The weird combat of Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Dragon Age: Origins had a very solid, traditional, tactical combat implementation, with some not so very well designed arenas (Deep Roads, anyone?). But it was very well executed technically and allowed for a lot of experimentation, with the occasional overpowered combination of abilities, which might have made the game a bit easy sometimes but it was fun, albeit slow.

Dragon Age changed the presentation of the combat, with a different camera angle and emphasis on over the top animations - and, unfortunately, threw away a huge part of the planning involved in the combat with its uninteresting battle arenas, zero care with enemy positioning and the dreaded "another wave" mechanism. But it was also fun, although dumber, easier and more repetitive. With that said, the new animations gave new life to the proceedings, making things more interesting for people into a more dynamic presentation. And it was also technically efficient.

Both propositions have their fair share of fans and detractors, but they both also look like the work of someone that knows what he was doing (even if, in DA2 case, the person did not have the time to do it properly).

Dragon Age Inquisition combat, however, baffles me, as it has no focus in terms of design and no competence in terms of execution. It still manages to be somewhat fun occasionally, as it is kind of built after some ideas that work, but the problems are intriguing:

1. Controls: The idea behind the combat in the previous DA games was that it would simulate a "simultaneous turn based battle". "What" to do was very important, but the actual execution was mostly automated.

In Inquisition you have to position and move your character around to do some things, and you have to actually keep doing some things (pressing buttons, maneuvering to get line of sight, approaching the target to attack). The controls work if you control one character and let your party to their own devices but every time you want to do something a little more complex, the design falls apart (the tactical view is too low, there are no queued commands, characters stop doing what you told them to do, changing weapons midfight is impossible and so on). Not to mention that the interface is very poor if you are trying to do all this with a mouse and keyboard.

In both DA:O and DA2 I always managed to place my characters exactly where I want them to be (with admittedly a little bit more of work on DA2), but on Inquisition, I just do not bother.

2. Camera: trees, walls and objects keep getting in the way;

3. Confusing presentation: The "turn-based" nature and auto-attack features of previous games also meant that the characters could be positioned within a reasonable distance from each other and from the enemies, alternating their animations.

With everyone closing in on each other or shooting from the other side of a very large area, you often do not see what's going on. The aesthetic of the battle also suffers, with combatants misaligned or pounding the ground with no enemies on it while being shot at from God knows where.

4. The rift mechanism: while interesting as it introduces another element to think about while pounding some enemies, the fact that only the main character can interact with them makes the already laborious act of controlling everyone as a team an even less interesting proposition. It is often much more effective just control the main character in those encounters with the occasional barrier spam from the mages. Also, aiming at the barriers is sometimes a pain (see camera above).

5. Difficulty: In normal, the game is easy enough to hide the system shortcomings (you rarely NEED to do anything remotely complex in the game). In harder difficulties prepare to be annoyed fast. You still do not NEED to do anything complex to keep yourself alive, but if you don't you will be playing forever. Note to Bioware designers - giant health bars are boring, not difficult. To be fair, all three games suffer from that problem, which has just become more and more prevalent with each iteration.

The game is good, great even, if you overlook the mild case of consolitis and get into the history and other elements, but whoever was in charge of the combat dropped the ball: it is not complex, it is not varied, it is not beautifully or clearly presented, it is not nuanced, it does not control greatly, it does not bring anything new to the table. It is at best, an average system, copied from MMO's, with worse feedback and mouse support.

The only thing the tactical camera is good for is checking the weaknesses of the enemy, and being able to interact with Red Lyrium.

For everything else it is utterly useless.

I actually really like the combat, especially on my second playthrough, now that I'm a swingin' rogue with a grappling hook.

I think there's a definite engine limitation as to why you can't get free movement with the camera. Frostbite therefore introduces the cursor thing as an extra entity in the world to solve that. It's a fairly simple workaround but definitely shows like when you can't scroll over impassable terrain with the cursor in tactical camera, which you should be able to do.

The control of tactical camera are also borderline unplayable with a mouse and keyboard. The game was designed with a console in mind and ported to PC, and it's painfully obvious that is the case. Luckily I have a gamepad and the game feels good playing with it, but it's still fairly unacceptable for a port. The tactics system is also highly nerfed which really sucks.

Overall I think it has the third best combat. Origins is better, 2 is worse. It looks exciting but you simply don't have the same control over tactics and positioning as you do in Origins.

One very subjective thing for me is that it does not look cool. Some areas are ok, but in forests and caves I simply do not see what is happening clearly enough a lot of the time.

Funny story: my wife asked me if the game was like minecraft. I asked why and she said that it was because she saw me chopping a tree. It took me a few seconds to realize she just glanced at me fighting in the woods and did not saw the enemy under the tree.

