I Wish Dragon Age: Inquisition Respected My Time

I Wish Dragon Age: Inquisition Respected My Time

Conventional wisdom suggests the longer it takes to finish a game, the better — especially RPGs. We even have websites, such as How Long to Beat, tasked with cataloging the length of games. The clock on my just-finished Dragon Age: Inquisition save reads 64 hours and four minutes. How come, then, after so many hours with Inquisition, I feel so empty, and glad it's all over?

Sixty-four hours accounts for more than two full days of my life. That's...a lot. Honestly, though, it felt like far longer, since I started in November. Inquisition often felt as though it would never end. It wasn't until I decided to ignore the nearly endless side missions that I was able to see the credits roll, quickly realising so much of what's scattered in Thedas often amounts to busywork.

I'm not the first person on Kotaku to talk about Inquisition's filler problem, either.

Here's how I felt after starting Inquisition:

Ah, memories.

As I've gotten older and personal responsibilities mount up, I have less time to spend with my favourite hobby. It means I've come to value shorter, efficient experiences. But I'll still make time for sprawling games requiring dozen of hours to complete, as was the case here. Whenever Bethesda decides to ship another Fallout or Elder Scrolls game, sign me up. But I have less tolerance for games without a deep respect for the time I put into them, and Inquisition didn't. If often felt I'd spend whole afternoons with Inquisition and feel as if no progress was made.

The "open world" has had a profound effect on game design. Developers spend so much time building sprawling landscapes with the latest tech can offer, then scramble to fill them with something (anything!) to do. Most quests given to players in Inquisition amount to little more than collect X item or hunt Y enemy. Even quests with a fascinating premise fall into this trap. A particularly memorable sequence involves entering a dark, creepy mansion inhabited by a demon. Furniture shuffles a bit, and weird noises echo the hallways. What's next? You read a few diary entries and slay a demon. Back to collecting shards. (I need to hire an intern for that.)

Despite all my time in Thedas, it seems like I barely got to know my companions. Their quests were over in the blink of an eye, and few were as revealing as, say, the truth of Dorian's past. It seems so odd to have invested so much and come away knowing so little, but it accurately reflects the game's prioritization of content as king. Not all content is made equal, however.

In the first 20 hours, I read every codex entry, and soaked in the world around me. In the next 40 hours or so, I was skipping through dialogue after reading the subtitles, closing codex entries as soon as they appeared on the screen, and pulling up walkthroughs to see how much of the game was left. The world of Dragon Age is fantastic, a politically-charged land of endless class and historical warfare. Unfortunately, its desire to pad out the experience dulls its premise.

If one squints, it's easy to imagine Inquisition as an MMO. The quest design is eerily similar. MMOs are time sinks, and it's why I haven't bothered with them. But I understand their appeal. MMOs serve as terrific venues to spend time with people. It's a glorified chat room. Storytelling and handcrafted content are sacrificed for the enhanced social experience. Recently at Giant Bomb, I wrote about how the MMO-ification of video games was beginning to blur the lines between single-player and multiplayer. If you're a fan of single-player, the trends are worrying.

"In Halo, it's a great singleplayer experience greatly complimented by its co-op and multiplayer. It doesn't feel like one is sacrificed for the other. In Destiny, it's a great multiplayer experience that just so happens to include a single player experience, even it's not really recommended."

Inquisition is not an MMO. It's MMO-like content without the benefit of hanging with friends.

It'd be easy to point the finger at Inquisition's interface inefficiencies too. Who wants to spend an hour in that confusing crafting interface? How come I have to travel back to my war table to assign new missions to my comrades? Why isn't someone from the Inquisition gathering herbs and metals for me? This is a world with magic and dragons, a world in which I'm a Jesus-like hero, but most of my time is spent doing grunt work. Picking flowers doesn't feel very heroic.

Flowers, rocks, and other materials are integral to creating the best weapons in Inquisition. It's basically required. In last year's Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, it's more or less a collectible. Yes, it feeds into the upgrade system, but once the player becomes all-powerful, the incentive disappears. Despite this, I spent many hours roaming the landscapes of Mordor in search of more plants to collect. How come? The game makes it easy. When there's a plant nearby, the game gives me a friendly alert, and lets me know where it is, and I don't have to wait several seconds for my character to finish plucking it from the ground. Quick, easy, efficient. The desire to fill up a game's landscapes is understandable, but it must also be enjoyable to find it all too.

