Category: Dragon Age II

DA2LogoAs everyone knows, BioWare is my favorite game developer in the world.  In my eyes they can do no wrong.  I can even enjoy and love Dragon Age 2, despite its flaws.  Also, you may know that I enjoy writing.  So when I heard that BioWare was hosting a writing contest based on the Dragon Age universe and featuring mages and templars, I absolutely had to enter.  And I really wanted to win.  Unfortunately, I didn’t, but I read some of the entries that placed and I can kind of see why.  They all had something that made them really stand out, made them emotional.  Gave that special feeling to the reader.  Mine, as you’ll see below, is more based on action.  I definitely see now ways I could have improved.

Anyways, below is my entry for the competition, entitled Somniari’s Sleep:

 

As a templar, my motivation is supposed to come from the desire to follow the will of the Maker, to protect the innocent from the havoc a mage could cause.

It does not.

Rather, my driving force comes from a place deep within my soul, a bitter seed that has left me desiring one thing: revenge.  Revenge that is well deserved; revenge on a rogue mage.

A mage who happens to be my identical twin sister.

Tasked with rooting out mages who never joined the Circle, it is Candra I search for among the apostates.  I hunt rumors and legends; often following trails that have long since grown cold.  She is the one I hope to confront every time I track an apostate.

As I approached Knight-Captain Reyes in a small alleyway off the market within Ansburg, my heart thrummed, quickened by the news I brought.  I was eager to gain his approval for my next task.

“Knight-Captain?”  I asked.  He was the templar I treated with deference, as he was the one who took me seriously.  After my mother died, I sought to join the templar order, craving a purpose and a chance at revenge.  Being half elf, half human, I was laughed at and thrown out.  Only Reyes had recognized my passion, allowing me to work for him privately as a templar hunter.  Officially, I was akin to a mercenary.  But in my mind, I was a templar.

He turned, and I bowed my head.  “Evaine.”  His dark features and lilting accent established that he had come to the Free Marches from Antiva.

“I recently heard of a dangerous apostate, and I’m looking for your favor to find her.”

He lifted an eyebrow while his coal colored eyes studied me.  “Go on.”

“There have been strange happenings in northern Ferelden, near Highever.  People being pulled into the Fade against their will.  Hauntings.  A woman going mad.  A mage was thought to be the cause of it, and it stopped after she disappeared.”

Reyes’ mouth tightened as I spoke of the mage’s deeds.  “Where is she now?”

“She was seen heading west, stopping in Orzammar,” This was all the information I would present, and now I would await his decision.  I doubted it would result in anything other than finding her, but I needed his blessing all the same.

“Strange that an apostate would travel so close to the Circle Tower.  And that she would choose Orzammar, of all places.  The dwarves have no magic in their blood.”  He ran a hand through his hair.  Nervously waiting for an answer, my fingers began to grow cold.  Surely this wouldn’t be considered too dangerous a job for an unsanctioned templar hunter?

Finally he nodded.  “Bring her to the nearest Circle, if possible.  Nullify the threat, if not.”

I acknowledged this with another bow and turned to go.

“And Evaine?”

I looked back.  His brows were creased.

“I’m not sure what type of magic this is.  Be cautious.”

 

Reyes may not have known the type of magic this apostate was using, but I did.  It sounded all too familiar to me.

Somniari.  A dreamer; someone who could enter the Fade at will and manipulate it, driving others into the Fade, attacking people in their dreams, destroying their minds.  Even killing them through their dreams.

It was rare magic, thought to be extinct in all but legends.  My throat tightened as I thought back to when my parents were alive and my mother wasn’t emotionally scarred by the horrors my sister had wrought.  Candra inherited the magic bloodline of our elven ancestors, while I was simply a half breed with no magical talents.

I was young when Candra began having nightmares.  Our parents were concerned, because she told them of demons who called to her.  But who could they turn to for help?  My mother, a Dalish elf, had abandoned her tribe to marry the human she’d met on an expedition in the Brecilian forest in Ferelden.  My father was disowned by his family in Denerim for wedding an elf rather than a noble.  They were afraid of bringing her to the Circle, as they might never see her again.

