Welp since 3 of you seemed to enjoy the last entry, I've decided that's good enough for me, and I may as well do another. I said I'd cover my time in Hinterlands, but I couldn't 100% it, so the Fallow Mire will be included as well.
So after exiting the tutorial and stepping out into Haven, I collected what I could from town, and stepped into the war room to meet Cassandra and the second coming of His Highness Ser Insufferable Prick, Chancellor Roderick, fighting over whether I shold live or die. I felt an ocean of salt pour upon me from not having the ability to tell them I thought it was precious that they were fighting over me, but I'd rather just be friends for now. Anyway, the fight comes to a stop when Cassandra slams a book the size of Manhattan onto a desk and declares the Inquisition alive. Cool.
For whatever reason, I couldn't exit he war table after the scouting was done, so I had to talk with my team a good ~5-6 hours after entering the Hinterlands and discovering how the world map worked. It was a little sad, because it seemed pretty clear you were meant to talk to them earlier, but whatever, shit happens.
So I entered the map through the Outskirts, the default region you make your landing in. Immediately recognizing it as one of the areas they showed in demos and such at tech conferences and cons. I was pretty blown away by the scale, and the fact that the PS3 could even handle it. The Hinterlands is absolutely massive, and it's easy to get lost, because the mini-map only shows icons, not terrain. A sad change, but one that makes sense given how much bigger everything is. I found myself really enjoying getting on top of cliffs and such, and then just sliding down, wasting potions to keep doing it.
Being the OCD completionist I am, I ran the opposite direction of the main quest, picking up a dozen or so sidequests, collectibles, sealing some rifts, and eventually running into a cult. The game does not take into consideration you not going to the main quest first, because my Inquisitor knew this group was a cult with no prior knowledge of them. Get on that, Bioware.
As I continued to play the game, I finally discovered the controls, and how to fast travel to camps, which is important, because I only had 8 potions to use at any given time. Which isn't so big a deal when you can just infinitely restock on basic healing potions. The new scale grew on me, distances that used to seem large becoming smaller and smaller, and time spent aimlessly wandering and picking up crafting materials decreasing. It was around the 5 hour mark that I noticed frames dropping, mostly from the fade step spell, and in dense areas of forest. In more open spaces, the game ran fine.
After clearing out all the main quest stuff from the Hinterlands, and almost all of the sidequests without going to Redcliffe, I hit a wall. In order to get horses, I need to move through a shallow river. In that river is an overleveled rift I don't want to pass up. In trying to find ways around it, I stumbled upon a dragon, so I bitched right the fuck back to Haven. I hit the war table, finished out almost all of the available operations, and went into the Fallow Mire to rescue some bros.
The Fallow Mire is a swamp overrun by a horrible plague, and full of undead. I started my trek through the swamp by going to the world map twice. Good job me. After finally finding my bearings, I proceeded through into the Fallow Mire proper, cautioned against entering the water, and oh man, is the game not joking about that.
The swamp is a much more modestly sized area than the Hinterlands, having only two campsites, and a handful of collectibles and sidequests. Everyone is dead except the Inquisition's forces, and a handful of barbarians and animals. The terrain is also much less prone to wilderness and brush, so the framerate remained stable throughout, which shocked me, because it's forever raining on this map.
Traveling throuh the map, you find beacons that draw undead and demons, making for some easy xp, because the enemies are kind of pushovers, save for the archers, who can poison your party, and poison is apparently immensely powerful. There really isn't much to do in this place, but it looks neat, I guess. At the end of the map is a castle surrounded by endlessly spawning undead you're supposed to run through. For whatever reason, they still gave xp, so I felt more inclined to stay and make sure my party was at my level.
The castle was a fairly easy place to muscle through, there's not much treasure, and the boss is a pushover without his archer support. After securing my bros, and recruiting a new agent, I cleared out what I could of the mire, and encountered a second obscenely overleveled rift, barring me from 100% clearing yet another map.
I'm roughly 12-13 hours in, and the game is still good for me. The balance seems off in spots, especially the rifts, but the challenge is mostly fair, and the controls are really starting to grow on me. The framerate may dip in spots, and there were a few sound issues, but the PS3 version is still holding up, and I'm having a good time. I also finally fussed around with the Dragon Age Keep and customized my own worldstate, so I may be restarting from the beginning soon just because I want to. If I do another of these(which I probably will, because I can't resist the call of writing almost a thousand words about video games), I'll be covering the Storm Coast.