I wrote this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I’m just re-posting it here because I find it easier to track stuff that I wrote through this blog.
By the way, why do bloggers get so much flak? People should be relieved that we’re expressing our opinions and views in writing and reading is completely optional. This is preferable to me forcing my non-gamer friends to listen to my ranting and raving. I hold on to my gaming friends because there are so few of them in real life. (I refuse to join a forum and the reason is another long and painful story altogether).
On to the re-post of the review of a review!
This is my response to a review of Dragon Age: Inquisition published in Forbes:
I usually respect others’ opinions considering that we all have different tastes. Liking games is like liking wine — it’s all about personal preference. But if you’re an official reviewer for a big name magazine/site, then making sure that you make sense is important because you can make yourself sound stupid real fast. There are so many things wrong in this review.
- Spending 40 hours is not enough. In my second playthrough, I beat the game in about 40 hours.In another playthrough, I proved that I could do it faster and beat it at 26 hours. I beat it but did NOT enjoy it. I missed a lot of things that I enjoyed in my first 150-hour playthrough (and even that was not enough IMO). In 40 hours, I managed to finish all the main quests but did not unlock or explore five major areas of the map, killed one high dragon instead of ten, barely interacted with the companions/advisors much less do all their personal quests, barely crafted (I used stuff I just picked up instead of having a balance of crafted and uncrafted weapons and armor), missed a lot of cutscenes, and completely defeated the purpose of playing a richly written open-world RPG. In short, 40 hours is just enough play time to gather the points needed to do the main quests.
- Being too under-leveled to win. The recommended levels for each main quest is a general guide. I beat the game at normal setting at level 16-17 on the shorter playthrough while some wouldn’t even consider that high enough to explore the Emerald Graves. Strategy, strategy, strategy.
- No one is forcing you to do the side quests. A lot of them are enjoyable so I would recommend doing them. I also wouldn’t call some of the side quest fillers. A lot of them are actually hard and can help level up your character to be strong enough to beat the Venatori.
- Conversations are optional. I totally avoided Sera and Bull one time. But I wouldn’t recommend avoiding the conversations. The cutscenes are interesting and could open up new quests and operations. Some of what they say can give you ideas to beat certain quests. DAI has a rich narrative and the conversations contribute to knowing more about Thedas and its history. Also, how else can you hook up with Solas, have a nice date in the Fade and then ditch him before he has the chance to give you a spectacular version of the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech (because my Inquisitor does not have enough ice cream in the cellar) and then hook up with Cullen right after just because? There’s a soap opera in the midst of the blood and gore.
- Related to #1, there are lots of things one will miss when playing the basics. Personally, I think crafting is enjoyable. I spend so much time in the undercroft that both the blacksmith and arcanist probably think I’ve moved in. Gathering the schematics and materials to make that perfect slaying weapon can make the difference between beating the Highland Ravager in Emprise du Lion in one try instead of 15.
- Last but not the least… Admitting that you have a preference for sci-fi, which DAI is clearly not. I don’t like sci-fi, first-person shooting games so I know that I can never produce an impartial review of Destiny.