Don't get me started on the Assassin's Creed games.

There's much to "do" in Inquisition, but how much of it is meaningful? Sorry to point fingers, but how much are we to blame? Given how we talk about games, how much weight we put on length being a determination of quality, aren't we encouraging this behaviour? We expect an RPG to be dozens, if not hundreds, of hours long, but are the hours well-spent? If BioWare announced the next Mass Effect would be only be 20 hours long, people would riot. But if it meant 20 hours of consequential character development, I'll happily sacrifice the extra time.

Hey, games are expensive. $90 is nothing to sniff at. We use time as a measuring stick because burning $90 isn't an option for most of us. I'd argue wasting two days of our lives isn't great, but I see where people are coming from. A long story doesn't have to be bad, but length isn't objectively good, either. Games like Inquisition need to find a better balance between the two.


Comments

    This thought seems to have come up more often in recent times. I honestly don't think developers need to strike a balance. There is room enough for both the sprawling epic to exist alongside shorter experiences.

    We as gamers need to learn what we really want to play better instead of complaining about the games that don't cater to our EXACT taste.

      Well put, @brancha. Despite mentioning that some gamers may need to point the finger at themselves, the author avoids fully admitting that it was his choice to spend as much time playing Inquisition as he did. I think it's much more a case of Patrick disrespecting his own time through a combination of ignorance and hardheadedness.

      I'd rather a short game that I could play through 3-4 times than a 6 week journey of flower picking, random shopping list quests left on pieces of paper lying about.

        And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. To each their own. Sometimes I would definitely prefer the same. Sometimes, I want to lose myself in Fallout 3. I don't like the Ubisoft shopping lists, but some do and I wouldn't want them removed just to suit my taste to the detriment of others.

        I'm just saying that I'm very happy both kinds of games exist, and I'm tired of people whining about games that don't "respect their time." Everyone knew that DA:I had the potential to be that kind of game going in. If you prefer a shorter experience, please go and play one.

          Oh look a note... I wonder what it says.... Walk to other side of map... Where you were.... 5 minutes ago... :)

      You really don't think the game would have benefited with less forced exploration ( in the form of repetitive fetch quests ) and a slightly more linear crafting system ( don't need to stop every 2 feat to pick up flowers )

      I feel it takes away from the games many positive features. I am about 80 - 90 hours in and because I have levelled each class simultaneously I just feel bogged down doing the games less interesting aspects to progress.

      Coke, now sold in 5 litre bottles! 3 litres of it will be water though.

      Agreed, its only in recent times I have looked at games like this and thought to myself; "This really isnt going to be something I will enjoy long enough to actually complete". Its taken me Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Fallout and Skyrim to realise while I do sometimes spend a lot of time on them (Fallout especially) I never actually finish them. Now I just don't dont bother playing them. To each their own.

      Absolutely. There are loads of social issues to consider that make games more inclusive instead of alienating and insulting but as individuals we have to at some point understand how far our own personal prejudices extend. I can't fathom how much this guy seems to value his experience over others and this is a growing trend, you can almost feel that no alternate perspective would be considered by him.

      Yeah there's a lot to do in DA:I and asking if it's meaningful is a pretty petty shot, one that's becoming very common. It's so sad that I could point to a whole bunch of video game conventions, storytelling and gameplay conventions that actually exist (to tell story, duh) and make things meaningful and are littered throughout the entirety of the game but it's almost always answered with a MASSIVE generalisation and a complete dismissal of things THAT ACTUALLY EXIST. They don't cease to exist just because you didn't see it, found it boring or it wasn't your first interpretation. It exists and you don't get to generalise just because acknowledgement harms your argument. Your perspective is your perspective, there's nothing wrong with that; but your perspective is not an argument, it's not even really a stance. You need a more to build an argument but people just don't seem to be willing to actually back up what they think any more simply because they seem to feel as if they "don't have to". I'm sorry, just kind of tired of individual, subjective anecdotes being presented as factual information in discourse.

