It also, however, is a chance to test all the skills you've been learning. Fighting on the open plains is fun, but it's the claustrophobic corridors deep underground where you can really strategize - identifying choke points, hiding spots and more and building your battle plans around them. Good dungeons make me use stealth to scout, make me plan the placement of area of effect spells for maximum effect and teach me to be creative with my battle strategy, which is definitely a plus. You're also bound to find interesting loot, hidden areas, and even sometimes interesting story elements.
|Darkness is everywhere in these dungeons, meaning that enemies often catch you unawares and make your life very tough.|
Not having direct control over my allies means that I have to control them via commands, something that has taken a lot of getting used to. However, now that I'm familiar with the hotkeys I'm finding the system quite intuitive. Rather than rely on AI scripts as some games do, I can change how my comrades behave with the press of a key. This makes it quite possible to order them to attack while you stay back and provide support, to wait while you run ahead and scout, or to run past attackers without stopping to fight in order to beat a hasty retreat. It's a system that takes getting used to, but it works surprisingly well - although you can't give individual party members orders, merely the group as a whole.
|Combat in the open plains has its own strengths, but doesn't allow for anywhere near as much strategy as a corridor filled dungeon.|
A variation on this is to make enemies fight one another. Inquisitor seems to have enemies split up into factions, and it was with great joy that I discovered that I could lead a group of Orcs into a spider den, then quickly make my escape while the orcs and spiders fought it out. Sadly, environmental hazards do not seem to work the same way, and I have lured enemies into pits of lava or acid that kill my character in a matter of mere seconds only to watch them pass through unharmed. A missed opportunity to create more tactical options for the player, and a game element that feels unfair and broken.
|The lava pools in this game are a real threat if you don't have the levitate spell. I do not have the levitate spell.|
It's been a long time since I've had such a long, hard slog through a dungeon as this. I feel this part of the game is bigger than it really needed to be - there are very few characters to talk to down here, and even though my speech ability allows me to talk my way through some of the combat scenarios, there's still a ton of enemies to fight. Still, I'm pretty confident that my next trip back to the mines from the town will be my last - and the way the story is progressing as I head through these corridors, it seems likely that whatever - or whoever - I find at the bottom of these mines will be the key to finishing Act 1. I finally feel like I've gotten a pretty good grip on how the game works, and I'm actually starting to feel comfortable playing it, rather than hopelessly underpowered, underfunded and outnumbered as I did for the first few hours of play.
Time to head back in.