Dragon Age: Inquisition
I still like DAO the best, but this was certainly a big step up from DA2, and I can see me giving this one another go with a different character (I played a Qunari Rogue this time through). I thought the main story was well done and pretty solid, with some familiar faces showing up and a couple surprises along the way that relate to the previous games. Companions were enjoyable and had some decent quests attached to them. I quite liked the diversity in the game with the various styles of quests/missions (the War Table, exploring various areas, etc.) And this game is big. I put close 140 hours into it, but I'm a bit of a completionist and generally slower to play through RPGs than many people. Still, even if you play through only the main quest and are much faster than I, it's a large game.
Combat mechanics were much improved over DA2, although the tactical camera is such a pain in the ass that I just defaulted to the pause button and switched party members when necessary. The AI handled my NPC members fairly well though most of the time. I found the abilities you pick up in the skill trees were, for the most part, fairly interesting, although I did tend to default to the same handful of skills in battles for almost the whole game.
I thought the crafting in the game was reasonably robust and if you're not a crafter, you can easily get by on gear you find or buy without too many worries. Crafting gets you the best gear though, but it does come with the risk of making your team almost untouchable. There are tons of ingredients to harvest and they respawn after a fairly short time period or after leaving the area (this is a bit jarring at first when you realize that even mineral deposits regrow... lol). One thing I found was there were a lot
of resources that were unable to be harvested. They'd ping on your search but they were placed into the world mesh in such a way that they were impossible to pick up. Luckily, as noted, they respawn quickly and there are no lack of places to harvest any particular material elsewhere, so it's really nothing more than a minor annoyance.
Armor can be tinted to please your aesthetic and there are lots of different armor and weapon designs, so that's a nice touch.
Some of the complaints I've read about the weak side quests are, for the most part, valid. Most of them are very generic fetch and/or kill X amount quests with little depth to them. There are, of course, exceptions, and these tend to be quite good when they've got some meat to them. As well, while the big main areas are almost all very open and non-linear, the structure of each area is the same: arrive, close fade rifts, collect shards, collect resources, find mosaic pieces, find astrariums, fight the bad guys to find the special/needed items, etc so you can garner enough power points to spend at the war table in order to advance the main quest. Speaking of astrariums, I really enjoyed those. All of them involve a constellation where you have to join the stars with a single line (not retracing any parts) to form the figure. Some were very simple and a few required a little creative thinking. But they're a type of puzzle I enjoy. If you don't, you'll hate them. But they're not terribly difficult and you get a little lore/codex entry once solved.
Exploration was generally fun, as I always like finding new places and hidden things. BioWare still, unfortunately, insists on showing you where almost everything is on your maps with nice big markers, so there's not a ton of stuff you can easily miss, but there are some you can easily bypass if you don't regularly use the search function. Speaking of the search funtion: the 'loot radar' is nothing short of goofy. I can see people hating that one, but I could tolerate it. Weird though. Very weird. Oh, but the BioWare 'jumping game' is decidely not fun. There are places that require you to jump a la platforming in order to reach things (almost none that are important enough to be required), and that particular aspect is... decidely unfun. But if you're determined to explore everywhere and/or try to collect everything, you have to put up with it.
Enemies were fairly standard Dragon Age fare, although there are very few darkspawn in this one - mainly demons and humanoids this time around. You can take on several dragons throughout the game, and they can be a nice challenge if you haven't kitted yourself out in uber crafted gear (by the time I got to my fourth one, I had, so they didn't tend to last long).
You get a nice variation of areas to explore, from delvings into the Deep Roads, to a short stint in the Fade (thankfully not a huge area and much, much better than the Fade in DAO!), to deserts, forests, plains, caves, dungeons, swamps, and ancient ruins. For the most part very nicely designed and all nice to look at (IMO).
Ok, let's talk about Denuvo: I don't think I noticed it. The only thing I can say is the game is slow to start up, but whether or not it's Denuvo, I don't know. Other than that, I had no issues. My old rig (Core i7 920, GTX 560Ti) handled it well with great frame rates (I didn't measure it, but found very, very few times did it stutter or seem to have low frames), transitions were smooth, although loading new areas, if they were big, sometimes took a few seconds, and the game crashed only a single time in the 140 hours I played. So, yeah, Denuvo. I think there's a ot of FUD spread about it, given my experience.
I think I've rambled long enough: overall, I give this one a solid thumbs up, much to my surprise and pleasure. It still suffers from many of the BioWare quirks and foibles, so stay away if you don't particularly care for BioWare's more recent games, but I found it very enjoyable. Full List