      There are games that flat out don't even work half the time, there are games that are damn ignorant and then there's this game, the one that has trouble keeping you interested when you get past the FORTY-HOUR MARK. Yeah sure, it's all the game's fault. Meaning isn't something inherent in the action you're doing, busywork is not just what you find uninteresting. A lot of what people call "filler" is just stuff they don't like. Empathy exists, use it, you don't get to define everything in accordance with what you feel.

      Games like Inquisition need to find a better balance between the two.

      Massive generalisation from an individual perspective masked as something that actually considers others. I work 6 days a week and the 7th from home, this is the life I chose and I wouldn't have it any other way. I would love it if I had more time but in the absence of that I wouldn't ask a game to suit my EXACT lifestyle. I have to at least assume others enjoy things differently than I do and we all have entertainment choices and compromises to make. Time is yours, suck it up.

      Last edited 07/01/15 2:49 pm

      But its not really a sprawling epic. Its a basic story padded out with busywork until it has the length of a sprawling epic.

      Bioware gave us more in this game sure, and it may sound like its more of what we want. Technically there are more quests, more dragons, more crafting, more looting, more fighting, more and bigger environments, probably twice as much party banter as previous Dragon Age games, more teammates, more romance options. But it ends up diluting the quality of many aspects of the experience (aside from the visual aesthetics, big step up there overall aside from the hair) and leaves us with a shorter weaker plot.

      I think part of the problem is the abstraction that comes from power points. It ends up decoupling a lot of the things we're doing. In past games, I knew exactly why I was doing a particular thing. I was in the Deep Roads because I was trying to find Branka because I'm trying to end a political stalemate between two dwarves vying for the throne. I tried other things to end the stalemate and they ended up not being enough so we're on our hail mary pass here. I need the stalemate ended so that Orzhammar can give me forces for the army I'm building which will help me both fight the Blight and have the political standing to challenge Loghain.

      In Dragon Age Inquisition, I'm doing a thing because somehow it gives me political clout. How much clout? Why 5 points worth of it. And later on I can unlock my important story sequence by spending 20 points worth of that clout, whatever that clout is (soldiers? Good will? Supplies? I dunno). Its a lazy substitute for making your plot have a logical flow of causes and effects.

    Yes, let's agree to disagree.

    The world is so well realized that I'm happy to just adventure around; collecting, crafting, reading, skimming lore if I can't be bothered, chatting, fighting, looting, romancing, deploying agents...

    Sure, I have gripes with a number of things. However, when you consider the game from a big picture perspective, Bioware have produced an accomplished piece of work.

    I like to think of the game like a season of GOT. It's an engaging commitment. Imagine if GOT tried to sum up its story in one or two episodes? No, that wouldn't do at all.

    Anyone diving into these types of games is generally aware that the game will demand your time. Being pedantic about giving the player a 'more balanced' experience in terms of thjs aspect is a bit of a moot point.

    And let's just say coming off the back of grinding Destiny for 2 months, DAI is a breath of fresh air.

    This is one thing that turns me off of western made RPG's for the most part...too much freaking filler (and the other thing is usually a needlessly convoluted and complicated inventory/character system). I also don't want a choice of whether to be a male or female variations of a sorceror, a warrior, a ranger, an elven archer, an undead necromancer or a swordsman, and then be given options to customise them with tattoos, sunglasses and a scarf...I just want to play the role of a character and play the game! All of these possible customisations all tends to mean the story quality suffers as a result, because the story needs to be made more generic to cater for all of the player possibilities.

    Conversely though, I'm currently playing through The Witcher and I'm enjoying it because it doesn't have any of those problems. It has side quests, yes, but they generally don't take very long to knock out, and you're never overwhelmed by a huge number of them. The inventory and character system is diverse but it also makes sense, and you just get to play as Geralt.

    I generally prefer JRPG's, although not many recently have really been up to the quality I'd want. Xenoblade Chronicles was fantastic, and I spent something like 128 hours on that and didn't regret a minute of it. Yes, it had plenty of side quest filler in it too, but it never felt like I was obliged to do it all. I did a lot of it because I wanted to. Pumped for the spiritual sequel to it too sometime this year.