It became difficult to wake her up.  She would sleep through the morning, not rising until mid-day.  Eventually nothing could wake her.  It terrified us.

I stopped my thoughts.  I was standing at the entrance to Orzammar, being sized up by a sour dwarf.  Garbed in loose robes, with a hood pulled low over my eyes, I was dressed for anonymity.

It was early in the morning.  Although there was a circle of trading stations set up in front of the doors, most of the traders were still in their tents.  Those that were awake were blearily setting out their wares, paying us no mind.

“What do you want?” spat the dwarf, his voice as icy as the wintery air.

“To get inside,” I replied sardonically.  Before he could respond, I drew my dagger and pressed it against his throat.  “Let me in, or I’ll take your tongue and feed it to a nug.”

He grunted in distaste, but the intimidation worked.  He opened the doors, muttering about hoping darkspawn would eat me.

I was closer than ever to the goal of finding my apostate twin, and was both elated and terrified.  It had been over a decade since I’d seen her, back when I was 15.  I was now 29.  Yet I could still picture the last day I saw her, the day mother and I fled for our lives.

Passing through the entrance hall, I entered the Commons.  I was struck by the impressive architecture, the dedication that went into carving the entire city from stone.  While I admired the craftsmanship required, I also felt oppressed.  The lighting provided by lava and flickering torches felt unnatural, casting a ruddy hue on the surroundings.

I took in the view, and then moved to cross the bridge over the bubbling lava.  Alert, I scanned the other side in the off chance I caught a glimpse of her.  Seeing only dwarves, I wandered on the stone street.  I overheard conversations about the death of a king, and arguments over his successor.

Walking towards the dingier part of Orzammar, I felt a change in the atmosphere as I crossed over; the air itself was heavier.  Knowing that eyes watched me, I kept my hand near my blade.  Feeling the stirring of movement behind me too late, my knees were suddenly kicked out from under me, my hood thrown back, and a blade pushed against my throat.  Ironic that I’d just done the same thing to a dwarf.

A voice raged in my ear.  “What’s a surfacer doin’ here in Dust Town?”

“Let her go!”  The command came from my right, but I didn’t dare turn my head with the knife resting against my neck.

You,” the dwarf sneered.  But the blade lifted, and he backed away.

I was on the ground with my hand against my throat.  It was disconcerting to think I might have been moments away from meeting the Maker.  A shadow fell over me, and I looked up to see that the voice belonged to an elf.  His brown hair was streaked with red and fell into his gray-green eyes as he studied me.

“Candra, what are you doing?  I thought we agreed you’d stay inside.  Come on, let’s go.  That dwarf will be getting his friends right now,” he informed me, wrapping an arm around my waist and lifting me up.  My heart leapt within me when he mentioned her name.  He hadn’t even realized his mistake.

He guided me to an abandoned structure, of which the door had been ripped off its hinges.  The front room was empty, but as he drew me into a room deeper within the hovel, he moved aside a broken chair and rug to reveal a hatch in the corner.

“Are you hurt?” he asked as he helped me down the stairs.

“Just shaken.”  My voice cracked convincingly.  I was standing at the bottom of the stairs, which led to a tunnel, into which many passages emptied.  He closed the hatch, and put his arm back around me.  I leaned on him, under the pretense of shock.

“If you thought to be less conspicuous in that outfit,” he stopped to chuckle.  “You only made yourself stand out more.  That dwarf thought you were a prime target.”

We took a left at one of the passages.  I hadn’t seen any signs of life, and I was getting anxious.  I glanced at the elf supporting me, noticing he was looking me up and down, frowning.  “Where did you get that outfit…?” he asked slowly.

“Elin!”  A voice stopped us.  He released me so abruptly that I stumbled.  We had turned a corner, and there she was.

Candra.

It was like looking into a mirror, how similar we appeared.  Blonde hair like gold, deep navy blue eyes, a sprinkling of freckles on the nose.  The lean build of an elf, the stature of a human, and the slight point in the ears.  Except she looked exhausted.  Her shoulders were slumped, dark purple circles like bruises marked her eyes, her eyes themselves were dull, and her face was pale.

