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Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Review

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Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Gameplay

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Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Characters

Dragon Age 2 Mark of the Assassin Review

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Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Combat

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Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Cameos

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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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Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin Announced

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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Dragon Age 2: Legacy Review

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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