Jeremy Dawkins:
I actually really like the combat, especially on my second playthrough, now that I'm a swingin' rogue with a grappling hook.

This skill also helps a lot with the warrior (although it works a little bit differently).

zinho73:
Dragon Age: Origins had a very solid, traditional, tactical combat implementation, with some not so very well designed arenas (Deep Roads, anyone?). But it was very well executed technically and allowed for a lot of experimentation, with the occasional overpowered combination of abilities, which might have made the game a bit easy sometimes but it was fun, albeit slow.

Dragon Age changed the presentation of the combat, with a different camera angle and emphasis on over the top animations - and, unfortunately, threw away a huge part of the planning involved in the combat with its uninteresting battle arenas, zero care with enemy positioning and the dreaded "another wave" mechanism. But it was also fun, although dumber, easier and more repetitive. With that said, the new animations gave new life to the proceedings, making things more interesting for people into a more dynamic presentation. And it was also technically efficient.

Both propositions have their fair share of fans and detractors, but they both also look like the work of someone that knows what he was doing (even if, in DA2 case, the person did not have the time to do it properly).

Dragon Age Inquisition combat, however, baffles me, as it has no focus in terms of design and no competence in terms of execution. It still manages to be somewhat fun occasionally, as it is kind of built after some ideas that work, but the problems are intriguing:

1. Controls: The idea behind the combat in the previous DA games was that it would simulate a "simultaneous turn based battle". "What" to do was very important, but the actual execution was mostly automated.

In Inquisition you have to position and move your character around to do some things, and you have to actually keep doing some things (pressing buttons, maneuvering to get line of sight, approaching the target to attack). The controls work if you control one character and let your party to their own devices but every time you want to do something a little more complex, the design falls apart (the tactical view is too low, there are no queued commands, characters stop doing what you told them to do, changing weapons midfight is impossible and so on). Not to mention that the interface is very poor if you are trying to do all this with a mouse and keyboard.

In both DA:O and DA2 I always managed to place my characters exactly where I want them to be (with admittedly a little bit more of work on DA2), but on Inquisition, I just do not bother.

2. Camera: trees, walls and objects keep getting in the way;

3. Confusing presentation: The "turn-based" nature and auto-attack features of previous games also meant that the characters could be positioned within a reasonable distance from each other and from the enemies, alternating their animations.

With everyone closing in on each other or shooting from the other side of a very large area, you often do not see what's going on. The aesthetic of the battle also suffers, with combatants misaligned or pounding the ground with no enemies on it while being shot at from God knows where.

4. The rift mechanism: while interesting as it introduces another element to think about while pounding some enemies, the fact that only the main character can interact with them makes the already laborious act of controlling everyone as a team an even less interesting proposition. It is often much more effective just control the main character in those encounters with the occasional barrier spam from the mages. Also, aiming at the barriers is sometimes a pain (see camera above).

5. Difficulty: In normal, the game is easy enough to hide the system shortcomings (you rarely NEED to do anything remotely complex in the game). In harder difficulties prepare to be annoyed fast. You still do not NEED to do anything complex to keep yourself alive, but if you don't you will be playing forever. Note to Bioware designers - giant health bars are boring, not difficult. To be fair, all three games suffer from that problem, which has just become more and more prevalent with each iteration.

The game is good, great even, if you overlook the mild case of consolitis and get into the history and other elements, but whoever was in charge of the combat dropped the ball: it is not complex, it is not varied, it is not beautifully or clearly presented, it is not nuanced, it does not control greatly, it does not bring anything new to the table. It is at best, an average system, copied from MMO's, with worse feedback and mouse support.

This is a fair assessment.

I spent 30 minutes or so fighting the Hinterlands dragon using the tactics mode and its limitations were readily apparent.

-Can't queue commands. I would love to say "use heal potion then taunt then use shield wall"
-Ranged characters charging into melee. I could manually tell them to back off and they would stay put as long as the dragon was in view. But when the dragon flew up to a high perch and started raining down fireballs I would send my party to a safe area for cover and they would constantly shift around and try to attack the dragon no matter how many "hold position" orders I gave them.
-Characters teleporting. This is a convenience feature for normal gameplay; if the leader is separated from the rest of the party they teleport to you. I'm glad it's there but IT SHOULD BE DISABLED FOR COMBAT. Once I tried moving my archer far away from the dragon then switching to my tank, and the archer teleported right next to the dragon's feet. God. Dammit.
-Can't set up AI routines. No Vivienne, don't use Spirit Blades on the dragon. This was one where I just had to go in and disable most character abilities so they could only spam a few attacks.