As I stared, I saw a parade of emotions cross her face.  First, annoyance for Elin, then suspicion as she looked at me, giving way to shock, then sadness, ending with confusion.  I drew myself up, wearing the most spiteful glare I could muster.

“Candra,” I greeted.  I paid no heed to Elin, who was glancing between us, dumbfounded.

“Evaine,” she breathed.  Her eyebrows drew together.  “But I thought… you were dead.”

“Still living and breathing.  No thanks to you.”

She seemed to realize my anger.  I was trembling with emotion, barely keeping myself contained.  I wanted to scream at her, I wanted her to answer my questions, I wanted her to feel the pain I’d felt.

“All this time, you’ve… been alive… I can’t believe it,” she whispered.

I couldn’t believe her tone, which sounded like she cared after all she’d done.  It tore me apart.  “Yes, I have.  Do you know what you did to father?  How mother was left heartbroken by your actions, that her mind couldn’t comprehend it, how I had to care for her until she died?  That is, after we fled for our lives because you almost killed me.  She repeated ‘Somniari’ over and over, one of the only things she would say for the rest of her life.”  I stopped, breathing hard.  She had let me speak, but her face was crumbling as the accusations hit.

“I hate myself for what happened.  Father was trapped in the Fade because of me, and I thought I’d killed you.  I understood why mother ran.  How far away from an abomination was I, that I was capable of such things?  I should have been made tranquil, cut off from the Fade.”

It took a moment to process this information.  I thought she’d had no regret, that she’d done what she had because she’d wanted to.  It never occurred to me that maybe she’d been as horrified as me.

She continued quietly, “I begged them to take me to the Circle Tower.  They decided against it.  I knew something wasn’t right, but I thought, even if they made me tranquil, at least… they’d have you.”

I was stunned.  I reached for something that wouldn’t rend my whole basis for becoming a templar.

“Why Orzammar?”

The pained look returned.  “I was trying to control my abilities, and found a Dalish tribe who was sympathetic to me.  But they knew of nothing that would help, aside from killing me outright.  At that point, Elin wouldn’t allow it,” she smiled faintly at him, and he moved to her side.  That could be problematic, two against one.  “I left before anything happened, and Elin came with me.  I tried forcing myself to stay awake, to not allow myself in the Fade, but that was impossible.  I failed miserably in Highever.  Then I thought of Orzammar.  Maybe, since the dwarves have no magic, I wouldn’t be able to affect them.  I want to stop hurting people.  Evaine, I’m… sorry for what happened.”

It was too much.  I didn’t believe her, couldn’t believe her.

“That can’t be true,” I muttered.  “Because of what happened, I became a templar.”

Candra’s face was unreadable, but Elin growled, “Why can’t you see she has a good heart?  She doesn’t mean for anything bad to happen.”

“The problem is that bad things keep happening.  One way to solve that problem is to become tranquil,” I replied sharply.

“I deserve nothing less,” agreed Candra.  Elin looked startled.

“What?  No.  No!”

“Elin,” she said, touching his face gently.  “You have to let me go.”

Tears formed in his eyes, and he was clenching his jaw.  In a sudden movement, he leaned forward and kissed her.  I was surprised by the tender display, but turned, as the moment felt intimate.

I heard Candra gasp and whirled around.  Elin was backing away, tears running down his cheeks.  Candra was clutching her chest, from which a knife’s hilt protruded.  Blood was seeping onto her clothes.  She fell to her knees.  I moved without thought to her side.

“I won’t live in a world where you have been made tranquil,” I heard Elin whisper.  “I can’t.”  He bolted past me.

Astonishment rooted me there.  Gingerly, I touched where the blade had struck, feeling her blood on my fingers.  My mind was trying to come to terms with what had happened.

She was dying, and not by my hand.  But then, she wasn’t what I had expected.  If I had killed her, would it have haunted me?  Or would I be more upset that I hadn’t been the one to strike her down?

It was incomprehensible.  The fury was waning, unsure of how to react.

