With new DLC comes new adventures in the Free Marches and another chance to spend time with party members that did a wonderful job of carrying the story in Dragon Age II. However in the case of Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin we not only get to once more spend time with the ones that we already know but video gamers also get to meet a whole new character named Tallis. Note: I wouldn’t click that link until after playing through Mark of the Assassin or watched Dragon Age: Redemption.
Tallis is an elf on a mission voiced by Felicia Day, but don’t let Miss Day’s normally pleasant demeanor fool you; there is something going on with Tallis that is far more in depth than you are led to believe. In fact the whole of what is Tallis isn’t what you are lead to believe. I’m not going to get into her backstory suffice it to say that she is quite different than any elf you’ve aligned yourself with so far in the Dragon Age world.
Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Gameplay
While 90% of the game is similar to Dragon Age II there are a few tidbits here and there that need mentioning. Firstly the “stealth” aspect of the game. While this could potentially be a good idea it seems rather out of place. In it you have three options for sneaking 1.) Stay out of site 2.) Distract them with a rock 3.) Hit them in the head to knock them out. There is a very small modicum of skill or understanding required, but for me it was mostly “Just knock everyone out and move”My hulking clunking tank is not known for his stealthiness or tact. Were I to use my rogue then yes, this would seem a tad more normal however as it stands it feels like they just wanted to try something new. This is not a bad thing and it could play well in future Dragon Age games, however it just feels tacked on.
Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Characters
Second thing worth mentioning is the fact that they did a very nice job taking Felicia Day and translating her into an elf. Facial mapping was spot on and her voice acting (as expected) was sublime. I had not watched Redemption when I began my foray into the Free Marches so I found myself asking “Why am I supposed to care about Tallis?” Even as it ends there is little backstory to her so, while I’m sure she’s nice, I just didn’t care about her. That did not, however, stop me from flirting my tank ass off. This just lends credence to the “Hawke is a Whore” theme that seems to permeate Dragon Age II. The gender or sexual preference of the person I’m talking to doesn’t matter, I’m going to make myself “available”. Loudly if need be.
Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Combat
Third there is the combat. This is the standard Dragon Age II style combat where the more mages the better you are. After one particularly nasty “optional boss” I had to restart my game loaded with mages in my party to ensure victory. While not my idea of the “perfect party” it seemed to make the rest of the game fairly easy. However other than this one optional boss the DLC seems fairly cut and dry.
Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Cameos
Fourth we have this:
Dragon Age II was not without it’s cameo’s and neither is Mark of the Assassin. Teagan makes a comeback and he does so with Isolde who utters a line that proves to be very difficult to remove from ones ears once it decides to pay a visit. Granted Teagan and Isolde serve absolutely ZERO PURPOSE other than to utter the line in the video. It’s for this reason We’re pretty sure that BioWare threw it in there because of this clip.
This is not the only cameo to appear in Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin, however the others are relatively bit players from Dragon Age II. Aside from one.
A certain bard from Origins make’s a return in what is a very confusing and potentially interesting conversation. Leliana and Tallis have a back and forth that appears to indicate there is a rather rich and deep story there involving some form of deception. Leliana appears to know precisely who Tallis is and what she wants to the point that her very presence seems to unnerve our elven companion.
Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Story
Finally there is the story. As I mentioned earlier I found myself asking time and time again, “Seriously, who the expletive is this girl and why do I give a flying expletive?” The story winds up being interesting but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was supposed to watch the Redemption videos before I played the DLC. I felt that maybe I was missing out on something. But as interesting as the story was it does not appear to tie into anything in the Dragon Age world other than a way to prance Felicia Day around in Rogue Armor (not that anyone is complaining about that). I’m sure at some point in the story all points will converge into on glorious moment of “Expletive me, that was AWESOME!” As of right now, however, I’m going to be here scratching my head about it all.
All in all it’s a good bit of DLC that takes a decent tick of time to get through. However it feels like it’s a tacked on vehicle for Tallis more than anything related to the lore and wondrous world of Dragon Age. For this reason it holds it back from being truly great and leaves it in the realm of “average”.