    Last edited 07/01/15 10:31 am

      It's interesting to compare it with Xenoblade, because that game has the exact same problems that DA:I has. Tons of MMO-like fluff quests and so on. But it also has better realized characters, a strong core narrative and incredibly fun gameplay.

      But I couldn't tell you what exactly it does differently that makes it so much more compelling to spend time in than Dragon Age for me. Better music? More fun combat (I find the DA:I combat to be a bit uninteresting, too much downtime where you're not able to do anything and enemies that take too long to kill)? Better plot and more interesting characters? Certainly the characters are one of the weaker elements of Dragon Age for me. A few of them are interesting, but it's a far cry from the quality of the Mass Effect cast for example.

        I haven't played Dragon Age, so I can't really comment on what I think makes Xenoblade better. But I think you probably nailed it that it's got better realised characters and a stronger core narrative. The world it takes place in too is also very unique and not your standard fantasy-type world that DA takes place in. From what I know about DA it does the same thing many western RPG's do in that it gives you about 20 bajillion character customisation options and this seriously restricts the story that can be told and the character development that can happen.

        Yeah, Xenoblade does have tonnes of MMO-like fluff sidequests, but they never really felt like a chore for me. I didn't finish all of them by the time I'd finished the game, but I'd knocked out a significant chunk of them.

        One of the reasons I like The Witcher, even though it's a western RPG, is that you play as one character - Geralt, and get to follow his story, and the narrative is stronger as a result.

        Last edited 07/01/15 1:04 pm

          This is actually one of the reasons I'm really hesitant about getting excited for Xenoblade X. It looks great and it's a follow-up to IMO the best JRPG of last gen. But they seem to be going balls-deep on the whole open world thing, and it's got a roll-your-own protagonist rather than a fixed one. Plus that protagonist appears to be silent. Not feeling great about that.

          The Witcher is awesome but I feel like the reasons it's so good go way beyond the fact you're playing a fixed character. It's more about their insane attention to detail, and the way they're always asking you to make interesting moral decisions which have major implications down the road.

      I have to admit that's my biggest let down of both Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition. I loved Origins. I loved the story of becoming the warden, and in my case, creating the relationship with morrigan which turns out from her point of view, she was only in it to get this child with the sole of an old god, and at the end, feeling like big things were to come from that. I wanted that story to continue in a grand/epic way. Unfortunatly, I can't get that story due to all the choices/different paths you can take, so essentually they're shoe-horned into creating a new story for evey game that only pays lip-service to the events of the previous games.

      But anyway - back on topic. I didn't find the colllecting of items/find object x, talk to person y nature of the quests to be much of a chore - mainly because they wrapped them up in very good/clever scenarios.

      Last edited 07/01/15 12:33 pm

    Publishers force onto the developers the " value for money", or time investment imperative, as they see it. It's bullshit feedback that they tell us is so important since some gamers want value - in this case, making a longer game that hurts the experience, because that works, and gamers who like hearing PR spin like - 'the next Zelda is a 50', hour game, or what ever example you choose, actually get excited about how much " value for money" they'll get. They are gamers who love that BS - so publishers and even some developers, wreak games like DA Inquisition, and another good example is Alien Isolation. That game was wreaked for myself for how stupidly ridiculously long it was.

    Last edited 07/01/15 10:33 am

    I utterly loved this game, but there is definitely a weird problem with how it explains importance/value of it's side content.

    The crafting, collecting and war table (among others) mechanics seem built for the micro-managers/infinite-time-havers among us. It's completely viable to stick to "core" side content (character quests, fix-the-region quests etc) and have no difficulty problems with the game. It's just the, somehow, the game makes you feel like you should be doing everything. Or, at least, it doesn't send the hints that "this content is only if you REALLY CARE".

    I have legitimately no idea how one could fix this, or even if they want to (it might be an intentional effort to increase the addiction-factor). The issue seems to start with "getting lost in the hinterlands" and not really stop.

    Hmm have to disagree with this article. I'm at 68 hours on my save file, I have only just moved into the sky castle place and I still feel like the game is just getting started for me. Have cleared out almost all of the early missions and has rarely felt like a grind. Loving the shit out of this game, especially at that certain point when the game suddenly became a musical... That was epic!

    Obviously you could get to where I am up to in just a few hours so I really hope this game has a long way to go yet!