In the end I was able to win through patience and careful use of abilities, once I understood the limits of tactics mode and learned to work around them. It was a fun fight but the combat tactics required were so different from regular opponents it seemed like it was meant for a whole different game.

Only put a few hours onto it (still being bored in the Hinterlands), but my reaction's been pretty much the same. Although I'd go further and just call it a hideous, buggy, dumb, fiddly mess compared to Origins and DAII.

BioWare claimed they listened to fans, right? So which set of fans honestly suggested 'Y'know what we'd like? No proper tactics!'? I don't believe any of the core DA fans would even consider that idea, and yet here it is in Inquisition.

I personally also don't think fans would've supported removing a dedicated healing discipline, and relying on a weird Estus mechanic that never seems at home in a DA.

Would fans have also supported the idea of axing proper auto-attack? Again, I doubt it. BioWare may have "listened" in DA:I's dev cycle - but to who...

As for Origins and DAII: I think both had their strengths, and weaknesses. DA:O's was a bland, fairly undramatic slog at times (though I still miss those kickass deathblows). Yet there's a depth of strategy and near limitless variety DAII lacked. DAII's combat was simpler, sure, but the basic principles that made Origins' combat work were still there, and I really like [most of] the faster, flashier animations. The Tactics were still there, too, so you had great control over how all of your companions behaved - reliably - in combat. There may have been less overall variety, but you could build specific strategies you liked in battle, and know they'd fire off at exactly the moment you needed, every time.

So far, Inquisition is a step down/back from both.

Just fought a bear in small cave recess. What a mess. Between people teleporting in and out, difference of height making attacks impossible, mages insisting in be positioned beside the bear and only a very specific camera angle allowing to see part of what was going on, it was the worse I have experienced so far.

I tried to lure the bear out, but he and Vivienne were trapped in the scenery, when I switched control to Vivienne I got her out, but someone else teleported inside and got trapped instead. Very ridiculous, really. And, I will admit, somewhat funny.

Those kind of glitches were impossible to happen on the older games. I would gladly trade off the sprawling scenery with some smaller, better designed areas, that would allow for tactical considerations, precise movement and more combat options. Or, ideally, an engine that would support a full tactical experience on such a large area.

endtherapture:
I think there's a definite engine limitation as to why you can't get free movement with the camera. Frostbite therefore introduces the cursor thing as an extra entity in the world to solve that. It's a fairly simple workaround but definitely shows like when you can't scroll over impassable terrain with the cursor in tactical camera, which you should be able to do.

The control of tactical camera are also borderline unplayable with a mouse and keyboard. The game was designed with a console in mind and ported to PC, and it's painfully obvious that is the case. Luckily I have a gamepad and the game feels good playing with it, but it's still fairly unacceptable for a port. The tactics system is also highly nerfed which really sucks.

Overall I think it has the third best combat. Origins is better, 2 is worse. It looks exciting but you simply don't have the same control over tactics and positioning as you do in Origins.

You are right. The tactical camera cursor behaves as if it were an object in the game environment, having to go around impassible terrains and behaving oddly when there are height differences in the scenery. If it is a limitation of the engine, they should have scrapped it altogether and applied more thought to the whole thing, but they did not have the balls to do it, with all the "I'm listening to the fans" PR.

Well going in I accepted that the RTS control scheme was gone so I didn't look for it.
But even though they are now concentrated on this action RPG combat they made only half of it, yes you can move and attack as expected, but enemies don't look like they are affected by attacks - they just stand there as if it's Starcraft, there seem to be no hit boxes - enemies can swing in the opposite direction and hit you, solid objects aren't solid at all - ranged attacks will at random pass through anything, characters don't need to travel - countless times I have watched NPCs just warp from one position to another not even adjusting to the right ground height.
But wait you have tactical mode... that shit does nothing, they haven't made an RTS portion either, it's just a very basic command system on top of the ARPG which helps with nothing because your party members don't give a shit about their orders.

All in all I am very glad I stopped buying Bioware games, they are just stuck chasing these top of the charts gaming ideas that make shit weird. Even their writing feels like it's mostly fan fiction.

It tries to be a compromise between the styles of combat in II and origins, I think. They would have done better to go with one or the other I think. Personally I would much prefer going back to Origins style combat. I'm a bit upset at the neutered ability trees too. And no sort of persuasion skill.

I mean, there's a lot of complaints I have about the game, but I still love it so far. I'm just a bit disappointed it's not another love letter to old school CRPG's.

Yup, I really don't like the combat, just like you, TC. I started the game on Nightmare mode, cuz I thought "Hey, If I can do DA:O in that, this shouldn't be a problem."