“Evaine,” she swallowed with difficulty.  “I’m sorry for the way things happened.  Please… forgive me.”

I looked into her blue eyes and saw my reflection.  Here we were, twin sisters reuniting; so alike, yet so different.  One twin, a dreamer, everything a templar would fear, but in her heart, remorse for the suffering she’d caused and a desire give up her abilities.  The other, a templar hunter, who had lived in the shadow of what her sister had done, who held on to bitterness all her life, spent it searching for the one who had wronged her.

“I… ” The words stuck in my throat.

Tears slid past her temple, dripping to the ground.  A sigh escaped her lips.

She was gone.

 

I am Evaine, a half breed with a heavy heart of regret, who wasted years on a misguided idea.  I am still an unofficial templar hunter, but my motivation does not come from the Maker.

It comes from the need to give others a second chance.

 

-Kat

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Dragon Age II Mark of the Assassin

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

Dragon Age 2 Mark of the Assassin Review

Bad Wyvern! That cake wasn't for you!

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”.

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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

dragon age ii mark of the assassin wyvern

What video gamer out there doesn’t know Felicia Day? If not let me shed a little light on who Felica Day is for you. Go ahead, take a minute and educate. Back now? Fantastic. It seems that she will now be able to add “Dragon Age II Character” to her already impressive resume filled with gamer goodness. What character is she playing in Dragon Age II you may find yourself asking; well let me shed a little light on that for you.

BioWare has announced and shed a little light on some new DLC planned for October 11th called Mark of the Assassin. What we get is a new character called Tallis who is an elf assassin who employs Hawke to help obtain a special item and kill a lot of people in the process. Here’s BioWare’s official statement on it so far:

Embark on a thrilling adventure of deception and intrigue in Mark of the Assassin, the latest downloadable expansion for Dragon Age II. In this gripping new story, Hawke is joined by a mysterious elf assassin, Tallis. Voiced by none other than actress Felicia Day, this new party member comes complete with her own unique combat style and intriguing back story. With Tallis at your side, you must Infiltrate an Orlesian estate outside Kirkwall and steal a precious relic. Along the way, you will uncover an array of impressive weapons and equipment, and confront fearsome and challenging new enemies on your journey to claim the Heart of the Many.

Dragon Age 2 - Mark of the Assassin Maul

Starin' at the war maul? Thaaats a paddlin'.

I don’t know what The Heart of the Many is but it sounds intriguing. Once can assume it serves some purpose to help galvanize the people after the events discussed at the end of Dragon Age II, however I could be completely talking out of my ass here. I am, after all, merely speculating on the name alone. If they had called it the “Chocolate Covered Banana of Hope” then I would probably be saying the same thing.

It has to have some relation to the ending or the upcoming Dragon Age III otherwise we have yet another story where Hawke is just kind of there and not really all that important. I would hate to think that we are going to see DLC centered around the concept of “Hey, you look like you can swing a sword, how about you help me. It’s either you I tie maces to the sides of this pony, and a carrot on a stick to it’s head. Either way something’s getting bloody.”

GameTrailers had the gameplay trailer posted giving us a glimpse of Tallis and what to expect:

Yeah it doesn’t really say why we’re going after the Heart of the Many just that odds are it’s going to be a pain in the ass, and fraught with peril  but there’s a fountain to look at so that’s nice. But it appears that we’re getting wrapped up in an ambush because of Tallis and some poor sap catches a knee to the face. That’s not at all cool.

BioWare leaves  it up to us to find out more on September 18th. Challenge accepted BioWare.

note: War Maul image is from Item Pack #2 and not included in MOTA

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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Dragon Age Origins Morrigan

Recently a rather interesting conversation broke out at Polish the Console about video games and relationships. While Kat has a less than secret crush on BioWare (and by crush I mean stalking)  I have found myself with a wanting for something more. Maybe it was playing a video game with the adult themes of Catherine that got me thinking about this but isn’t it time our relationships in video games grew up?