      It took you 68 hours to do.. lets see...Haven, Storm Coast, Fallow Mire, Hinderlands, Val Royeaux, and Forbidden Oasis.

      That doesn't add up, your save file is either counting idle hours or your playing a super cautious Nightmare run with lots of low tier 1/2 crafting.

      Regardless I do agree theirs a fantastically large amount of content, the games a blast if you enjoy that grind.

        Yep that's pretty much it. I've spoken to all the npcs/party members to exhaust all conversation options and I've done a fair bit of running around the maps exploring and looking for hidden things while spamming the search button. Haven't had to do too much crafting as I've picked up some decent gear from loot drops while I've been exploring. But like I said, it hasn't really felt like a grind...

    I think this is one of the games that ends when you want it to, sure you could go and do every quest and collect every shard in the game but if it isn't fun to you then don't do it. Filler isn't always simply there for you to do and if you don't like the type of quests then simply don't do them.

    Dragon Age Inquisition is a game of choices, both in and out of the game - You can spend dozens of hours just trying to complete the Hinterlands but if you are forcing yourself to do it then its problem simply time to move on. Are their boring fetch quests? Yes their are but what they do is make you see the beautifully crafted world, explore new areas and see new things. It would be a waste to just have this open land without an incentive to actually get off the path.

    I love it, this is a game that feels complete from start to finish.

    64 hours seems like a pretty quick playthrough for this? friend of mine spent around 150+ hours on it

    this seems like a matter of opinion article, just because Patrick doesn't want to spend a stupid amount of time "these days" in a game doesn't mean others don't... I'm sure when I get around to playing this i'll probably end up skipping a bunch of stuff too, but I'll still enjoy it in my own way, that's kind of the beauty of this style of game in my opinion

    he also references (briefly) the ass creed games, i just finished rogue, and when i say finished i mean i'm 57% complete and saw the credits roll... will i 100% it? probably not, but does that mean i enjoyed it any less? no, i loved it and who knows maybe i'll go back and do some more of the side stuff and get it to 60-70% one day... maybe...

    i can see people becoming butt hurt over this article, but just remember that people are entitled to opinions, that doesn't make them right or wrong however...

    I have a problem with things being called "filler" that aren't compulsory and are very easy to skip. Dragon Age respected this guy's time by not forcing him to do all that "busywork" "filler". He disrespected his own time by doing it and then taking more time to write an article about it. He could have just skipped all the extras and been on his merry way with his precious time. :P

      The problem is that these games appeal to the sort of person who, when confronted with a map marked with collectables, will feel compelled to pick up every single one. We've been trained by games to do this for years, especially if you're a post-WoW MMO veteran (this game takes enormous amounts of design cues from WoW). I can't look at all the sidequest markers in Dragon Age and not want to do them. So it's all very well to say they're 'optional' but if your brain's wired up the wrong way, they effectively aren't.

        But that's not Bioware's problem, that's the individual player's problem. They did their part by making sure that people who want to do all that stuff have the option to do so, and the people who don't want to do that stuff should be able to quite easily ignore it. It's the player's part to choose the option that is better for them.
        Bioware's job is to create content people want to play, not worry about people who don't actually want to play it but can't summon the willpower to act against the compulsion to do and collect everything.

        I understand and even half agree with Klepek's point, but he's gone about making it in a way that really gets my back up.

          I don't agree. To use a similar example, is it entirely the player's fault if they get addicted to one of those awful phone games and spend a fortune on randomized rewards or something? The game was deliberately built to target certain personality types on a psychological level and compel them to do something.

          The way that Bioware put the game together was a conscious decision and they had to know what they were doing. They've worked on MMOs and everything before. The game has a straight-up flawed design, IMO.