It was a problem. The combination of your stupid teammates not finishing actions when you switch off (like rezzing a teammate, or rift disrupting), lack of queue and the fact that the enemy A.I. didn't really seem that challenging, everyone was just a sponge it seemed. I do appreciate that they tried melding DA 1's tactical battles with DA 2's more action oriented fighting style, but it just didn't work. Maybe next time, Bioware.

no, I honestly prefer it
personally, I prefer letting the ai work with occasional direct commands via tactical menu (go here, use this spell, etc) compared to origins awful lack of control at all.
I've heard it was different on pc, but on console at least in origins, you outright couldn't control your party from any screen (in terms of moving or waiting at choke points,you had to do it all manually, and unless you had perfectly aligned tactics for your party, everyone would just cheerfully fail at their jobs. It was playable, but not fun for me, I think because I played Dragon age II first, and the only death I had in origins that WASNT due to not being able to order my party directly was when I wasn't expecting the broodmother to have a grab attack.
Long story short: id choose inquisitions "tactical, or real time, whichever you feel" over origins, but I preferred DAII the most, what with having tactical view ALMOST as good as inquisition, but having the....im just gonna call them "gambits" for each character as well

zegram33:
no, I honestly prefer it
personally, I prefer letting the ai work with occasional direct commands via tactical menu (go here, use this spell, etc) compared to origins awful lack of control at all.
I've heard it was different on pc, but on console at least in origins, you outright couldn't control your party from any screen (in terms of moving or waiting at choke points,you had to do it all manually, and unless you had perfectly aligned tactics for your party, everyone would just cheerfully fail at their jobs. It was playable, but not fun for me, I think because I played Dragon age II first, and the only death I had in origins that WASNT due to not being able to order my party directly was when I wasn't expecting the broodmother to have a grab attack.
Long story short: id choose inquisitions "tactical, or real time, whichever you feel" over origins, but I preferred DAII the most, what with having tactical view ALMOST as good as inquisition, but having the....im just gonna call them "gambits" for each character as well

I think the problem comes mainly from the PC crowd, myself included, who feel that the tactical capability was gutted in favor of the action. I still love this game, and having gotten used to the more real-time playstyle I'm more than happy with it, but it makes me sad when the overhead tactical mode is just eh and handles like eh. If they can address that and fix it in a patch soon(tm), it would be a godsend. I honestly might even start the game over if they did, just to experience everything while being adjusted to how I'm playing.

I can't say I feel as strongly as people here seem to be, but I do have some complaints. I just wouldn't consider them more than 1 or 2 points off out of a score of 100.

I am still mostly in the beginning of the game (Alas, I have a busy job, and I'm sharing the game with two others) but so far I am really... enjoying the scope, and the environments, and the characters, but I'm not enjoying the combat. At all. For all the reasons already stated.

Allow me to also voice: I have no idea what fans they listened to. And they really shouldn't have used that engine. It doesn't work. It's just... The combat isn't Bioware RPG. It's not Dragon Age.

*sighs* I'm still really enjoying the game. But there are so many frustrations. In some ways it feels like Dragon Age 2 all over again.

Ferisar:

zegram33:
no, I honestly prefer it
personally, I prefer letting the ai work with occasional direct commands via tactical menu (go here, use this spell, etc) compared to origins awful lack of control at all.
I've heard it was different on pc, but on console at least in origins, you outright couldn't control your party from any screen (in terms of moving or waiting at choke points,you had to do it all manually, and unless you had perfectly aligned tactics for your party, everyone would just cheerfully fail at their jobs. It was playable, but not fun for me, I think because I played Dragon age II first, and the only death I had in origins that WASNT due to not being able to order my party directly was when I wasn't expecting the broodmother to have a grab attack.
Long story short: id choose inquisitions "tactical, or real time, whichever you feel" over origins, but I preferred DAII the most, what with having tactical view ALMOST as good as inquisition, but having the....im just gonna call them "gambits" for each character as well

I think the problem comes mainly from the PC crowd, myself included, who feel that the tactical capability was gutted in favor of the action. I still love this game, and having gotten used to the more real-time playstyle I'm more than happy with it, but it makes me sad when the overhead tactical mode is just eh and handles like eh. If they can address that and fix it in a patch soon(tm), it would be a godsend. I honestly might even start the game over if they did, just to experience everything while being adjusted to how I'm playing.

I can't say I feel as strongly as people here seem to be, but I do have some complaints. I just wouldn't consider them more than 1 or 2 points off out of a score of 100.

