While many of you may be recovering from a long weekend of gorging yourselves on turkey and holiday shopping madness (at least here in America), I didn’t realize how quickly the month of November has suddenly ended. December 1st already? Where has the time gone? With December having snuck up on me unawares, it’s also time to give you my full progress report on my video game challenge.
You’re probably aware that my video game challenge is a special edition version of what I’ve been doing for the entire year. Taking on an epic game like Dragon Age: Inquisition is no small feat. Playing and finishing this game will take time, patience, and effort. This is why I haven’t assigned this game a specific month for the challenge. It’s an ongoing challenge, which will most likely carry me into the new year. In keeping with the format I’ve stuck with, the game will still get a progress report as promised.
I’ve put in a ton of hours of gameplay since I posted my first log for the game last week. I won’t rehash everything I’ve done. You can check out the log for my more detailed account with the selection process, character creation, and the prologue (with very few spoilers for those who have yet to play the game).
Once I’ve moved past the brief tutorials and prologue, it was time to explore the new areas in the world of Thedas. Haven is your base of operations for the Inquisition and it’s a place that’s worth coming back to every so often to replenish supplies, talk to your party members and advisors, craft armor, or go to the War Room to assign your non-party member advisors (Josephine, Leliana, and Cullen) to check out leads or gain resources for the Inquisition.
The War Room has a war table which will give you access to minor side quests that can range from anything, like gathering coin or persuading a highly influential diplomat to support the Inquisition. These smaller missions tend to be timed from anywhere between ten minutes to almost an hour or more. It’s best to assign any of the advisors to do these missions while your Inquisitor continues to explore the world, or during the time you don’t play the game. Once the time is up, you’ll get a little notice at the bottom of your screen telling you that your advisors are ready to report to you about their findings. Going back to Haven and into the War Room is something you need to do often.
Side quests and main story missions can also be linked to the War Room, where you’ll have to visit Haven to complete the quest or unlock a new area at the war table. There’s a lot of back and forth between Haven and visiting other areas in the game, but I personally like coming back to Haven often just to recharge and take stock of what I’ve done in the game so far. The war table feature of the game is pretty cool because it gives you the actual feel of what it is to have to strategize in preparation for war and plan your next course of action to see the best results.
I’ve managed to unlock a few new areas, but haven’t explored much of those yet. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Hinterlands, and while it is gorgeous to traipse the countryside with your party members, the area is HUGE and contains almost a never ending supply of side quests. Inquisition is one of those rare games where I have to get a full 100% completion. This also means every SINGLE side quest has to be finished. The developers weren’t kidding when they said the game will be Skyrim big in terms of open world exploration. They certainly delivered on that promise.
Some of the side quests I’ve done in the Hinterlands have been fun and some weren’t all that exciting. The one quest I hated was returning a farmer’s lost druffalo. Once I found the druffalo hiding in a cave, the next prompt that popped up on my screen for that quest was to next lead the druffalo out of the cave and back to the owner’s farm. Simple enough, right? Not if you move too far ahead from the druffalo, it isn’t. I mistakenly thought that if I ran ahead, the dumb animal would follow me automatically. Nope. It’d stop and stay in the spot I last occupied, looking as lost and confused as ever. I then had to go back and slowly walk a few paces ahead in order to have the animal keep following me. Did I mention this animal is agonizingly slow at walking?! AGONIZING! My grandma could walk faster in the amount of time this animal was walking and she’d still make it on time to watch her favorite TV show. The worst quest ever.
I make sure not to spend all my time in the Hinterlands, otherwise I’d go crazy. I’ve done a few of the main story missions to progress the story a little bit. I managed to visit Val Royeaux in Orlais and unexpectedly unlocked the ability to meet and recruit new members to my party––Sera, the elf rogue and Vivienne, the First Enchanter mage, both staying in Val Royeaux. Without a game guide handy or a fully completed online walkthrough, it being a new game and all, I’ve been playing this game blindly. Each area and being in the right place to get more new people to use in my party has been a surprise, which is something I’m not usually accustomed to. By the time I play most games, there are hundreds of online game guides or YouTube videos already out to find the solution to whatever has you stuck.
Talking to your party members and the Inquisition’s advisors have been my favorite thing to do in this game. Since it’s still pretty early in the game, you won’t be getting into the full nitty gritty about every person’s personal life and backstory. You’ll get a taste of it, sure, but it’ll take time before everyone warms up to your Inquisitor and will want to tell you everything. I’ll admit this right now, I already have my romantic sights set on wooing Knight-Commander and ex-Templar Cullen. The guy kind of reminds me of Alistair in looks, but personality wise, he seems different from Alistair. It’s quite cute the first time you flirt with Cullen. He gets pretty flustered and shy, and I just about squeed like a teenage girl when it happened. I’ll save my impressions on Cullen for a later post.
I’ve been playing the game on a normal difficulty setting and I haven’t run into too many problems fighting the usual road bandits or wild animals. I found my first dragon in the Hinterlands area, but stayed far away from fighting that. I fully intend on slaying some dragons in the game, but I want to wait until my Inquisitor and party are properly leveled up before I tackle that. The combat is a mixture of Origins and DA2 as the developers promised it would be. I haven’t used the tactical view and combat assignments all that much yet. I haven’t felt the need to. I pretty much stuck with the real-time fighting that’s more familiar in DA2 and it has worked out fine so far.
Overall, I can say I haven’t gotten to the juicier parts of the story yet but I’m hoping by the time I write my next end of the month progress report, I’ll have better things to say about what I’ve experienced with the story. I’m eager to get to the Cullen romance goodness, but all good things come to those who wait. Something tells me that everything about this game’s story will be worth the wait. For now, I’m going to keep exploring and fighting on.