          I actually don't have any issues personally with them having a flood of content, and I don't think that that's Patrick's issue either. The issue I have is that the content - and the moment-to-moment gameplay when engaging with all that content - isn't really that great in a lot of cases. Plus there's just way too much of it, compared with the amount of actual critical-path plot content in the game. For every hour of content that actually directly advances the plot itself, or is spent directly developing the NPCs, there's probably five or six hours of extraneous fluff. Signal-to-noise ratio's not great. It's absolutely true that you could sit down, play for five hours and not have advanced the plot at all. Easily. I've done it multiple times so far. It ruined my first attempt at the game, actually. I got 14 hours in, did all of the Hinterlands and Storm Coast and by that point was so bored and unengaged by the plot and characters that I gave up. Had to start over with a fresh character and focus on advancing the plot in order to derive some enjoyment from it. But the way it's structured encourages me and compels me to play as much of the side content as possible. I could probably ignore the fluff stuff entirely and just do the core plot stuff, but I'd be under-leveled, and more importantly there'd be the constant knowledge that there are entire areas I never bothered to do. "I haven't finished the game because there's still half of it left".

          Have to do all of it to feel like I'm done with the game. Doing all of it sucks the fun out. That's bad design.

          Put it this way: if they never had, for example, the Emerald Graves or Crestwood, would you have noticed they were missing?

            Aye none of the regions even had a story of their own; honestly the only two places that really stick out in my memory were discovering the "you know what" in the Hinterlands and the little set piece fight between a giant and a dragon on the storm coast.

            It also feels like they've hollowed out the companion approval system in DA:I, in previous BioWare games I'd have to be careful which opinions I'd express in front of certain characters, heck in DA2 I knew straight away which characters I'd want to piss off and have as nemeses. Here I could be whoever I wanted with all of the characters and they'd still worship the ground I walked on. I literally tried having personality swings halfway through the game to see if I could piss any of them off; but nope they couldn't hate or strongly disagree with me. BioWare got me used to Buterscotch and Triple Chocolate Fudge ice-cream and has brought me back to Vanilla. It's great Vanilla ice-cream but at the end of the day it's still Vanilla.

            Edit: Actually neg that's a good point in regards to the regions; everyone praises these regions but almost all of them had 0 over all plot value? It didn't change the story at all whether you did Emerald Graves or Crestwood or Storm Coast =\ In old BioWare games you could skip regions and extra stuff but you did so at your own peril missing out on important parts of the story and entertaining characters.

            Last edited 07/01/15 3:21 pm

              Some of the zones do have some sort of plot thing going on. Crestwood had the whole subplot around the Old Crestwood area that had been flooded. About half the area's content was around that and it was pretty cool, I liked it a lot. Similarly there was the Exalted Marches where you were helping turn the tide of battle there. Those are cool. I wish they'd mattered to the plot!

                I remember my first feeling of disappointment... when I pretty much grinded through half of the Hinterlands to reach the Stable master only to find out he had no bearing on my story or my army whatsoever.... I kept hoping after that this was an exception to the game that other sub plots would matter to the story but 40-50 hours in I just kept hitting more disappointments =\ Then I gave up on side quests all together and disgruntedly finished the story.

          For me it wasn't a case of willpower it was a case of being trained to do so by previous BioWare games. Anyone remember the obscure mage tower quest in DA:O to summon and defeat a demon? BioWare's games used to have all these hidden and fleshed out side quests and collectibles; they were few in number and a pain to figure out and get to but god damn they were rewarding in the end. DA:I pretty much commercialized that idea; surely you don't feel that looking for lyrium crystals for varric is on the same level as finding the components to build HK-47 in KOTOR.

          Last edited 07/01/15 3:12 pm

      Agreed. When I started getting tired of the filler quests, I didn't do them. I went and just started doing questlines I was interested in.

      I only spent about 40 to 45 hours to beat the game, and was around level 23 when I did. Maybe I rushed through parts.

      Hi Strange! Long time, no speak. Hope you're well. :-)

        Hey HotDamn! How's things? Happy new year! Hope you had a nice break and have something awesome planned for this year to look forward to. :)

        I'm well, getting ready to leave next week for America and 70000 Tons Of Metal again. I'm all excited and stuff! :D

          Yeah good thanks! Life and times...and video games. :-)

          Wow, that is one serious metal cruise. Nothing 'nu metal' about that line-up. I'm sure Behemoth won't be playing at 9 am in the morning. Haha....

          Hope you have a cracking time.

    At the end of the day if even half the people who bought DA:I liked it then BioWare can consider the game a success. Personally this will be the first BioWare game I have played that I won't be playing a second time.