Yeah, there is certainly some nostalgia in the air when someone criticizes the combat. But I honestly think that even if you like this new approach it is still badly executed for all the reasons I have already mentioned.

It is understandable if you prefer the more "hands off" system, but I don't think anyone would want points 2 and 3 of my initial topic, for example - and they are frequent. I am really impressed at how often I lose sight of what is happening during the fight.
I manage the fight watching the health bars and not the actual fighting, which is bizarre.

And I do agree that those issues will have a different weight for different players, though - specially in a game with so many other things to do besides combat.

dragonswarrior:
I am still mostly in the beginning of the game (Alas, I have a busy job, and I'm sharing the game with two others) but so far I am really... enjoying the scope, and the environments, and the characters, but I'm not enjoying the combat. At all. For all the reasons already stated.

Allow me to also voice: I have no idea what fans they listened to. And they really shouldn't have used that engine. It doesn't work. It's just... The combat isn't Bioware RPG. It's not Dragon Age.

*sighs* I'm still really enjoying the game. But there are so many frustrations. In some ways it feels like Dragon Age 2 all over again.

I hear you.
I guess the franchise kind of lost its personality with its mainstream focus.
But this one at least is not super rushed (it was still launched before interface and controls were aced, but its EA, I can only imagine the pressure around Bioware to put this thing out).

It's okay. Like others said above the game is undeniably optimized and designed for consoles. The combat is okay I guess. Everyone else already mentioned the big problems(no autoattack, gutted tactics, bad camera).

dragon spoilers I guess.

for me it feels like it really wants to be a good RPG, and really it's pretty decent, but it's just so streamlined and gimped for consoles, so it can appeal better to a mainstream audience, that It just doesn't work well.

I honestly think that bioware will never make another pure RPG ever again. It simply will not happen as long as they are Bioware:EA. Too much of a niche market.

The lack of feedback on successfully landed attacks for enemies or players is a big problem for me. It would be one hell of an archer who could still hit their mark with a guy driving a pair of daggers into him. There have been times where I can see the enemies targeting a party member who is close to death, and I try to heroically rescue them with a quick kill, but the only effect the attack has is to decrease the enemies health. If my spells or Rift manipulations can be interrupted even without downright killing my character, I should damn well be able to do the same to the enemies.

I died a lot early on, because I was watching the action and not the health bars for my team. My rogue was jumping around, doing that warp jump/flank strike, etc and all of a sudden he fell over dead and I was confused. I don't think I was even aware of him taking hits.

If my party is periodically treated as if it were entirely composed of paper machet dolls, it is absolute B.S. to have to whittle away an enemy's health bar for ever. I have had fights where, even with the R2 to advance time level of control, if the elite/boss/etc managed to get a full column of guard/barrier up before I was able to gang up and kill them, I just re-loaded a save and started the entire fight over.

The combat is somewhat fun against things almost equal to, or weaker than the party, because you feel like the badass that you are made out to be, but as soon as a challenge is introduced, the clunky control/braindead ai/and asinine hit detection makes it feel like a chore.

I've resorted to using the warrior's chain to pull enemies out of a group, one at a time, so my team can enact a pinata party and stomp them into the ground. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I found out I could hunt things a few levels above me by relying on Stealth + Poison + Full Bend, then Warrior Chain, then whatever else I needed. Again, if I accidentally aggro'd an extra monster, I might as well just reload and try again.

It is a shame the combat was so poorly designed/implemented in this game.

The combat is fine, but take this as the word of a console peasant who played it mostly in an action-y way.

The only problem I had is that you can't set tactical guidelines for your companions. You can't set your archers to focus on other ranged attackers, or keep both them and your mages out of the thick of it. It was kind of annoying to see Varric and Sera shoot arrows from 3 feet away instead of keeping their distance, and then watch their health bar drop like a stone because they we're getting a face full of pummel.

kurupt87:
The only thing the tactical camera is good for is checking the weaknesses of the enemy, and being able to interact with Red Lyrium.

For everything else it is utterly useless.

Yep..pretty much this..I never use it. When I do go into Tactical View is from my own mistake because I zoom out too much. I really hope there would be an options to disable that or change the binding.

The combat is pretty abysmal compared to the previous two games. I don't like that camera at all..also why is there no information nameplates on the monsters and they only have it in tactical view? I hate that thing so much.

Well crap, i was banking on Inquisition going back to the oldschool tactical combat style of Origins. Guess Inquistion is one i will be getting from the bargain bin in a years time now :(

Verzin:
It's okay. Like others said above the game is undeniably optimized and designed for consoles. The combat is okay I guess. Everyone else already mentioned the big problems(no autoattack, gutted tactics, bad camera).

