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PC Port Report: Dragon Age: Inquisition

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How does Varric's chest hair look on PC?

The third installment in the Dragon Age franchise is finally here. If you're like me, you are cautiously optimistic with this one after playing Dragon Age II. I'm more of a tactical player, and felt that I was left in the dust last time around. I don't mind the action-oriented combat, but as a famous little girl once said, why not both?

As Chris mentions in his review, Dragon Age: Inquisition does a decent job mushing the two together. They certainly aren't blended together seamlessly, but both options are certainly present. Personally I think the game favors the controller layout, but the tactical among us are not forgotten!

[Note: With the exception of the header image, all screenshots were taken by me.]

Tested on: Intel i7-4770k 3.50 GHz, 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU (yes I know my GFX card is a chokepoint!)

For the big Dragon Age: Origins fans out there, there is likely one big question on your mind: how does the game control with a mouse and keyboard? Dragon Age II was very much an action game with a pause button, while Origins felt more strategic, especially on higher difficulties which were brutal to those that couldn't pause and queue up orders.

Dragon Age: Inquisition feels like a controller-focused compromise between the two. Pressing the T key (by default) or zooming all the way out will put the game into Tactical View, where players can issue orders from a top-down perspective. This view is very clunky, however, and feels tacked on to appease those who wanted a more Origins feel to the game. Moving the camera around can only be done with keyboard keys, as there is no option to turn on mouse edge panning. In addition, the default camera keys are unintuitive, so change them ASAP.

The camera is also limited by the environmental roofs. This means that in caves or any building with a low ceiling, the Tactical View is downright useless, since the camera can only go as high as the ceiling. Additionally, when paused, selecting a character to assign orders to centers the camera on that target, which is a huge nuisance. This makes it much more difficult to tell everyone to attack one target since the camera will constantly be going back and forth (Note: the "Auto-Center Camera" option does not pertain to this). Again, it's clear that the game was not designed around the Tactical View, but hey, at least it's there and it actually serves a purpose. 

Otherwise, the game controls just fine with a mouse and keyboard. No action game has ever felt "good" on a mouse and keyboard setup, and Inquisition is no different. Horse controls are a little awkward, since occasionally the horse will stop running, despite my finger never leaving the run key. Turning a slow horse with the mouse is also a pain in the butt, but so is turning a horse in real life, so there's that.

There is a slider included for Mouse Smoothing as well as Sensitivity to help alleviate things and make you feel right at home. Pinpoint accuracy isn't a huge deal in Inquisition, so the default settings never really bothered me. They keys are completely remappable and a quick-save option is included.

The in-game cutscenes are all capped at 30 frames per second (tested with FRAPS). Even when the game was running at 60 FPS, the cutscenes were always capped. The framerate varied for my rig depending on the environment, since some of the environments are very vast and include a lot to take care of. The recommended settings gave me around 30-40 FPS, but after tinkering around with the multitude of settings available, I managed to run at 60 FPS pretty consistently. There is an occasional strange stutter while entering a new area where the game just stops for about 1-2 seconds.

And thank the Maker, there is a Borderless Fullscreen option!

For players who would prefer to use a controller, make sure you have the controller connected before launching the game. Connecting a controller while the game is already running won't do anything. In addition, players have to switch the control scheme to Gamepad using the mouse and keyboard. Once the control scheme is switched over, the mouse and keyboard no longer do anything at all. It is a very black-and-white scenario, there's no mixing of the two control schemes. All of this was tested with Wireless Xbox 360 controllers. 

Multiplayer runs relatively lag-free, though there will be occasional stutters while playing. There is no Tactical View in multiplayer, and it plays a lot like user-created maps in the MMORPG Neverwinter. The online system shares a lot in common with Mass Effect 3; players will earn gold from playing, or can spend real money on Platinum to buy loot chests of various sizes that contain random items and one-time use potions. It didn't feel like I was forced to ever spend money, as you gain a decent amount of gold just from playing. A large loot chest costs 1, 200 gold or 250 Platinum. To get 1,200 gold, players will have to play around 4-5 online matches of varying success, which will take a decent amount of time. Alternatively, players can spend $9.99 of their hard-earned cash to get 1000 Platinum, enough for 4 large loot chests. 

The loot is completely random, so there is not necessarily a distinct advantage to those who pay money. However characters are unlocked by crafting armor, which needs supplies from salvaging items. So I suppose players who pay more money to get more loot would have more things to salvage, leading to characters being unlocked faster. Also, there is no push-to-talk button. If you have a microphone plugged in, it is transmitting what it picks up. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE REMEMBER THIS.

Overall, the game runs well on PC. The controls are obviously action-oriented and designed for a controller, the but the mediocre Tactical View does help alleviate some of it. There are plenty of graphic options to tinker with in order to get the game running smoothly on your PC, and I was able to get the game running at a solid 50-60 FPS.

I'll leave you with a few images. Options screen 1. Options screen 2. Low graphics 1. Ultra graphics 1. Low graphics 2. Ultra graphics 2.

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Patrick Hancock
Patrick HancockContributor   gamer profile

During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've persona... more + disclosures


 


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