When I say “the adult themes” I don’t mean the sexual nature of the relationship. What I mean is the importance placed on the relationship and the value that it possesses and the effects that these relationships have on the outcome of the game. As a video gamer I want my game to have real consequences to my actions. In BioWare video games the only real consequence to a relationship is “I don’t get to see the sex scene with that other character” and anymore let’s be honest what are we really missing?

mass effect 2 mirands

Behold! The awesome rewards of a relationship...

Now to preface this let me just say that this does not have anything to do with writing or emotional attachments to NPCs. One thing I will never criticize or bemoan in any way is the writers ability to genuinely make me care about my party members. Who among us hasn’t agonized over one stupid little decision in a game that, in reality, had no real bearing on the outcome of the game? What I mean is that in games like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect the relationships you enter into make little real and meaningful difference to the outcome of the game. You can still have a 98% identical experience in the game without a relationship; all you miss out on is a little smooching and a few dialogue options that will still give you the same ending anyways. While you may personally feel more passionately towards the outcome based on your emotional connection with the characters, you could still arrive at that outcome without being in that relationship.  In Dragon Age: Origins being in a relationship with Morrigan or Alistair does not mean you will live or die. It does not mean anything other than a small chunk of text at the end of the game.

In my life I am a 31 year old married man. I have a wife, two dogs, house, and no picket fence. I genuinely enjoy my life. However I look at my companions: my college friends, work friends, people I meet. I see my wife and my dogs and the life I have chosen. If this were Mass Effect 2 I could very easily flirt with my companions who were willing and suffer no real ill effects. If this were Dragon Age II then I could literally flirt with everyone I shared more than a passing conversation with regardless of sexual orientation and it would be okay.

In my real life I can almost certainly promise you that if I were to flirt with the girl at the local GameStop my wife would not be at all happy with me. In fact I would think that what would ensue would be a 4 hour impassioned apology from me and a well deserved lifetime of distrust from her.

But there’s more than just my ability (okay let’s be honest I have no ability I got lucky) to flirt with people. I have chosen a companion that I will put before all others. In my relationship I have said “I choose your missions before anyone else’s.” I looked my wife dead in the eyes and said “I voluntarily choose to miss out on a cornucopia of potential companion missions with friends and acquaintances to forge life with you and do your missions.” She then gave me a sword. Dead serious. She had a custom forged katana made for me. I’m that lucky. She also had my wedding ring made from sword. Again I’m very serious. She knows me.

Miranda Mass Effect 2

She's not even shooting something because for me.

In Mass Effect 2 when you choose to be with Miranda Lawson all you miss out on is a sexy video with another crew member and bit of “I want to be with you” dialogue. You still get to do all of their deep companion missions. You still get to fully complete the game. Hell Miranda doesn’t even give you anything that helps you. Come to think of it when you gain her allegiance SHE’S the one that gets something. They all do. Why didn’t we get a fancy new suit? We’re the ones risking out asses to help your families. Where’s my fancy pants?

But more than this nobody seems to care that you’re potentially in a relationship. In Dragon Age: Origins when Morrigan gives you a ring or Alistair and you become Ferelden Royalty what really changes? Do you miss out on any part of the game because you’re in a relationship?

This is what I mean by adult themes. It is the decisions that have significant weight in the world. It is saying “Yes I want this. This is my decision and there is no going back, there is no middle ground, and I have to stick through this.” In Catherine it was the seemingly inane questions that created a very black or white picture of the world. Ultimately you decided between Catherine or Katherine. That was your decision, it sucked, it was difficult, and it was one of the most gratifying and real experiences that I have had in gaming all year, because of the consequences.

This is what other games need to bring in. Make a relationship mean that in return you get some real and deep companion mission. Make a relationship mean that you are not, in fact, running around with everyone doing whatever you want. You have consequences for your decisions that will carry through the entire game based on who you choose to be in a relationship with.

The additional benefit to this is a terrific increase in replayability. In all likelihood I’m probably never going to replay Dragon Age II. With two play throughs I was able to do almost everything I wanted to. There is no more story to surprise me or grab my attention. However uncovering more about Isabela or Merrill would absolutely bring me back for another go-round if the stipulation was that I had to be in a relationship with them.