/

For me it feels like it really wants to be a good RPG, and really it's pretty decent, but it's just so streamlined and gimped for consoles, so it can appeal better to a mainstream audience, that It just doesn't work well.

Well, there's a problem with that rationale. Whilst, yes, BioWare are clearly kicking the series down the flight of stairs labeled Console Sales/Exposure FTW, Inquisition's even dumber and more streamlined as a console experience... People cussed DAII, and whilst some of the criticism was fair, Inquisition's design is making a lot of those critics look back more fondly on its combat - which whilst by no means perfect, at least bothered to include proper Tactics as well as a patched in auto-attack.

So you can't really cite console influence as the main gripe, as DA's always been on console, and thus far it's never needed to be this stupid 'streamlined' before.

Darth Rosenberg:

Verzin:
It's okay. Like others said above the game is undeniably optimized and designed for consoles. The combat is okay I guess. Everyone else already mentioned the big problems(no autoattack, gutted tactics, bad camera).

/

For me it feels like it really wants to be a good RPG, and really it's pretty decent, but it's just so streamlined and gimped for consoles, so it can appeal better to a mainstream audience, that It just doesn't work well.

Well, there's a problem with that rationale. Whilst, yes, BioWare are clearly kicking the series down the flight of stairs labeled Console Sales/Exposure FTW, Inquisition's even dumber and more streamlined as a console experience... People cussed DAII, and whilst some of the criticism was fair, Inquisition's design is making a lot of those critics look back more fondly on its combat - which whilst by no means perfect, at least bothered to include proper Tactics as well as a patched in auto-attack.

So you can't really cite console influence as the main gripe, as DA's always been on console, and thus far it's never needed to be this stupid 'streamlined' before.

To be fair, Bioware are planning to patch some stuff in [You mentioned patched in auto-attack for II, so I feel this is a valid point, even if auto-attack seems like it'd be nigh on impossible to patch in with this game's stupid system], and TBH I never really found DAIIs combat that tactical either. Just a lot of actiony gameplay, and when the game spammed ministun bosses at you, keeping your tank with the agro whilst healing him, and letting everyone else attack, which is so basic I struggle to actually call it tactics. Inquisition is the worst in the series, requiring you to do basically nothing but spam guard and barrier on your characters, and spam left click to kill, but it is thankfully not offensively terrible, and it does a lot of things right that II got wrong - i.e: Customisation, non-wave based combat, and not having every enemy ministun whilst spamming 10 of them at your party of 4 to stunlock you all.

For PC players, I think console influence IS the main gripe, as its what's made this game not enjoyable to its fullest. The combat is so so, but could be worked around to be somewhat enjoyable... if the game wasn't designed for consoles so the pause screen is impossible to do anything with. It'd also be nice if it was better optimised, and ran better, so that the prettiness wasn't tainted. I have to force my resolution down to play well, and I've got a pretty decent rig, even if it is getting old, let alone the cutscenes that look like old Zoetrope animations due to an FPS lock. So just slow, and constantly stoppy looking, and jarring compared to the rest of the game. On the plus side it included borderless window, and shortcut hotkeys, which games like ME2 forgot, but most of my issues with the game come from its consolitis. Its a good game, if more of a Skyrim sequel than an Origins sequel, but where most of its flaws lie is in its PC optimisation, which really is a shame.

Good thing i didnt jump on this thing during launch. Been hearing about the gimped tactical view and mmo elements(like kill x things). The year of mostly disappointments continues...

Joccaren:
To be fair, Bioware are planning to patch some stuff in [You mentioned patched in auto-attack for II, so I feel this is a valid point, even if auto-attack seems like it'd be nigh on impossible to patch in with this game's stupid system]

Is there any word on what, though? The only feedback I've seen mentioned was 'we're looking at stuff for PC'.

Re patching auto-attack: well, whilst I'd want it - and move-to-attack - in normal combat mode, I'd just about accept a pause/unpause option for the [half-arsed] Tac mode. I think that's a far easier persistent a-attack to add, given how Tac mode already functions.

...and TBH I never really found DAIIs combat that tactical either. Just a lot of actiony gameplay

True, and that's the 'it wasn't perfect' stuff I alluded to. Point is, whilst you barely needed those features, the player was allowed full control over how their companions behaved, which clearly DA:I lacks in any real sense. Whilst you rarely needed combined tactics in DAII, at least all of your companions would behave in a 100% predictable way, however you wished. Organised cross-class combo mayhem runs like clockwork in DAII. In DA:I, it's like a bunch of slightly unruly children or animals...

It'd also be nice if it was better optimised, and ran better, so that the prettiness wasn't tainted.

