progression
    Influence: Measures the Inquisition's hold over areas of Thedas
    Power: Not really a measure of power; earned as usable points earned to unlock gated areas
    Approval: Gauges companion opinion of you

    Not too complicated at first blush, right? Let's dive in and get a little more detailed.

    • You gain XP for each completed quest/enemy killed equal to or greater than your own level, and that pushes your character level up.
    • Influence is earned alongside most quests, landmarks you claim, war-table missions you send your advisors on, and certain conversation choices.
    • Power is earned alongside most quests, landmarks you claim, and fade rifts you close.
    • Approval is essentially gained or lost with certain dialogue choices/decisions you make, like most Bioware games. As far as I can tell, it mostly affects your romance options.

    **Landmarks and fade rifts get their own quests, but are different in that each rift or landmark nets you some sort of reward in terms of influence or power, apart from a bunch of both when you find all the landmarks or close all the rifts.

    Aside from this:

    -There's a fair amount of crafting to be done - requisitions are another form of quest that require you to craft stuff by collecting X number of things, usually gained by killing Y number of unsuspecting wildlife/humans/things. Crafting also requires resources, which are pretty common all around the landscape. DA:I helpfully highlights these for you, in a radius of about a metre or two. If you press a key that works as a sort of personal radar. Essentially, you're going to be pinging the landscape for stuff almost every other second like some sort of stupid ambulatory land submarine, only not as cool and without nearly enough ballistic missiles.

    -If you find enough resources, you can also use these to level up your potions, grenades, and poisons to be more effective or boost some of your stats.

    -If you find enough enemy bits and trinkets, you can deposit them at a research table to get a damage bonus for their specific type.

    -If you're wandering around and find a song or lyric, you can head back to the tavern to hear the bard sing them for you.

    -While you're wandering around, you'll find glowing skulls (Ocularums) which highlight shards scattered across the landscape. This is a standard quest in every area. Find all the shards, and you get more influence and power. Later on, and this is a spoiler, you find a dungeon with three rooms, each of which requires X number of shards to open, where you can battle enemies and earn some decent gear that's resistant to one of the three elements, which can be useful when you want to fight any of the ten dragons in the various areas that drop sweet loot, power, and influence when you've killed them.

    -There are also Astrariums in each area, which are connect-the-dots constellation puzzles that give you loot if you find and finish all of them (usually 3) for that particular map.

    -If you gain enough Influence to level it up, you earn a perk that you can choose from a list that includes, amongst other things, earning X% more crafting resources per click or quicker resolution to war table missions.

    And that reminds me: war table missions. Essentially, you choose from a map to send one of your three advisors out on a side-quest, usually some sort of diplomatic intrigue that's briefly alluded to in a paragraph or two. Each one takes X amount of time to complete, during which that advisor will be out of commission (for other war-table sorties, not in the actual game). When the counter winds down, they'll return with a debrief of what happened (a few lines or a paragraph), a reward item, and more Influence points.

    What's funny about this is that it's a mobile app (P2W MMOs as well, probably?) conceit, usually where you pay real-world money to have the timer run down quicker. Here, you just wait in real-time for your guaranteed reward, or grind enough influence for a perk to make it faster. And the result IS guaranteed no matter who you sent; the outcome is always a successful mission.

    All of this is while ignoring the collectible customisation options for your hold, the collectible steeds, the ways you can customise the appearance of items you craft with dyes from certain resources, or the hidden bottles strewn around the world, or the collectible mosaic piece treasure hunts.

    I think you get the idea. Most of these seem okay, or even nice, on their own. But all together? The kitchen sink can suck it. This is the kitchen sink to end all kitchen sinks - the kitcheniest, the sinkiest. All kitchen sinks lead to the Inquisition, which rises from the rinsey gloop like a demonic Brillo pad made of all the elfroot in that nightmare you had of being stuck in a timeloop where you clicked on a bunch of plants and watched yourself go *snip snip*, forever.

    In the end, the reason why I sunk so many hours into this game is because part of me likes predictable, comfortable loops. As much as I hate to admit it, the principle works on a basic level, as long as you evolve or change it up from time to time. DA:I fails to recognise this, and instead confuses quantity for quality, which is its biggest error. The systems never go beyond a mechanically shallow method for quick gratification via bigger numbers and brief showers of particle effects, and the final impression is of a game filled with staggering amounts of busywork.

    It's a shame, because the rest of the game's fairly decent. It's consistently gorgeous, and the story/conversations are classic Bioware comfort food. It's not particularly ambitious or personal in its storytelling, but it is epic in scope, bombastic, and entertaining when it chooses to be, which is not often enough.

