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Lots of graphical problems with Dragon Age: Inquisition on Xbox 360

by: Randy -
More On: Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition on Xbox 360 has problems.

But let me be clear: Inquisition is an excellent game. I’m not contesting that. Nathaniel Cohen, one of our most thoughtful and insightful writers, indeed wrote a thoughtful and insightful review of Inquisition. If you have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or an up-to-date gaming PC, then his review is all you need to read.

I’m playing Inquisition on Xbox 360, however, and it hasn’t gone well. I’m not talking about plot, characterization, and art. BioWare knows how to put together an award-winning role-playing-game. It has a long and storied history of award-winning role-playing games, in fact (see Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Baldur’s Gate, to name a few). No, I’m talking about basic graphical glitches messing with Inquisition’s whole kit and caboodle.

This is not a review. It’s simply a fair warning. Warning for those of us who spent $60 on the last-gen version of a game that’s clearly not optimized for play on last-gen consoles.

At first, I thought it was me. I started multiple characters to see if that was the issue. I created multiple saves to see if one (or maybe two) of them were the problem. I tried every race, class, and gender combination to see if one (or maybe two) of them were the problem.

Nope. The problems I’ve encountered are consistent across the board on 360. They are:

  • Texture pop-in. The worst I’ve seen in any video game ever. Plants and rocks within a few feet of my character are constantly popping up into view even after I’ve been standing still. 
  • Low-resolution textures. I won’t exaggerate with false claims that Inquisition looks like an original Xbox game, or a PlayStation 2 game, but it certainly looks muddier than a three-year-old Skyrim. I’d even put BioWare’s first Mass Effect from 2007 (from seven years ago!) graphically ahead of Inquisition. Either way, Inquisition does not by any stretch of the imagination look like a late-generation Xbox 360 game. Some cutscenes feature NPCs with clothing completely devoid of texture, sporting barely anything more than a wireframe with a blob of color slapped on it.
  • Audio hiccups. Voices rarely sync up with lip movements on the character generation screen, let alone in game. It sounds dubbed like a kung-fu movie. Also, there have been cutscenes where the speaker’s head bobs around, and their words are being spoken, but their lips stopped moving. Or, in a creepier instance, their lips were trying to move, but were stuck together--like they were sewn shut. All of these were only one step above the audio cutting out completely, which happened enough times for me to put subtitles on, preparing for the inevitable. I also skipped a few cutscenes (because I’d seen them so many times from so many restarts), but that caused the dialogue to stutter and skip around like a bad CD even when I didn’t skip cutscenes.
  • Disappearing characters. This has only been a cutscene issue, too, but I can almost predict where characters will completely disappear (*pop*) from one screen before (*pop*) popping in unexpectedly in the next.
  • Freezing. It’s almost boring to list this problem, too, but there it is. Inquisition has, on multiple occasions, completely locked up my Xbox 360 and required hard reboots. Not during busy, graphically intensive scenes. Just...whenever.

If you’re playing Inquisition on Xbox 360, I can almost guarantee you’ve run into a couple of these problems yourself. I’ve played other new games on my console (Destiny, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, etc.) without this litany of problems, so I don’t believe it’s a matter of my Xbox 360 dying. This stuff is isolated to Inquisition. Even the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions hit the rare snag--though not enough to hinder the experience too much (according to other Gaming Nexus staffers that've played it).

I’m excited to dig into Dragon Age: Inquisition, and I’m booting it up as soon as I upload this news post. Just thought I’d give you guys fair warning. BioWare spent their quality-assurance dollars on the new-gen consoles, not on us poor schmucks still lagging behind with Xbox 360s. So I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with the occasional low-res character like this poor guy (girl?):