Well, if you want to feel better about things, check out some footage or screenshots on 360, the version I'm currently stuck with... To say it's an ugly mess is an understatement. No idea how much time and resources the last gen versions took, but I can't help feel the whole project would've benefited by simply ignoring 360 and PS3.

Well,

I will have to add glitches to my combat system evaluation. I ran into some that were mostly funny (although annoying), like enemies clipping through the scenery and becoming invulnerable (it happens very quickly and they often leave by themselves) but yesterday when I was fighting a boss, I could not change characters (and won the fight anyway, kind of proving my point) and the animations on all character froze. At certain points the boss started to take damage and I could no even gauge what was causing it. I almost lost and it wasn't a fun experience at all.

For all the great things on the game, the combat system was executed in a rather incompetent way. It is sad, really, because the game is a success and I fear it might be an incentive for developers to keep giving us half-baked systems as long as the overall thing goes well.

I'll qualify my imminent critical observations by saying that I use the real-time controls in combat instead of the tactical view (even though I play on PC), as I prefer the flow of the combat, and I do appreciate BioWare's attempt to create a real-time system that still involves thought and strategic/tactical thinking.

But why am I holding down the mouse button continuously? This feature removes the ability to use the mouse for anything else during combat, which is supposed to be the major advantage of PC over console, i.e. finer control. Even DA2 got that right, and in retrospect, may actually be the best realisation of this goal.

What I find strange is that they also removed the auto-move feature that DA:O and DA2 had, whereby your controlled character will automatically make their way to an item you've decided you want to interact with, e.g. a chest, NPC, etc.
This is a minor annoyance when you're gathering loot in a cleared room, but leads to infuriating, and embarrassing to look at, situations in combat where instead of moving towards your target (which would have partially excused the mouse hold requirement), your character just stabs at empty space.

At the end of the day, Dragon Age is the single player implementation of World of Warcraft mechanics, and I don't see why they felt the need to fix something that wasn't broken from the first two games. A tactical RPG should carry out the mundane tasks like attacking and moving for the player, so that they can concentrate on the actions requiring higher thought.

Riggsby101:
I'll qualify my imminent critical observations by saying that I use the real-time controls in combat instead of the tactical view (even though I play on PC), as I prefer the flow of the combat, and I do appreciate BioWare's attempt to create a real-time system that still involves thought and strategic/tactical thinking.

But why am I holding down the mouse button continuously? This feature removes the ability to use the mouse for anything else during combat, which is supposed to be the major advantage of PC over console, i.e. finer control. Even DA2 got that right, and in retrospect, may actually be the best realisation of this goal.

What I find strange is that they also removed the auto-move feature that DA:O and DA2 had, whereby your controlled character will automatically make their way to an item you've decided you want to interact with, e.g. a chest, NPC, etc.
This is a minor annoyance when you're gathering loot in a cleared room, but leads to infuriating, and embarrassing to look at, situations in combat where instead of moving towards your target (which would have partially excused the mouse hold requirement), your character just stabs at empty space.

At the end of the day, Dragon Age is the single player implementation of World of Warcraft mechanics, and I don't see why they felt the need to fix something that wasn't broken from the first two games. A tactical RPG should carry out the mundane tasks like attacking and moving for the player, so that they can concentrate on the actions requiring higher thought.

I guess its not out of the realm of possibilty that they mightve or might be toying with the idea of a DA:mmo.

sorry to resurrect this but those saying the engine has this limitation are not right. This is a console thing that was simply left in. With how much money they likely spent on this game, its hard to imagine they really could not allow you to use the mouse, that you can already move around and point at enemies while the game is paused, to do the tactics. Why no edge scrolling etc? Its entirely down to who they made the game for. Then they sit there expecting us to pay for it and putting on stupid DRM because its sooo worth buying.

Will they patch it eventually? It's one of the main reasons I've not played or even contemplated buying it at this time. I understand why you would have these options in the console versions of the game but on PC it's just debilitating.
I know DA:I won't have MOD support, if it did this would have been resolved eventually by the community.

Las7:
Will they patch it eventually? It's one of the main reasons I've not played or even contemplated buying it at this time. I understand why you would have these options in the console versions of the game but on PC it's just debilitating.
I know DA:I won't have MOD support, if it did this would have been resolved eventually by the community.

