The truth hurts
Ah, Dragon Age. You came and conquered, with your dragon slaying, templar defiling, open-world, giant nug-riding immensity. So why, after 100 hours of my lazing-on-the-sofa-doing-nothing devotion, ending my journey in the deadly peaks of Emprise du Lion with ruins to spare, do I feel a little less than loved? Dont panic, I still worship you, but thats not going to stop me from dissecting you. Sorry!
Because, in spite of our admiration for Varrics chest hair and Iron Bulls mighty breasts, in the end, BioWare could still do something to improve you. Or eight somethings, actually. So here are the improvements I dare to suggest, nestled within the heart of Dragon Age: Inquisitions crucial RPG components. Beware, mild spoilers ahead!
A hands-on Skyhold
Upon first seeing the colossal Skyhold, the Sims-obsessed part of me trembled with glee. My very own castle. A dungeon! Even a wine cellar! Mine all mine! The possibilities of personalisation seemed endless.
Endlessly functionless, that is. Most of Skyholds customisable faucets are void of purpose, aside from being a visual feast. The biggest nuisance is the lack of an inventory chest in the unnecessarily enormous, private quarters, rendering repeated visits to sell unwanted loot a continuous annoyance. Such simple, functioning aspects would be a welcome addition to our personalised castles; taking post dragon slaying naps in my inquisitor-sized bed for example. Thatd be just lovely.
Elf, Dwarf, Qunari-who?
Undeniably, BioWare delivers fantastic, non-human companions, with Iron Bulls irresistible voice, Solas unhealthy relationship with demons, Varrics wit and we wont talk about Sera. So, Dragon Age: Inquisition isnt just about humans, right?
Wrong. In conversation and lore, BioWare tells us about the turbulent political status of the dwarfs, elves and the qunari. The key word being tells, given that, besides the companions, rarely do we interact with other races. Theres a pathetically small Dalish camp, some token ancient elves and rebel dwarfs, but thats it. It leaves a huge qunari-less hole in the game. So, perhaps in future DLC, BioWare could integrate more involvement with the other races, because humans are, well, really boring.
But I thought we were best friends?
Especially prevalent in the second half of the game, the strong bond between Inquisitor and companion seems to become slack. If, like me, you develop a relationship with your companions early (theyre just so damn lovable), conversation options dry out quickly. Its not quite as bad as listening to Garrus obsession with finishing his calibrations, but its getting there.
Consequently, itd be great to see some additional loyalty quests, to bolster character development and to strengthen relationships between us and our favourite companions. While I revel in making imperative decisions for my friends, the aftermath of stale chit-chat leaves me feeling a little cheated.
Waggy tail required
Everyone loves dogs, with their floppy ears, wet noses and unshaken loyalty. Unless you dont then maybe you should move to the next slide. Nonetheless, considering BioWare provides your inquisitor with a castle and boyfriend/girlfriend/godfriend, it seems rather cruel that mans best buddy doesnt make an appearance.
A mabari war-hound would be a valuable companion on the battlefield. Instead of the search feature, we could make use of a Fable-esque mabari nose-radar, on top of an extra pair of teeth in battle. The beloved mabari companion was a hit in Dragon Age: Origins, so why isnt it here?
The world is too big for repetitive quests
BioWare delivers an engrossing story, with edge-of-your-seat twists married with badass inquisitor moments. However, for all the completionists out there, main quests are too few and far between, in consideration of the vastness of Inquisitions thirteen areas.
Truthfully, there are only so many fade rifts, fetch quests and who-put-what-invaluable-treasure-where mysteries a player can do before the pace simply loses momentum. Dragon Age: Inquisition could certainly learn a thing or two from games like Divinty: Original Sin or Skyrim when it comes to a much needed injection of engrossing fillers, preventing our minds evaporating through repetition.
A call for cinematic final kills
The sheer thrill of executing a final blow at the end of difficult battles in Dragon Age: Origins is unforgettable. Especially after being bludgeoned way too many times by an extraordinary foe like Flemmeth, swinging around the beasts head and performing a finishing mid-air strike, Final Fantasy style, makes me cackle with vicious pleasure.
So, why isnt this mechanic included in Dragon Age: Inquisition? Without this final gratification for our gruesome efforts, the aftermath of epics battles falls a little flat. We could say that removing cinematic kills endorses a sense of realism, but were talking about dragons and giant nugs here. Besides, who doesnt need more slow-mo action shots in their lives?
Please dont make me scramble up that hill again
Shards. Shards everywhere. I hate shards. But using them to open the Temple of Solasaan proffers just rewards, so as much as I hate to say it; theyre worth searching for. This mind-bogglingly boring quest is easy; find the Ocularum, spy the shards, go fetch.
But we are deceived! See that reachable shard peaking at you on the hill? Its not reachable. Instead, you have to jump, scramble, and fall to find a passable route to the golden ticket (50% of the time anyway). Please BioWare, if youre going persecute us like this, at least incorporate fun ways to interact with the environment. Far Cry 4 and Divinity: Original Sin put you to shame in this respect.
Doom Upon All the World in five minutes?
If you explore every area before completing Dragon Age: Inquisitions finale, you may find yourself finishing the ultimate stages of the controller-gripping story arc more rapidly than youd hoped, as a consequence of your over-powered party. But youre not to blame!
The desolate Hissing Wastes and red lyrium-infested Emprise Du Lion have a plethora of extra side quests and striking landscapes to discover at higher levels. Sadly, were punished for that extra gameplay, since Doom Upon All the World is recommended for levels 16-19, rendering our death match with Corpyheus, after extra adventures, easy. Raised difficulty levels would be advantageous here, or dare I say, adding an extra main quest?
Drag'n behind the competition?
So that's my current list of things that could quickly improve Dragon Age's latest and greatest. But how about you? Any particular tweaks you'd like, or do you think it's already perfect as-is? Let me know in the comments.