    And before people jump to its defense with the planet resource collecting in ME:2 and that all other BioWare games had grindy side quests; might I just remind everyone that KOTOR never had anything even remotely grindy as DA:I. Nor did Baldur's Gate, or DA:O for that matter. I can't recall a single Mass Effect quest that had me collecting items as often as DA:I has either.

    DA:I side quest system is more akin to the gathering/killing quests of WoW than they are to the planet scanning and resource collection of ME2. For everyone who enjoyed the game all I ask is you go back to BioWare's classics and tell me that the characters, story and even side quest stories weren't more enriching and fleshed out when compared to their most recent installment. All I'm asking is if you do decide to still be a fan of this installment make sure you do after holding it to the standards set by previous BioWare entries and not by current open-world games.

    You shouldn't have to skip sidequests and collectibles in a BioWare game; you should have to in an Assassin's creed game. And personally I have more than enough Ubisoft than I can handle in their own games, I'd rather not see that ideal infecting a genre that I love and especially a company I once believed spearheaded that genre.

    Last edited 07/01/15 11:05 am

      I'm the same but even down to choices of class.... Mage, rogue, warrior and the trees just don't offer enough variety.

      I've played through BG twice this summer. It just never gets old and the side quests have meat to them.

      EDIT: You can really tell that they lost direction when the Doctors moved out. I think someone needs to ask a serious but simple question.

      "Why?" Why are we doing this?

      Last edited 07/01/15 12:00 pm

        Yeah I didn't want to mention the founders and to be honest I hoped that BioWare would continue on even without them but this latest release has made me realize how much of an impact even the last remaining founder had on the company.

      Neverwinter Nights. The whole campaign was literally collect this and kill that.

        Seriously? You're not possibly leaving tons of plot and characters from that generalization of collect this and kill that?

        Then again no you're right DA:I and NWN are very similar and grindy. I mean who even remembers Deekin anymore right?

          Nope, NWN's plot was fucking awful. The expansions were better but that game was all about the multiplayer system and the toolset where you could build your own modules.

          It also had a DA2-style issue where everything felt like it was prefabricated by Fantasy IKEA. All the areas look the same, everything's on right angles and stuff.

          That said, NWN's technology was the platform they modified and built KotOR and Jade Empire on, and which they licensed out to an obscure polish company who then customized the crap out of it to make The Witcher, so its legacy is bigger than the game itself...

            Maybe I'm merging NWN's plot together with all it's expacs, all of it's one large blur of fun in my memory now. NWN2 is a much clearer picture and I enjoyed that more than DA:I as well =\

              NWN2 was miles better because it was Obsidian, not Bioware.

              Obsidian (and Black Isle when they were at Interplay) were all about taking Bioware's technology and using them to make better games than Bioware did.

    My save time was under 30 hours. I found the side quests weren't fleshed out enough and dissapointed me. In other bioware games the side quests felt like their owown mini story but in dao they mainly tie in to the main one or are weak and grindy. the main story was great though

    Last edited 07/01/15 11:04 am

    100% agree with this article, even though people in the comments seem to be misunderstanding. What I take from this is that Patrick prefers 30 hours of solid gameplay and character development (think "The Walking Dead") instead of 100 hours of asinine grinding with 20 hours of good tagged on the end of it. I think the idea of 'time=difficulty/quality' began with Zelda games and people have clung to it like a baby at tit... Think back to how many of OoT's mechanics were based on waiting. Is that really good gameplay?

    You realize you don't *have* to do the filler content...right?

    I mean, I haven't done this because this makes no sense to me, but if you set the difficulty right down and make effective use of your time, you *could* breeze through this much quicker if you wanted to.

    Really just reads like the game wasn't your thing, yet you kept at it for the purpose of complaining

      That comment just reads like you don't like his opinion, and since it doesn't equate with yours somehow makes it irrelevant and untrue... Perhaps you "should just have skipped it"

        That comment just reads like you don't like my opinion, and since it doesn't equate with yours somehow makes it irrelevant and untrue... Perhaps you "should just have skipped it"

      Nope it is his job as a reviewer to complete the game, otherwise he wouldn't have a valid opinion (Y)

    ugh.. yeah.. I hate having so much optional content that I don't have to do!