While this would certainly rub a lot of gamers the wrong way it’s something that would both intrigue and beguile provided it’s done correctly. Video gamers are growing up. Isn’t it time our in game relationships do the same?

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Rating: 4.4/5 (9 votes cast)

dragon age 2 legacyDragon Age 2 was a fine game that we at Polish the Console really enjoyed. While it wasn’t the marvel that Dragon Age: Origins was we can’t help but feel that perhaps we may have let our expectations from BioWare get the best of us. All in all Dragon Age 2 was a good romp through the Free Marches.

Many reviewers touted the lack of diversity in the landscape as a flaw of the game (and it was) and almost irrelevance of Hawke to the story as another drawback, BioWare looked to correct some of this in Legacy. Correct it they did. What we have is an adventure through an old Grey Warden prison buried underground that holds an ancient Darkspawn. While it’s not going to be enough to elevate Dragon Age 2 to the epic heights of Dragon Age: Origins it does serve to help lend more weight to the game by further fleshing out the tale of Hawke

Since this is just an expansion we still see the same graphics, gameplay, and control. BioWare didn’t revamp the entire system. It’s just an add on and as such we will forgo droning on about them with the same cliched analogies that you’ve heard before. What will ultimately make you want to play Legacy is the question “Is the story in Legacy worth spending $10.00 on?”

Dragon Age 2: Legacy Story

In a word, yes. I believe the word I actually used to describe it to Kat was “ballstastic”. To me this was a very worthwhile purchase. Dragon Age 2: Legacy playthrough lasted me around 2.5 – 3 hours which is fairly respectable for any expansion pack. Now this was padded intermittent pausing to take my two dogs out, so for you I would imagine that it would be less. Unless you really like to stop and enjoy the scenery.

dragon age 2 legacy gameplay

These shields are a nuisance on more than one occasion

It was interesting to me to watch the tale unfold of the family Hawke. Throughout Dragon Age 2 we were constantly reminded and spent time with the matriarchal side of the lineage, the Amells. But throughout this adventure very little was ever spoken of the Hawke side. Legacy provides a brief glimpse into the other half of Hawke’s lineage, but to be honest I found myself asking “Why do I care?” They never brought it up during the main campaign of the game, at all. I mean yes they made references to Hawke’s father so we know he existed and had some relationship with his children however not once did they ever mention that the family may have some additional purpose or strange history. It felt very tacked on.

Now this is not to say that it was not thoroughly enjoyable and interesting. As we explored our way through this Grey Warden prison my companions continued their interesting and witty banter back and fourth that elicited more than a few chuckles. Something about Isabela saying “See, this is why I don’t wear pants,” will go a long way to produce a wry smile across a man’s face.

But they didn’t stop with just an interesting story. The weapon received is not just some obligatory “here’s a fancy new sharp killy thing.” It plays an integral role in the story. In fact without it the story itself could not proceed. It’s called “The Key” and helps Hawke to complete the task at hand. While this may not sound all that interesting what sets it apart is that as the game goes on you assign traits to it based on what you want from it. Think of it a little like the weapons in Fable III, but better implemented. It’s this aspect I would like to see them develop more in future Dragon Age 2 expansions and Dragon Age 3. It became such that I got excited when I got to upgrade my weapon because I couldn’t wait to see what was out there for me. By the end I had developed the perfect weapon for my character and would have loved to have spent a little more time with it.

Now as you can tell from trailers and various pre-release information you are once more dealing with some talking Darkspawn that were believed to be seen for the first time in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. This was referenced in the game by Anders (who was in my party) and questioned if there was a relation between the two. What began to unfold was a much more interesting story that also gives players some insight as to the origins of the Darkspawn altogether. This was like an unexpected present of knowledge and lore and who doesn’t love that?

While the story in Legacy isn’t going to make Dragon Age 2 a game of the year it did certainly make me feel better about Dragon Age 2 as a whole. It’s something that helps create a more complete offering. While it’s not earth shattering ground breaking by any means it’s still better than you see in some games.

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For this reason we’re giving Dragon Age 2: Legacy gets a 4 out 5.

 

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Rating: 4.0/5 (6 votes cast)