No patch or mod is going to save this game's combat as most of the problems are at a systemic level. I went in trying to like the game and give it a chance, but no Bioware offering has been this lackluster. As others of mentioned, the game emphasizes some of the worst parts of action and strategy combat. The tactical camera is serviceable at best, a downright chore at worst. You can't queue abilities to make use of tactical options outside of babying your characters by pausing every few seconds to do basic things, you can't select multiple characters at a time to issue out commands, the camera gets caught on everything and barely pans out and selecting a character's portrait will automatically shift your camera back to their position so you have to pan back to the battle-field EVERY SINGLE TIME. There is some awful ability lag that causes characters to wait multiple seconds before performing abilities, and AI will even over-write your commands if it feels the need. Telling a character to revive a downed teammate 3-4 times before they actually do it is not uncommon. Your attempts at positioning your melee behind enemies to avoid frontal AOE cones are often ignored as they shift spots constantly.

That isn't even going into the awful AI that just spams abilities making cross-combo abilities harder than it should be. If you have the audacity to turn off AI on certain abilities you then have to deal with the aforementioned terrible tactical camera. This would probably explain why the game is so under-tuned on modes like normal and hard, so the flaws aren't so apparent because you just stream-roll through everything.

If all these problems weren't bad enough, the enemy variety is so pathetic you'll be fighting the same types of enemies OVER AND OVER the many hours. These enemies also rarely have abilities that are threatening or force you to change your tactics, and are mostly just HP sponges. 95 percent of battles can be solved by throwing in your tank and AOE taunting, followed by spamming AOEs even on the hardest difficulty. When the game does try to get tricky like one of the bosses in the fade, it nearly made me quit the game altogether. By the end of the 70 hours of my first playthrough, I was so sick of the game I could barely finished it.

So yeah, they really screwed up this time. The next time I hear a reviewer say, "the combat is a nice mix of action combat with party controlled strategy", I'm not going to touch it with a ten foot pole.

The moment I played at a friends house and the character simply kept shooting arrows with auto aim and auto attack is said fuck it. What control do I have? Move the character? Because everything else was automated as fuck with the exception with the abilities.

Did no one played Dragons Dogma?

What kind of combat are they trying to have in this? I would understand if it was like in DA:O where it was more about comanding a party and giving orders but this one just looks like it tries to be an action game where you do the combat but you actually dont do shit.

Condiments7:
95 percent of battles can be solved by throwing in your tank and AOE taunting, followed by spamming AOEs even on the hardest difficulty. When the game does try to get tricky like one of the bosses in the fade, it nearly made me quit the game altogether. By the end of the 70 hours of my first playthrough, I was so sick of the game I could barely finished it.

I'm confused. You complain how you use the same strategy over and over for every fight, and then, during one of the boss fights, your strategy doesn't work and you feel like rage quitting the game?

I do agree that it's tempting to use the same strategy for every fight. I constantly found myself casting Pull of the Abyss + Lightning Cage and sending in Blackwall for melee fighting while Vivienne, Sera and myself attacked from the sidelines and cast Barrier. It made quick work of most enemies on Nightmare difficulty (Especially after Blackwall became a Champion and started building guard). This even counts for The Nightmare boss in the fade. He could fly about, but still couldn't get out of the cage or avoid being Weakened.

This didn't work for the Grand Dutchess of Lydes and I actually had to adjust my strategy for once and it was a breath of fresh air. The Dutchess couldn't be trapped by Lightning Cage, so I ended up casting it on the minions that were attacking Vivienne and the Inquisitior and moved the mages out of the cage. Then, as Sera, I used caltrops + poison cloud on them and just killed them all and continued focus on the Dutchess. I was doing this for The Nightmare as well, assuming that he couldn't be affected by Lightning Cage, but when I found out that he COULD be trapped, I was able to drop him pretty easily.

It really is a nice mix of combat and party based strategy; you just don't seem to have built a flexible enough team to adapt past one approach.

Honestly, my biggest issue with the combat was the aiming, but I can't see much around that. As a mage, I needed to see the entire field to know who to trap with my AoE spells, who to attack with my staff, who to cast barrier on, and which jerk is hitting me with their dang arrows. With two mages I was able to control the entire field, but marksmen were absolutely brutal on nightmare and always put them on priority 1 for myself to kill, but I still needed to see what was going around on the rest of the field. The thing is, moving the camera around causes my target to change and that has caused problems in the past if I wasn't paying too much attention. The lock-on system is fine if you're focusing on one enemy, but when you have the responsibility of controlling the entire battlefield AND attacking the enemies, lock-on isn't an option. And due to this, if I wasn't paying close enough attention, I'd find that I'd been attacking a Rage Demon with a fire staff doing 1 damage per hit on him, while the marksman I thought I was hitting has forced Sera to use 2 potions while Vivienne and I are waiting for our Barrier cooldown to finish. So I come out of a skirmish against a group of lvl 11 Wraiths with 0 exp and -2 HP potions.

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