It’s that time of the year when we count our blessings and overeat. But not in that order. And maybe more the second thing than the first. And then we go shopping.
In any case, I’ve compiled a list of everything I’m thankful for:
1. The loading screens are outrageous. It takes forever to start the program, forever to load a game, forever to change zones, forever to exit back to the main menu, and forever to exit the application.
2. If you want to use a controller, you need to have the controller active when the game is launched. If you forget (or if you use a wireless controller that sleeps when not in use) then you have to exit the game and re-launch it. (See #1.)
3. When the controller is in use, the mouse and keyboard stop working. ESC doesn’t even bring up the menu. I’ve never seen a game that limits input like this. Every other modern gameThat I’m aware of. lets you switch freely without needing to change any menu options at all, and doesn’t block one type of input when the other is active.
4. Being deprived of mouse input would be less disorienting if the game didn’t continue to display the now-useless mouse pointer on the menu screen. There’s no way to move it, but it’s floating there anyway for some reason.
5. These misplaced rocks:
As soon as I rolled my first character I saw these rocks hovering beside me. (And if this is supposed to be magic, then they should tumble or bob up and down or something. They’re locked in place and when you visit the spot later you can walk right through them.)
I understand that there are thousands of props in a game like this and once in a while one object ends up where it shouldn’t, but these are from the first seconds of the game.
6. If you’re using the controller and it disconnects (maybe you unplug it, or you’re using wireless and the battery dies) the game doesn’t revert to mouse + keyboard or re-enable them. You literally have no means of inputting things. If you can’t get the controller working, you have to ALT-Tab and kill the game manually.
7. Moreover, if your controller is disconnected the game doesn’t pause! It doesn’t even let you know. This is a major interface no-no and when combined with #3, means a dying battery can get you killed.
8. Sound cuts out sometimes. You can fix this by going through a zone transition or re-loading the game. (See #1.)
9. Animations sometimes stop working. Happened to me.
10. There’s a nice loading screen where you can read some in-game tips and bits of lore. However, it inexplicably vanishes after ten seconds and gives you another twenty seconds of blank screen to stare at.
11. The system requirements doesn’t match the visuals. Yes, the game “looks nice”. But Skyrim also “looks nice”. So does Shadow of Mordor. And Batman: Arkham City. Those games are all in the same general ballpark in terms of graphical details, they have larger crowds, much larger draw distances, and they take a tiny fraction of the power that Inquisition demands. I have Skyrim modded to hell and back with graphical boosts and high-res texture packs, and still out-performs Inquisition by a large margin.
12. Setting model detail on anything other than “high” will inexplicably give everyone highly glossy hair.
It looks shockingly bad. Moreover, this makes no sense. There’s no reason that lowering model detail should impact the lighting, and there’s no reason it needs to look this awful. Again, older games do far more with far less and look far better when reverting to lower settings.
13. Even when model detail set to high, Sera’s face looks like THIS:
14. The in-game Origin Overlay is incompatible with FRAPS. Steam does not have this problem. This is probably a problem with Origin, but the mutliplayer uses the overlay to invite / join games, which means if you’re running FRAPS you can’t send or receive invitations.
15. THIS “ROUND SHIELD” IS NOT:
16. The pose and camera angle always make it look like this lady has no arms.
17. The game has built-in VOIP chat which is always on. You can’t adjust your mic volume. You can’t adjust the sensitivity. You can’t disable the system outright. You can’t set a push-to-talk key.
Whoops. Looks like I messed up and posted my list of Dragon Age: Inquisition glitches instead of the list of things that make me thankful. Which means tech support is going to get a really sappy email from me today and have no idea why.
To make up for it, here is a shot of Cassandra just blatantly checking out Varric’s ass:
I guess I’m kind of thankful for that. Have a great day.
 That I’m aware of.
The Best of 2012
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2012.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.
Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels
Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a clumsy, tone-deaf allegory that thought it was clever, and it managed to annoy people of all political stripes.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
Linux vs. Windows
Finally, the age-old debate has been settled.