Author Topic: DA:I First Impressions  (Read 654 times)

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Offline Paul M

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DA:I First Impressions
« on: November 25, 2014, 03:41:50 AM »
Well DA:I (Dragon Age: Inquisition) arrived yesterday so I set forth to install it...

I hate origins...I hate that I have to install it to play a game I bought and have disks for sitting infront of me.  The process of installation required me to reboot my computer as the installer borked up during the update.  On the plus side it did allow me the option of having it NOT start automatically.  People complain about DRM and allow Steam and this utter rubbish a free pass...this is beyond my understanding.  DRM never bothered me in decades of game playing Steam and its ilk are instrusive and well lets just say I'm not a fan.

Right so I have the game installed, updated and start playing.  Looks gorgeous, crank the settings up to ultra and it looks even better.  But...make darn sure you do a good face.  One you like, one that looks good from different angles because they frame your character extremely well in the game and you get to see your characters face a lot.  So take the time to do a good job is my advice.

There is limited tutorial information.  The game is a consol port and it shows.  No manual, no online manual I could find.  Stuff hidden away.  Terrible interface.  Poor intergration of mouse and keyboard.  No "walk" key I could find.  Keys are rebindable thank god...I use EDSF to move and being forced into WSAD drives me crazy.

Story so far is great.  Cutscenes when they don't get all jerky and so on (possibly my graphics card/computer can't handle the ultra settings...) are awesomely well done.

Combat is problematic.  It is clearly designed for consols not PCs.  It isn't dumbed down so much as just poorly set up for mousing.  There is no way to set default behaviours.  The zoom level is twitchy.  It is hard to find things in the tactical view...  I have no idea how the NPCs will react which makes planing hard.  It is hard to find things...such as this fade disrupt...just about impossible to mouse around to see it.  It is in many ways worse then in DA2.  It's a decidedly clunky and poor combat system at the moment.  Nothing like what you see in the trailer at all.

They kept the crap from DA2 in terms of abilities skills and items as well.  I expect to see obselence built into the game which horifies me on a taste level...as I assume the higher level gear will look like smeg.  These are personal taste issues though...you milage on this will vary.

So at the moment the combat/character systems have a thumbs down.  This is under hard, and clearly with experience some of the rough edges will wear off and there may be fixes.  The biggest problem seem to be a consol port UI interface mishmash.  I had my two close combat charaters die, one twice in the boss battle...but I got through it first time, which beats the ogre in DA:O where it took me several attempts and a lot of luck to survive.

The no regen, no heal, use potion system...have to see.  Call me a fence sitter at the moment, largely because it is going to depend a lot on how smart your NPC AI turns out to be.  At the moment it seems largely brain dead.

A major goof is that they are refering to my male character as "she" it is hard to see how this would have gotten through QA.

The story, characters, world and so on is very well done.  Voice acting is top knotch as is the cinematics in the cutscenes.  Options for interaction are good.  Two voice choices for your character.  The stuff bioware does well it has done well.  At least at first glance.
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: DA:I First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 06:57:12 AM »
Ok day 2...

I stayed in my base camp of Haven.  The experience is like Ostager in DA:O.  It is very well done.  You get to meet your other inquisition members, you get some fawning on from various locals, there is a real bard in the tavern that plays songs (21 of them in total).  Varric's chest hair is on display for the ladies, looks like you can make moves on the tavern keeper.  There are some straight foward quests so I went up to lvl 4 while futzing around in the camp.  Lots to explore.  I headed outside of it into the local environment to hunt iron, wood and as it turned out nugs.

The game is rogue age, hardly a surprise.  The good looking armour is all medium.  But regardless it is a net positive experience.  You have lots of ambient chat, you visit your soon to be advisors and get to know them better, have some decisions, work out the war table...several hours of things to do that don't involve combat.

The wartable works rather neatly.  I gave my scouts a mission to protect a mother geniveve and there is a cut scene of this happening.  Awesome sauce.

Basically this part (including the exploration bit) is very well done.  Good choices in conversations, interesting character development, believable plotting and so forth.  Have to see what tomorrow brings...returning to the combat interface for try two....
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: DA:I First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2014, 06:41:13 AM »
To the disgust of Starslayer (who at least has an excuse to continue the big battle currently going on) my adventures in thedas continued...

Well I did some crafting and sorted out how to give the stuff to the various NPCs, did more searching around exploring near Haven...

Visited the warroom to hear abou the mission results (getting 83 gold, and a sword).  The sword I had found elsewhere in Haven but the thought counts.  Sent my advisors off again to in this case diplomatically convince my relatives to stop mooching off their distant relationship to me, talk to the crows about finding out who re-released Hard in Hightown 3: The Repunching without Varric's approval, and to have our raw recruits earn some coin guarding caravans.

