from the ashes

I’ve recently just restarted playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (DA:I), picking up where I last left off. I think it’s because I’ve started working again, and I needed something to destress with, though I don’t think I’m stressed most of the time. But it’s just because I realised I don’t have all the time in the world, and I really ought to clear all the unfinished business.

But replaying DA:I just made me remember why I never finished it in the first place, considering how much time and how many run throughs I did with Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) and Dragon Age 2 (DA2). Though to be honest, in most of my playthroughs, I made the same major decisions most of the time because there are some things I just cannot budge on. Like, mages over templars all the freaking time. It’s not that I don’t understand the importance of the templars, but they’re terrible guardians. And it’s not like I haven’t been disappointed and betrayed by the mages, but I still sympathise with them 90% of the time.

Anyway, there are 3 main reasons why I couldn’t finish DA:I during my first run.

01 overly large sandbox world
You’d think a large sandbox world is a good thing, right? I mean, that’s why we all loved Skyrim and Oblivion, because they gave you so much freedom to just do your own thing. Yuuuup, too much freedom, which is why I have never completed the main story line in The Elder Scrolls series either.

Besides DA:I had a plethora of irritating side quests and collection quests that bear little importance to the main story line. Yes, I could have ignored them and just blazed through the main quests but do you know how irritating it is to see unfinished quests cluttering up your journal and all the quest markers on your map??? I can’t stand it, which is why my playtime is at 100+ hours and I’ve only finished a handful of the main quests.

02 lack of genuine love for most of the characters
(side note: I really like how they portrayed each character as stylized tarot cards, and the fact that the cards themselves change depending on your interaction with the characters)

I loved my companion characters in DA:O, and DA2 had my favourite love interest, Fenris. But DA:I… sure, the return of Varric is awesome because he is the best dwarf character in the series (not that they are a lot of dwarves but still), and Varric will always be my best friend, even if I’m not Hawke. But he’s a lot more depressed because of all the shit he went through with my and gods forbid if I chose the wrong decision during a major turning point. (No, I won’t ever make that decision because fuck everyone else, I am Hawke. Lol, this is slowly becoming a Hawke lovefest instead.) But yeah, Varric is great, and I love any banter with him.

I liked Cassandra – she was straightforward, loyal, and a tad awkward at times, which serves to humanize her. She’s the least problematic of the lot, I think, since she doesn’t exactly go through any major emotional upheaval, so she’s relatively stable.

Dorian, who was my elf!Inquisitor’s love interest, was likeable to a certain extent. I understood where he came from – privileged scion of a high ranking mage, you could tell he had his issues from the start. He’s snarky, which is good, and underneath it, he’s a good person. But he’s ignorant about certain things, like slavery and equality, and the things he say reflect his privilege, though there are times where you can tell he’s trying to understand and learn.

Sera is the annoying kid sister you never want to have. She loves pulling pranks, she doesn’t seem to have a higher thought beyond satisfying her basic needs and getting revenge over nobles who have insulted her/her friends, be it an embarrassing prank, thievery or even outright killing them. In her own way, she’s playing judge jury and executioner, but doesn’t seem to understand this concept or even why it may be wrong. Also, I find that she’s extremely hypocritical – she disapproves (if you’re playing an elf) whenever you show interest in elvish culture or if you’re generally fitting in with the nobility, or talk about magic, which she’s fearful about. Like, I’m supposed to accept her for who she is, but I get penalised if I show interest in things she has no interest in?? What kind of relationship would that be?

Cole – not much of an opinion with him since I don’t bring him along with my party most of the time, and he’s generally okay. He’s supposed to be sort of creepy and weird since he’s ultimately a spirit, but at least his confusion about life is interesting.

Solas irks me, because hello, another hypocrite in the house. He doesn’t seem to like it when you give differing opinions, as though he’s the one holding all the answers. Plus he enjoys lecturing you at great detail. I generally have no issue if a character wants to throw exposition at me, but he has that holier-than-thou attitude which is irksome. The good thing is that he has some pretty funny banter with the other characters. Oh and he’s super important to the whole story actually.

Blackwall doesn’t particularly interest me. I didn’t really like his character, he’s all righteous and booooring.

Vivienne and I have completely opposing views, so we just don’t mesh at all. She appears to act mostly out of self-interest, and I just can’t stand her snobbish attitude. The way she speaks to you – the Inquisitor – is so condescending, what with all the ‘dear’ and ‘darling’. Argh.

Iron Bull… I find some of his dialogue with Dorian to be weirdly inappropriate, especially when said in the party, which means it’s in a public space… D: Also, if you made the wrong choice in one of the quests… well, you’re shit out of luck with him.

03 the maps are annoying as fuck
some of the areas made me vomit blood, what if with the weird paths you need to take in order to reach places, or the parkour involved in getting from one place to another. I never know when I’m actually on the right path or if I’m just trying to take a shortcut that the game isn’t programmed to do so. After a while, it just gets headache-y and I start developing motion sickness.


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