Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age’: The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC

In the Dragon Age DLC “The Darkspawn Chronicles,” meh. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.

Did the developers of this game literally just sit down and go, “Hey, you know what? Let’s release a DLC where you kill all of your friends.” I’m barely being facetious! There is an extended cutscene here where the Hurlock Vanguard decapitates Alistar. Why. Why would I ever want to see this???

So here’s the thing: This was a huge surprise, and then the gimmick got old five minutes later. Can we talk about this???

LIKE I WAS SO EXCITED HERE! I am a vanguard, and I get to play as the bad guys, and it’s the Battle for Denerim FROM THE OPPOSITE POINT OF VIEW. How cool is that? There’s no way this can be ruined!

I AM A FUCKING OGRE RIGHT NOW, THIS IS SO AWESOME.

WHEN THE SHRIEK GALLOPED, IT MADE ME LAUGH. WOW, THIS RULES.

And then the appeal washed away super quickly for a couple of reasons:

  • Thrall simply did not work. Countless times, I’d highlight one of my fellow villains, activate Thrall, my vanguard would do his thing, and then nothing would happen. Sometimes, out of desperation, I’d select five or six darkspawn at once in the hopes that just one of them might become thralled to me.
  • There is no leveling up, and there is no point to earning approval points except to pass the first quest and earn that trophy, and there are no good pieces of equipment. I found a Saw Sword that was decent, but otherwise, all the characters are just stuck with what they have. So it becomes frustrating because no one has anything particularly powerful until you can control a Hurlock Emissary. At least they have some decent spells/talents. The DLC isn’t even long enough to warrant a leveling system, either. I finished it in just under an hour. On top of that, because half the darkspawn can’t use health poultices, they’re only in your party until the moment they die. And if they’re an Emissary, that means their constitution totally blows. Boo.
  • When I had to kill Oghren, I was pretty much more disturbed than entertained. I think this could have worked better for players like myself, who spent hours upon hours falling in love with these characters, if I didn’t have to murder them all. Master Wade, Wynne, Zevran, Sten, Morrigan, and then that violent, gory death of Alistair.
  • It’s remarkably straightforward. No twists, no story, no development, nothing about Dragon Age that I love. Honestly, this DLC takes a gimmick and then runs with nothing else. There’s got to be something else to sustain this beyond the appeal of being murderous evil demons. And I don’t have a problem playing as an evil character. I have completed multiple playthroughs of both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas as sadistic murderers, and it was an entertaining and engaging experience. This was not. And for something that’s so short, I’m surprised it costs the same as the other DLC packs that are two and three times as long.

I suppose it was bound to happen that I’d dislike something in the Dragon Age world. I’m thankful, then, that it’s just this DLC and not like… I don’t know, the whole game.

Onwards! Leliana’s Song is tomorrow, and then The Golems of Amgarrak on Friday!

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18 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age’: The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC

  1. adaptation says:

    Yeah, Darkspawn Chronicles is something I've played once and probably won't play again. I just don't see the point. It doesn't have any replay value, like Origins and Awakening, and I don't want to sit there murdering all my friends and just screaming NOOOOOOOOO at the television as I do it (which may or may not be a thing that actually happened).

  2. Passing by says:

    Tomorrow's gonna be "interesting". As I have said before, I have not played any of the DLC's (save for Stone Prisoner). I suspect some basic knowledge on Leliana's past and personality is required to fully enjoy this DLC, and since Mark never met her in his Origins playthrough…

  3. celestineangel1 says:

    I haven't played this DLC, though I own it (yay, Ultimate edition). I just never found the idea of playing as darkspawn to be appealing. And now knowing you actually go around killing your friends, the people you spent a whole game getting to know and love? Nope. Nope nope nope.

    I DO need to play "Leliana's Song," though.

  4. Yeah this is the worst piece of DLC by far. As you say it's kind of neat for like 5 minutes and then it's just an hour of not being fun and getting to kill the people that you love.

  5. Peter says:

    Hmm… well, I liked the Darkspawn Chronicles, but I definitely agree that it isn't as good as the other pieces of DLC. I was unaware that it cost the same as the other pieces (I have the Ultimate Edition, so it was all included), and I'm now seriously questioning that. Sigh, EA.

  6. xyliane27 says:

    I didn't mind this DLC, but I agree that it is not par for the course with the DAO DLCs. I replayed Awakening almost as much as the game itself, but this one, only once.

  7. Passing by says:

    Speaking of unpleasant gaming experiences: I was thinking whether or not Spec Ops: The Line would be fit for Mark, but I concluded no. From what I understand, it has a strong story, but overall still isa very unpleasant experience (although, that was the point).

    • illacquiredtaste says:

      I dunno, I think he would enjoy it. It certainly has an unpleasant aspect to it, but in a much different manner than this DLC. It's something that actually makes you think, which is something Mark usually enjoys. I think it's worth a shot. I really enjoyed it, and I even played through it twice thanks to its short game length.

  8. I liked this DLC, but I understand completely why you wouldn't.

    My favourite DLC was Leliana's Song, but I think you do need to have some kind of understanding of her character because otherwise there are parts of it that'll mean little to you. But it is good. I'll be excited to see what you make of it~.

    • I'm curious, because I didn't really like it. Why exactly did you like it? I mean I like Leliana, quite a bit actually don't get me wrong, but the DLC felt sort of…bland? I'll have to replay it I guess, but I remember not being all that thrilled about it.

      Just genuinely curious.

  9. BornIn1142 says:

    I would generally have recommended to play this DLC immediately after finishing the game, mostly because it mirrors the experience of the finale closely, but also because – yeah – it's kind of dull. Though I suppose that would have highlighted the unpleasantness of it more strongly as well.

  10. kartikeya200 says:

    This was exactly my experience with Darkspawn Chronicles. Fun for the first few minutes, then a long slog in which you horribly murder people, most of whom you've grown to love throughout the game (the only upside being I got to murder Vaughn again. I will never grow tired of murdering that guy).

    It gets even worse when you remember exactly what your victory entails for everyone in Ferelden. Or when you read the codex entries.

    There are plenty of games out there where playing as the bad guys, at least for a little bit, could be hilarious, destructive fun, but Darkspawn Chronicles just isn't it.

  11. Darkspawn Chronicles is the only DLC that I've ever uninstalled. It's just… pointless. Unless you happen to hate the party members, which wasn't the case for me. Nor for you.

    Though I just realised that this was your first interaction with Leliana. Heh, tomorrow's going to be interesting.

  12. I've never personally played this DLC, but I watched my brother play it. I guess I got the extent of all I needed from it just from watching someone play it. I was never really all that drawn to play it. My favorite DLC was probably Awakening even though I hear people bitch about it a lot. So many haters. :(

  13. There's one thing about this DLC that I find interesting–since part of the premise is that in this AU, Alistair is the sole surviving Warden, you get hints on what he would've done if he was forced into the leadership position. I haven't played this DLC yet (I jumped from DAO straight to DAII since I got bored of Awakenings pretty quickly), but I've heard rumors about who he sided with, as well as there apparently being hints that he "romanced" Leliana?

  14. Sybylla says:

    I'm a completist, so I felt the need to finish this, but I really hated it. My memory is that I finally set the difficulty to casual and played with the wikia walkthrough open beside me so I'd be sure to get the trophies. I got them all and haven't looked at it since. Just blech.

  15. rattleshirt says:

    I had a grim enjoyment of this DLC. I was still bitter about Alistair dumping my mage at the Landsmeet, so I got a little satisfaction by lighting him up with my Emissary.
    Also, the fantastic EasterEgg about Wade and Herren was a real eye-opener…

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