Dragon Age 2: Legacy
Playing through Dragon Age 2 was a chore for a lot of people, others have been quick to forgive Bioware for delivering a product that didn't seem up to their normal standard of quality. I find myself in the latter group, but still maintain that they could have released a better game. Bioware looks to be trying to remedy some of their mistakes with DLC that tries to return the game to the series roots with Legacy, a short burst of story exposition that manages to make Hawke's family a more cohesive part of the Dragon Age universe. While story is always important in an RPG, it's not the only thing that drives me to play this genre of games. A good design to the bosses and epic loot always keep me engaged, and Legacy has plenty of that to go around, with one of the best battles in the game and some of the best weaponry Hawke can wield.
Under attack by the Carta Dwarves, Hawke heads for the Vimmark Mountains to find the reason for the attacks upon the Hawke clan only to find a greater evil is at work here. Cue Corypheus, an ancient evil that seeks the blood of the Hawke clan so that he may be freed to wreak havoc upon the land once more. But why Hawke's blood? And why has the Grey Warden prison failed to contain this unspeakable evil? This short burst of DLC will answer all of these questions within the span of a few hours, which actually feels a bit short for the ten dollar price tag, considering how much longer the rest of the game is. This DLC hardly feels like an add-on to the campaign, but more like the Exiled Prince add-on that players received with their first presses of the game. It doesn't have that wow factor like other Bioware DLC, case in point, the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, which was a visual and canonical triumph.
The trip through Vimmark Mountains is a pretty nice trip considering it's through a bunch of caves that expand and show off what used to be the Gold City. You'll also be slaying a few new enemies who will not make this trip easy, mainly the alpha darkspawn, some like to carry shields that protect them from frontal attacks, making the use of some advanced tactics necessary, others are straight up brutes who will crush your party if you don't have someone on healing duty. Surprisingly the trip up to the climax of this little side story is actually tougher than the boss fight itself. That's not to say that the boss battle itself is a cake-walk, it's actually somewhat difficult if you don't employ the proper tactics, and it's a really satisfying win when you eventually triumph over Corypheus. Even with the level scaling it can still be a difficult trip no matter what level you are currently at. You can access this DLC relatively early in the game which is great for those who have already blazed through the game and felt the need to start over.
The biggest problem with this DLC is that it feels like Bioware has to force the legitimacy of Hawke as a character with this side-story. According to this DLC, the Hawke family has a much greater role to play in the Dragon Age universe, making them responsible for major events that are tied to the Grey Wardens, but it feels rather shoe-horned in to the game, as if being responsible for Kirkwall isn't enough. I'm hoping that future DLC has a more independent story that doesn't require Hawke to once again save the world, if only because then the situation will feel less cliché. The weaponry you get out of this DLC is quite useful and will carry you through the end-game if you play this DLC early enough, and thankfully the game gives you the item based on your class. Along the way you'll also find plenty of great gear that is useful no matter where you are in the base game.
Those who have completed Dragon Age 2 and have a desire to keep playing the game will get the most enjoyment out of the seven or eight hours that Legacy provides. It provides some interesting information about the Hawke family, and why the Grey Wardens have much more business with the Hawke clan. If you find yourself on the fence about this DLC, it's worth waiting for a sale or just passing altogether though. While the story is interesting it feels really tacked on and once complete there really is no reason to go back, unless you somehow missed one of the five super easy achievements. Here's to hoping that the Mark of the Assassin DLC that is coming soon can provide a more compelling reason to give EA ten bucks.
This DLC is for those who're dedicated to the Dragon Age brand and that's about it. This short addition does a little to flesh out the Hawke story, but doesn't have the impressive scale that some previous Bioware DLC had.
Rating: 7.9 Above Average
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I recently cleared the 10 year club with Gaming Nexus. Kind of surprised I've been a mainstay here for a little over a decade now.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers and have recently returned from a job in Texas doing production work for a company that did cell phone games. Now I'm working for a record label, along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.