Well it’s been awhile since my last review. In fact, it feels like forever since I last felt motivated enough to review on, well, anything. Trust me though that it may have something to do with a certain game which consumed most of my life of the greater part of 2015. No, I’m not talking about Fallout 4 (but expect more on that later). No, I’m talking about Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Since the main game itself has been already covered by my fellow blogger, for this review, I shall be looking into the games story driven DLCs. Surprisingly, there were only three that were released which was a bit of a disappointment for me at first. The world of Dragon Age is such a vastly loaded world of lore and culture, from the elves to the Qunari to the dwarves. And with the main game ending on such a mysterious note, I was hoping to get some answers to the mountains of questions I had at the end. But I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself here so let’s start slow:
First, let’s talk about The Jaws of Hakkon:
The premise of the Jaws of Hakkon surrounds a quest to discover the fate of the last Inquisitor as well as the circumstances of his disappearence. During the investigation, the Inquistor stumbles upon a plan by the Venatori to resurrect long-dorment god somewhere in the overgrown wilderness where the Avvar, an nomadic group of independent hunters.
The quest of finding the last Inquisitor is perhaps the most interesting element of the DLC, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like it’s the main focus. The first half of the DLC is mainly gaining the trust of the Avvar and to become a member of the tribe…for some reason. Honestly, the first half of the game has the player running around doing fetch quests for the tribe that I honestly forgot what I was looking for in the first place. Oh that’s right! The lost Inquisitor! Well that’s just going to have to wait cause I’m looking for bear at the moment!
That is probably my biggest complaint of Hakkon. The whole involvment of the Avvar and the Venatori felt more like a distraction away from what should have been the real point of the game. All focus in finding the lost Inquisitor was sadly cast aside for moments that really weren’t all that important or interesting.
When you do finally meet the lost Inquisitor, it is a brief one and greatly unfortuante. The moment only last for about five minutes but we learn so much in the brief time. We learn that it’s been over 800 years since anyone has seen him, but for him, it’s only been days. We learn that his lover died trying to reach him in dreams. We learned that he founded The Seekers, but history has erased all his work because he was a mage. We learn that he never wanted the job of Inquisitor or any involvement in politics but did so out of friendship. All these things I found much more complelling and more worthy of focus that everything else I was forced to do earlier.
My final word: Jaws of Hakkon is okay, but offers nothing new or anything different that what we already get with the main game. For me, I’d say you’re better off without play it. Pass.
Next on our list is The Decent:
Time to return to the Deep Roads! After a series of powerful earthquakes threaten to collapse essential lyrium mines and cut off the ships back to the surface and effectively destroy the Dwarven Empire financially (yes, we’re apparently worried about the economy shipping of Thedas now), the Inquisitor is brought in to investigate. Joined by two temporary companions, a Shaper Dwarf and a member of the Legion of the Dead, the hunt is on to find the source of the earthquakes and how it can be stopped before it’s too late. In between fighting hordes and hordes of powerful darkspawn and trying to navigate the very twisty halls of the Deep Roads, you make the discovery that stopping the earthquakes may not be your only worry.
The deeper you go underground (perhaps deeper than anyone has ever gone before), you quickly find that there are other things lurking in the shadows other than vicious darkspawn. And by that I mean things like the Sha-Brytol, a lyrim-infused race that resemble dwarves who seem to worship and protect a being known only the Titan. It seems it is this being that is responsible for the earthquakes and if the clues we find along the way are to be believed, is not only the source of all the lyrim in the world but could also be older than Thedas itself. And oh yeah, destroying it could mean doom for the entire world.
Well now…that’s someting! Where the last DLC wasn’t at all interesting, The Descent is just the opposite. The mystery of what’s happening starts building from the moment you enter the Deep Roads. I’ll say this much about the DLC; it does a good job in making you feel like you’re heading into danger the deeper you go into the Roads. You begin forming questions of your own; What is the Titan? Is it a God? A creature? How did it create lyrim? Did it create the world as well? And what are the Sha-Brytol? Are they dwarves? Darkspawn? Wardens? Are they Legion of the Dead members who formed a metal group and O.Ded on too much lyrim?
Yes, I think it’s safe to say that the mystery does a great job at building itself to a massive level that it compeals you to keep playing in hopes of a massive, mind-blowing pay out. But guess what? Just like Geraldo Rivera and Capone’s vaults, you might be hoping for too much. When I talk about all the mystery that surrounds this Titan creature as well as the lyrim soldiers that protect it, it sadly remains that up until the very end. An absolute mystery. You never actually see or fight the Titan. Heck, you never actually find out what the Titan is really, whether it’s something you need to be worried about in later games or if ever. The end of the DLC does this rather curious thing where it answers none of these questions and then drops what some would consider a pretty bomb shell in your lap that goes nowhere.
And I’ll just say it now; spoiler alert to anyone who hasn’t played the DLC yet. The last minute shocker of having one of the dwarf characters suddenly gifted with the ability of magic was very much a WTF moment. But it was very short lived as that’s where the DLC suddenly ends. Wait, what? That’s it? Seriously? But what about all that time you kept piling on the intrigue and mysterious origins of the world?
Nope, nothing. It almost gets funny at one point when your Inquistor seems to voice the exact thoughts in your head by saying, “I’m leaving this place with more questions than answers.” No shit.
My final word: The Descent is worth the buy if only for the possiblity we see the questions finally get answered in a future installment. If Dragon Age 4 were going to make use of what we learned in the Deep Roads, then I say yea, play to get ahead start. But other than that, unless you want to fight a boss that is overpowered and will drain you of your potions as well as patience…eh, I’d say give it try even still.
