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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