Really enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition; Not so much for Divinity: Original Sin

These two games with three-word names with colons in the middle are RPGs I bought last week on sale. both are set in fantasy worlds where you fight baddies using swords and magic. Both have a player character and companions to help the fight. Both have made up BS names for bad magic stuff, like the “fade” or “source.” Both also have seemingly high production value and look pretty good. But the combat is very different, and that makes all the difference for me.

Divinity: Original Sin is an old school-looking game, with isometric views, but of a real 3D environment, so the camera angle, position, and zoom can be changed if desired. The game world looks good and the story seems about average. The problem is that it is way old school in the combat as well. The combat is turn based, so everything must be micromanaged. Every attack, every movement, every healing potion, all of it. I guess I’ve been spoiled since Dragon Age: Origins where your companions had AI and rules that you could make and change, so they could participate in the combat productively and without micromanagement. Sure, you could micromanage if you wanted, but it wasn’t required. Because I can’t be bothered with this level of micromanagement at my advanced age (and I wouldn’t have bothered much when I was younger as well), Divinity: Original Sin will be put on the back burner. I won’t be asking Steam for a refund, because it isn’t the game developer’s fault that I bought a good game that I just don’t like.

Dragon Age: Inquisition, on the other hand, is very compelling and good fun. The combat system is significantly simplified from the Dragon Age: Origins rule making, but it works very well and I rarely have to micromanage. My biggest problem was with the keyboard and mouse control (I’m playing on PC). The right button view controls were awful, and when you’re trying to close a fade rift that’s above you (and all of them are), getting a view on it to be able to affect it was a real challenge. Luckily, the game was also designed for controller support, and that works fine. The views and movement work great, and I can still pause the action (called “Tactical View” now) to select targets or issue commands. The biggest problem is that they’ve created a beautiful world that is much more open than in any of the previous games, but I’m usually so busy looking with a slight downward angle that I don’t get to take in its beauty.

The other problem I have with DAI (and with another EA game, Titanfall) is that it is really stupid about resolution settings with my 4K monitor. My graphics card isn’t powerful enough to play smoothly at 4K, but is great for 1080p. So when I set 1080p/60 in the game, the game (both DAI and Titanfall, in this case) decides that I really must have meant 1080p/24 and sets the monitor for that. Well that’s a disaster in Titanfall, but even DAI looks jerky and the voice sync goes out of whack at 24 frames per second. So I have to manually set the resolution to 1080p/60 then start the game. Titanfall would let me play at 1080p/120 with no problem (yes, the monitor supports 120 Hz at 1080 resolution), but DAI is very confused by that and refuses to go into full screen mode.

So despite the technical glitches, Dragon Age: Inquisition is great and has at least partly broken my obsession with Destiny. Divinity: Original Sin looks like a neat game, but the combat system isn’t my cup of tea.

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