There's a lot I like about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but as someone who has almost zero patience with MMOs, it felt far too MMO-like for my liking. Only single-player series that feels worse in that way to me are the early Assassin's Creed games. I also wasn't a fan of the realtime companion quests.
The game only feels like an MMO grind if you make it that way. There wasn't a single time in the game outside of i need X Y and Z to craft an item and at least with wiki i knew where to go if i couldn't remember or i could just go to one of a few stores to buy said item. But i never felt the need to push levels, really the only thing you need to do is get to 10 to decide which focus you want on your main character and that comes really early in the game.
outside of that i never just spent time killing monsters for the heck of it, well unless i really wanted to, the dragon hunt was fun, But i often ould ride my horse to skip stuff all together. The game could have had a fast travel update though unlocking all camps for those that really want to just focus more on the stories at hand. It was fun to naturally explore them the first time, but even then i wouldn't of minded just warping to the middle of no where.
Grinding is a mindset and really has zero to do with the game. Even if you speed through the game doing virtually no side quests you should be just fine for the story. I know andromeda scales and i think DA:I does to because i was a lot higher level, i think nearly 10 levels higher and the end game was just as challenging. in fact in andromeda you can clearly see it as i could swear the game kicks up a notch every 10 levels, either that or maybe it's just the boss fights., (that big metal thing in the wilds) Try fighting it at level 18, then again at 21. (reload after you beat it. the biggest difference was between level 29 and 30, talk about hard hitting.
2-They completely nerfed the Tactics section, you basically have no control over how or when your characters use an ability (outside of health potions). The tactics options in DAO were the best, you could tweak your companions combat choices to fit what you wanted.
3-Another UI issue is that there are not enough ability slots to go with the abilities you choose, you only get 8 slots, and most companions will have more abilities than slots. Not good in combat.
You build your characters around the 8 slots, Andromeda only had 3 soo.. I really think it was a design choice for consoles, You just can't have 20 things lined up across the screen and use them effectively. There are only so many buttons on a controller, so they simplified it. You should be setting up your skills for the battles. Lots of game you do that, swap gear, swap buffs, swap what spells you learn in the case of dnd.
Take a game like Dungeons of Naheulbeuk, You often respect our character for specific fights, it's part of the games charm., The game uses a set random seed, (though it has an option to turn it off) So to replay a battle you actually have to do things different verse waiting for a good roll streak to make your bad tactic win.
As far as the tactics second went i found my AI guys in DA:I were a lot better at using powers verse me microing them. But these games become mage controller on tougher fights. You are not always controling you and you are far better at controlling magic than AI ever could be. the fighter and rogue are on auto pilot, I honeslty think that is why people found the game less challening because the AI actually worked. in DAO you really had to tweak a ton of stuff just to get them so they didn't drop every fight.
Then I discovered The Witcher III and omg... DAI just felt like a badly animated Nickelodeon show for three year olds compared to a HBO series.
really? i guess i'm in the other group, that is the game i find over rated. The first was good but they took everything i enjoyed about it and tossed it out the window. ISO metric gameplay with mouse click swordplay and an awesome potion stacking system and just completely yanked the entire core of the game out and redid it. Yet another game that got consolized I try to go back and play them and i just can't. I think i tried replaying II 3 times and barely got into it once, 2 turned me off so much that i can't even give III a proper chance because i turn it off after an hour. I think,, ya it's geralt.. Lets following him around for the next 150 hours.
The witcher is a perfect game for people that like games like Skyrim, but if you want a proper party based RPG it totally blows.
But that's why there are all sorts of games out there.