    It's like going to the movies and there being more than 1 film showing.. I don't have the mind power to not see all of them at once :/

      Except when you have one movie which won an academy award and six shorts that were made by acme movie company...

    And this is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed Heavenly Sword.

    All these rpgs need to get rid of the mindless character leveling and instead make the side quests about gaining new skills for your character, that he or she may need to complete the main quest. Pretty much what every martial arts movie is about.

    Instead of picking skills and items from skill trees and shops, all the skills, weapons and armor you want, should come from doing quests throughout the world. Maybe then bring the items you find to a crafter. Training tests like obstacle courses or combat with a mentor would be more immersive than killing x amount, and suddenly you can now hit 2 enemies at the same time.

    I also hate how most rpgs start your hero off lacking core skills for no story reason, just give us the core skills and make the quests enhance our core skills then add new ones.
    Just finished Witcher 1 and 2, and it would have been much better to learn how a witcher learns his skills than doing fetch quests for npcs. Half way through he suddenly learns and extra sword combo out of thin air? ridiculous game design (that goes for pretty much every character leveling game made so far).

    I loved how massive DA:I was. It did kind of seem like a massive over-reaction to the complaints of DA2, though.

    "Oh, you want a long game? You want a big game??? Fine... HERE! Take THAT, complainers!!!"

    I have to agreee with the majority of comments, this article reads more that the author simply doesn't like this style of game, and having now finished DA:I, has confirmed to himself that he still doesn't like this sort of game.
    I cannot comment on the game after finishing as I'm only about 35 hours into it, but so far I feel that every time i play, the story and character development progresses well with every session, Having just come from Destiny and my first real crack at an MMORPG (GW2), This is far from a grind, far far from a gind. Dare I say that there are plenty of 'filler' missions where you simply go collect stuff, or go kill a few people and come back in even the 'Greats' like Skyrim and fallout. Surely i'm not the only 1 to sit down infront of 1 of Bethesda's master pieces for a 1-2 hour session and wrap it up realising you've done nothing more than gather some stuff, or go kill some non-descript baddies for someone?

    To me it sounds like you really wanted to like DA:I, but due to personal time restraints (and trust me I can relate to this) you were hoping for all the goodness of a fleshed out RPG, in the handy dandy pocked sized package of around 20 -30 hours, now that you've figured out it's not, your dissappointed and felt like complaining.

    Most of that time is spent waiting on the war clock to tick over, which you can bypass on the fly by messing with your actual clock btw (probably better way to play if you don't want to eb waiting days for a number to count down)

    I think people are their own worst enemy when it comes to games being seen as too long. Why are you setting yourself a time limit? There is going to be at least a couple of years before the next Dragon Age so why is everyone telling themselves it needs to be done by X amount of time. Take your time, soak it all up and stop listening to how other people play it.

      I will admit this is a very very valid point. Well done.

      But as I said in a previous comment I HATE when games implement time consuming tasks/mechanics to make the experience longer and therefore considered harder or "deeper".

        Thanks! But yeah I can agree with that, I did find the timed war table stuff a bit odd, almost trying too hard to draw out the game. That said with all the stuff to do there are some occasions that I am glad a decent amount of it has delays just so my quest log doesn't get even more overloaded.

        It's up there with the "give bosses 19 health bars" that many RPGs fall back onto. Turning what could easily be a 10 minute encounter into an hour one just because they can.

    I'm on my second playthrough so it's pretty clear I like this stupid game, but the article definitely just reads like the author doesn't like this type of game going into it, confirmed it, and also took the opportunity to have a bit of a whinge too.

    I hated Skyrim for pretty much all the reasons you just posted... and yet I have 100+ hours in DA:I. I have barely touched Skyrim in comparison; it seemed boring as fuck.

    Funny what happens when the content appeals to you.

    All of this ignores the elephant in the room... it is a lazy, incompetent, ugly and kb & m unfriendly console ported mess dressed up in shiny glitz (excluding the horrific character physics)... still, to each their own I guess, but my controller stays off my pc then, now and forever... (except for Dreamfall Chapters, which is a GOOD story, with good dialogue, as opposed to DAI's third rate college dorm sniggering stuff... inky...)

    Last edited 08/01/15 6:28 pm

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