So, my impressions of playing as much as I could within the 6 hour trial period supplied by EA Access?
Decent, but with some faults. (This is reflecting the XBOX ONE version)
The graphics overall are pretty robust, nothing groundbreaking but they hold up for new gen standards with the environments being the main feature to gorge upon. Unfortunately, there are a few framerate issues and it runs at what seems to be becoming the XBOX ONE's native resolution of 900p. Also, the character models themselves are nice, despite the animations leaving something to be desired. But there are no glaring issues with the visuals, and they did not impact the time I had with the game. Also, the use of post processing is tasteful and rather restrained, very minimal motion blur, no lens dirt, appropriate amounts of bloom and lovely lovely god rays.
Another issue is that the voice actors for some of the major characters are... not great. However they are somewhat saved by the writing that goes into the characters themselves, which live up to the standard we've come to expect from Bioware. Also, the morality is still a bit on the black/white morality side of things but not nearly as much as previous Bioware titles. (Also, your character can have a sense of humour that is genuinely entertaining at times).
In fact, expanding upon the player's entity within this world...
The customisation kept me occupied for quite some time, and the re-introduction of playing as non-human races was very welcome. Also, while the player may be stuck in the class they choose throughout the whole game, they can change their weapon specialisation later when they level their character up.
I personally went as a rogue elf, specialising in dual-wielded weaponry. (I tried archery for a bit when I picked up a bow and I felt I was having a better experience with the stabby-stabby stuff so I went back to my initial choice.) The combat is very solid and a little bit tricky at first. Your character gets a standard auto-attack kinda thing (although you do have to aim and move to the enemies yourself, this isn't an MMO
) when the right trigger is held and you use the face buttons for those flashy special moves that do the actual damage dealing. Furthermore, you can also take direct control of your allies or use the strategy mode where you can freeze time, plot your murderous spree, and then watch the results in real time, pausing the action at any time you please.
In my six hours, I barely did any story stuff, once I got to the first actual environment to explore. I just kept doing side-quests, and even completing some by accident while roaming around the gawjus
scenery. (I'm not complaining, XP is XP). And the side-quests are really fun to do (judging by the time I spent doing them anyway) and there are a lot
of them. I wasn't anywhere close to clearing the place out by the time my trial expired. Which I guess is a good thing.
On the topic of bugs... I had a couple, which is pretty impressive since this came unpatched, running Frostbite 3, (Battlefield 4 launch anyone?). I had one glitch where I accidentally talked to an npc mid-jump and thus the falling animation was cycling as I glided around the room until I interacted with something else. There was also one fluke where I could no longer switch characters, nothing a simple re-loading of a save file couldn't fix (god bless new-gen autosaving). The most worrying of all was probably a corruption of my initial save file, again, were it not for the autosaves, I would've had a bit of an issue to say the least. None of these glitches re-occured. So they're just flukes that will probably get ironed out in the day-one patch. (C'mon, every game has a day-one patch these days.)
All in all, I've never really been that big on the Dragon Age games, (I really did enjoy what little I played of the first one.) But this one has left me with a smile on my face. I walked away with an afternoon well spent.
And possibly a lot more afternoons to come when the game hits the shelves.