First off, please note this is only an initial impressions post – expect a full review of the game to come. I’ve already logged about 12 hours into this game and I think I’ve only done about 7% of the story and I’ve barely touched the collectables/side quests options. This game is freaking MASSIVE, especially when compared to the incredibly linear nature of Dragon Age 2.
This game is a wonderful blend between the free roaming nature of Skryim and BioWare’s vision for story. Now, many have been critiquing the overall plot of the game (I am waiting to judge until I finish) but I do think the dialogue/character writing is fabulous. The characters I have met thus far are delightful and I’ve enjoyed crafting my own hero’s persona throughout the time I’ve been playing. Thankfully, BioWare has moved away from the Mass Effect/DA2 dialogue wheels that clearly delineated the “good” and “bad” choices. This “moral-less” compass lets you craft a more complex player character and you feel less confined story-wise.
The combat mechanics have returned to a strategic format, similar to that of Dragon Age: Origins. I think BioWare has found a good balance between allowing players to totally micro-manage combat and facilitating a more streamlined “button mashing” option for gamers who might not be as inclined to plot out every action. The ability to turn the tactics mode on/off with just a button push is great – for more complex fights I can plan each character’s movement but for little skirmishes I can just lay waste by mindlessly spamming awesome magic powers. I call that a win.
Graphics wise, I am also incredibly pleased. The game looks good on my PS4, with crisp colors and diverse area designs. This is not the brown, muddy and flat design of Kirkwall from DA2. It certainly holds it’s own to the other next-gen titles that have released in the last year. This game looks better than Destiny, in my opinion (at least there’s more creativity in the design) and so far, the engine has been running smoothly for me.
As I said, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The game is huge, so expect a full, detailed review in a few weeks!