Myself I headed off the Redcliff to see about the good mother.  Once I arrived I went the opposite direction and promptly found a wandering appostate, a wandering templar patrol, a templar camp, a cave, and several adventure hooks.  I also established a camp where I can rest up, and recover potions.  The fights went somewhat better, leveling the NPCs helped plus it is starting to get clearer how things work.  It is not the most ideal set up since you can pop yourself out of the tactical view way to easily and the camera sucks but things are starting to make some more sense.  Still fighting 3 templars we managed to get pretty badly munged up...but on the other hand our hitpoints are around 500 per character and the smallest number of hitpoints for the templars was 990 (the archer) and the max was around 2400 for the defender.  I'm trying to get a hang for things before I hit the story missions.
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: DA:I First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2014, 04:04:31 AM »
Ok, last "first impression" posting...23 hours into the game is not really "first" but at least I am getting sorted out.

With all that time invested I have only cleared 1/3 of the first adventure area "the hinterlands."  I have recruited some extra people to the inquistion and gone to val royale.  I am at lvl 6.  I'm also slow to do things so take that into account.  There is no reason not to go to val royale as soon as you can, basically it unlocks 2 new inquisition members and opens up two other story elements.

The combat system and me have had our ups and downs.  I play in tactical mode...and here it is ok-ish.  I have friendly fire turned on but that is a major difficulty increase as the AI doesn't seem to realize that detail and so lobs explosive arrows into the scrum regardless of if the two warriors are there or not.  Regen potions are well worth it, better in the long run then a healing potion.  The barrier, and guard system works but I'm not convinced it really was necessary to remove the heal spell.  In DA2 with the long cooldown and the short combat durations it was one use anyway.  Here you have periodically return to camp to restock.  I fought againts lvl 8 bears (5xxxx hitpoints) and higher level outlaws.  This really requires thinking about what is going on.  Your sword and shield warriors have to taunt then go into shield block mode to build guard.  The major damage is being done with the ranged party members, and then you have to alternate who is guarding and who is hitting (in my case I had two sword and shield warriors) by getting them on opposite sides (of the bear for example) and then timing when you come out of block and go on the offensive.  Basically sword and shield spends most of their time just playing a target.  The good thing is that they can survive with low hit points so long as barriers and guard are consistantly kept on them.  This is important as the number of normal healing potions drop.

Barrier is a necessity in a mage.  Not playing a mage I can't comment on other things but so far they have been doing lots of damage.  The bow armed rogues are also doing good damage with their abilities.

The story is well done.  There are lots of chances to talk to people and get information, some I'd seen before some new.  The war table is a fun diversion and it is worth keeping up with the various missions.  The concept of power is also good.  It gives you a bit of control on how the story progresses.

I'm a bit underwelmed with the weapons at the momment as the sword I am using lacks a hilt.  The armour "defender coat" I have a reciepe for it is ok...but seems to be influence by the Wheel of Time in that it is coat ontop of a coat of plates which looks odd.  The current colour is a bit off.  Anyway so far as I can see the rogues get the best looking outfits.

I am still being called "my lady" and I can only hope that doesn't mess up the romances.  Hard to say if they have anything in the mix for straight female characters, looks like you have a choice between Cullen and Blackwell unless there is another male in the future. 

The party banter and the ambient background is also well done.  Leveling is rather slow-ish, 23 hours and only lvl 6.  I have 18 quests on going in the hinterlands.  I haven't been checking how much XP and such you get, combat it is pretty small per kill though.  Influence is your other XP bar and that is what goes up as you complete quests.  Currently I'm nearly to lvl 2 there.  Each level gives you a perk point.  And there are lots of different ways to spend them.

The character system is based on what passive skills you take.  Each passive skill seems to do something plus give you bonuses to characteristics.  This means your warrior isn't going to get cunning since warrior skills seem to only give strength and constitution.  Compared to the excellent system of DA:O it is disapointing.  The abilities themselves are ok so far I have only basic attack, war cry and shield block (plus strong blow but that needs a two handed weapon)...not sure if I messed something up in character creation but I have been concentrating more on passives, or the second tier.  It is a workable but hardly inspiring character system, about the only thing I can say is that I guess it prevents "bad builds" (do these really exist?) and stops "min-maxing" (to the extent that min-maxing isn't what you are doing because basically all your points are limited to certain characteristics anyway).

Loot, has never interested me and so I can only say you get it and so far it is mostly un-inspiring.  Crafting stuff is more fun in my view.  Oh built in obscelence exists, that is to me several unprintable obscenities.  You have to keep upgrading armour and weapons.  I hate this in games, though I gather there are people who can't handle a game without the gear grind/loot chase stuff.  I want it to look good firstly...and well I'm underwhelmed by a lot of the gear so far in that regards.

Ok...that is all from me.  If others wish to toss their views in feel free.  I'll answer questions if people have any as well...just no spoilers.
 

 

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