    In the end, someone really needs to clear out that goddamn kitchen sink. Hopefully in time for that next Mass Effect on the horizon.

    TL;DR? Yeah, The Witcher 3 is pretty fucking great
    Last edited by Sulphur; 2nd Jan 2017 at 06:00.

  9. #34
    I put about 10 hours into it and finally said "where is any of the shit that I actually enjoyed from previous Bioware games".

  10. #35
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    It's there, you just have to work for it. Over and over again.

  11. #36
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here

    Continuing the pursuit of pointlessness, I wrapped up DA:I's campaign and moved onto the DLC. It's pretty clear what the problem with this game is: it's not just the busywork, it's the execution.

    DA's always had a problem with execution. DA:O was ambitious, but couldn't decide if it wanted to be Baldur's Gate 2 or Michael Bay's Lord of the Rings. It managed to balance things ever so slightly on the BG2 side, so it rinsed out all right in the end (idiotic blood-spattered post-battle conversations aside). DA2 was a more compact, budget take full of level design shortcuts, backtracking, inane combat, and a whole lot of brown, all in service of the 'every time you press a button, something awesome happens' philosophy their marketing team wanted you to swallow. DA:I was a reaction to the criticism: fine, we'll make it more full of content than you've ever seen before! More environments! More lore! More characters! More everything!

    Sturgeon's law has never been more apt, but this time the game's so big, you can apply it to everything within the game. See, there's good ideas here - choices that could matter in the endgame, characters to win or scorn, alliances to make or break, lore that has deep implications for the gameworld. But almost all of it's been smeared like a bland paste across the game in ways that belie the effort put in. There's a lot in common between DA:I and TW3, but the crucial difference is TW3 executed all of this better.

    Choices, for instance. We're talking about choices you made in DA:O coming back to haunt you in DA:I, in terms of how you saved the land back then. I had a cutscene with Morrigan and her son, who harboured the soul of an elder god after I decided in DA:O to trust her (I know, interesting choice). Flemeth makes a sudden late-game appearance and decides to fuck around with Morrigan for a bit, then takes the god's soul for... what? You never find out. The game acknowledges your earlier decision in a fascinating study of consequence, then renders it meaningless. It's all the more sad given the amount of effort it puts into acknowledging the kind of person you are - if you're a mage, or qunari, there will be different attitudes to discern from various NPCs. It could have gone that much further, but in the end, it remains flavour text/VO with no impact to your quests.

    That sort of missed opportunity reflects on everything else, including the endgame. There's some decent companion quests/cutscenes you can experience after most major campaign missions, and they're entertaining and setup choices like enabling someone's drug addiction (cheery, innit?). You'd expect that to tie in somewhere by the end, but then... the game ends. The final mission has its climactic boss battle, then a celebratory party with a bunch of people standing around who'll talk at you for a few lines, capped by a quick interlude from whomever you romanced. You can wrap this up in 3 minutes flat, after which it's followed by a deeply unsatisfying set of VOs that chart what happened next. You'll note that TW3 follows almost the same structure, but it manages to do more with it.

    I played some of the DLC - completed The Descent, which was mildly entertaining, with some great last-minute environments but ultimately more of the same Deep Roads cave skulking we've had for three games straight - and I'm in the middle of Jaws of Hakkon right now. It's a beautiful setting, with lots of scarpering about its verticality through mountain trails and spiral staircases wrapped around trees, and it's just lovely. While travelling around, you'll find all sorts of notes and lore that reflect the land you're in, and almost without exception, everything you find is utterly mundane. A tribe that believes in ghosts as gods, random notes from explorers, journals left by people... it's all written in as vanilla a fashion as possible. The characters you encounter are simple ciphers for whatever busywork they want you to do, with the blandest of personalities you can imagine. This is doubly boring when your Inquisitor's questions are transparently tailored around extracting as much of an infodump as possible.

    It's a shame. All of this could have been better, but the pall of mediocrity just defines so much apart from the lovely environmental design. While I feel TW3, as good as it is, could be even better if they'd scoped it to have a smaller amount of quests with the same amount of effort and intimacy as The Bloody Baron ones, I have the feeling that DA:I's universal Touch of Bland isn't a problem of scale or prioritising: this is a team that needs to start taking bigger risks from the ground up instead of wasting its energies on creating things that are safe and unremittingly boring.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 31st Jul 2017 at 04:29.

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