And now we’ve come to the very end. With the last two DLCs being somewhat lackluster, one has to wondered what the final DLC could offer. How would it all end? With a bang or bust?
Enter The Trespasser
It’s two years after the events of the main game and the Inquisition is called in to discuss what lies in the future. Many believe that the Inquisition has done it’s job and desires it to be either disbanded or become a reserved army for whomever it swears loyality to. While there are those who have grown very fearful of the Inquisition’s strength and may even plan to go to war. Oh geez…another one?
The very fate of the Inquisition hangs in the balance, but trust me when I say that that is the least of your worries. As Inquisitor, the years since receiving the Mark on your hand has finally taken it’s toll. The Mark has now become unstable and threatens the Inquisitor’s life who has become a walking time bomb.
To make matters even worse, a group of Tal-Vashoth have begun an invasion by mysterious means ready to launch all out war with Theadas and the agents of Fen’harel, The Dread Wolf. It looks like everything is coming apart for the Inquisitor who just wants the world to stay saved for once. The dread is truly felt amongst your friends…but first, HOW ABOUT SOME FANSERVICE!!
Yes, much like The Citadel DLC in Mass Effect 3, much of The Trespasser DLC is nothing but unapologetic fanservice. You reunite with all your team mates after two years and play catch up and oh my goodness, is it not fun? Any self respecting Dragon Age fan will admit that you can never have enough fan service and this DLC greatly provides. From going to opera with Josephine to going to spa with Vivianne to meeting now Viscount of Kirkwall Varric to MARRYING YOUR LOVE INTEREST!! Okay okay, you can really just marry either Cullen or Sera but who cares? Bioware fans have chomping at the pit for this and FINALLY, the company delievered.
One of the great things about this DLC is that it truly feels like a finale. Trespasser plays up the idea that the story is coming to an end for our characters and it does it so well that it actually feels sad. Your team mates joke and tease each other like old times and comment on how much they’re going to miss everyone and, just like The Citadel DLC, it’s really emotional to the player who doesn’t want to say good-bye to these characters. It also doesn’t help the moment the fact that your Inquisitor is dying so the good-byes feel just as real and hard-hitting.
Everything feels like a race against the clock in trying to stop the Qunari invasion before it’s too late for the Inquisitor. There’s a great sense of urgency knowing that you don’t have a lot of time to stop an all out war that you’re clearly unprepared for while fearful nobles are all clamoring for your head. Your Inquisitor is stressed and so are you.
Another great thing about Trespasser is that it shows the consequences of your choices from the main game. Well, maybe to not all, but there are some really shocking moments where you made a “certain” choice, you pay for it and pay for it big. If case you know what I’m talking about here, you have to admit that when a certain someone turned on you, you’re lying to yourself if you say that it wasn’t devastating.
I never thought I would say thing about a Bioware game again, but finally, your choices matter!!
And finally let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the man behind the scenes whose been pulling the strings every since the beginning.
::Entering Spoiler Territory::
Everything has been letting up to this very moment and now it’s time to confront your once-time companion, Solas.
Yes, Solas. Yes I do have question. For starters, WHAT THE FUCK MAN?? I THOUGHT WE WERE COOL! I THOUGHT WE WERE BROS!!
It seems that our good friend here isn’t the elf we thought he was. As we come to learn in the epilogue of the main game, he was the one who gave Corypheus the orb that created the Rift which gave the Inquisitor the Mark that it now killing him. Thanks dude…’ppreciate it.
Upon your reunion with Solas, who fully admits to being the Dread Wolf, you also learn a great deal more. It turns out, he created the Veil. The very thing that separates the modern world from the world of demons. But now, he wishes to tear it down and return Thedas back to the way it was before, with magic back in full strength. The problem with that? It will destroy the modern world and kill everyone, except those he chooses to save. Those being the elven people. However, he does not do this without a heavy heart. Depending on how you respond to this news, Solas sorrowly confesses that this is not an easy decision and knows the cost with higher than he can possibly bear, but his desire to save his people from the state he forced them into, some sacrifaces must be made. Even at the cost of his friends and his humanity.
So what do you do? As his friend, do you vow to stop him in order to save him from his fate? Or do you declare him an enemy and swear you’ll stop him by any means, even if it means killing him? This here is the best way one can create hype for your next game. The tragedy of Solas and his decisions is so beautifully moving in this moment thanks to some pretty heavy dialouge and music you can’t help but be caught up in. What Solas does to the Inquisitor from this point on by putting them in a position with the outlook not looking good really moves you as the player. It would be so easy to paint Solas as horrible person and in a sense, his choice to murder billions makes him no different than Corypheus. But at the same time, he knows that this decision will destroy him to his core. The tragedy hits you even harder if you romance Solas and will quite possibly make you shed a tear or two long after the credits. And you declare your choice to either save him or kill him, you are instantly ready to the next installment of Dragon Age.
My final verdict: In Dragon Age 2, Flemeth once stated brilliantly, “We stand upon the precipice of change.” And after playing Trespasser, you most defiently feel it coming. Trespasser could have been just mindless fanservice with no substance, but thank God it wasn’t. It was all that and more. Right up the very end credits, to the very last goodbye of your characters, it makes you ready to start to next game. Very, very rare does a game do that for me. This DLC was what remind me how much I love Bioware. I don’t say that a lot these days, but I am so glad I can say it when it comes to Trespasser.