Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Dragon Age II: Legacy

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            Dragon Age II is somewhat of a misshapen representation of the role-playing game (RPG) genre. Though wholly enjoyable, many fans of the original Dragon Age II: Origins felt that for all its narrative strength, there were fundamental issues in the delivery of its combat and exploration. Divisive as it was, Dragon Age II still has an audience ready to swallow whole any new content they possibly can, and it’s for these fans that Dragon Age II: Legacy, the latest downloadable content (DLC) for the game, has been created.

            Dragon Age II: Legacy becomes available to play at any point after your arrival in Kirkwall, so even if you wish to start the game with a new character before beginning the DLC, it’s not going to take more Electronic Theatre Imagethan a couple of hours to reach the point at which you can select to take part in it. Upon doing so, you are asked to select a party to take with you in the usual manner, before beginning the story afresh.

            The story unfolds just as it does in the core Dragon Age II game: a ‘tale within a tale’. The interrogation with Varric takes place as an aside; the retelling of an expedition that sees you leaving Kirkwall and journeying to an ancient Grey Warden prison in pursuit or a criminal cartel that attacked your family. The reason as to why this expedition wasn’t discussed previously is neatly dodged during the course of the opening sequence, swept aside as of little importance in the game just as it is to those players keenly awaiting new content. Upon arriving you quickly learn that the cartel are aware of your presence, and don’t intend on letting your leave.

            The core elements of Dragon Age II remain intact: combat, exploration, dialogue trees and plot development all feature here just as they were in the core game, but were it not for the ties to a previously unexplored partElectronic Theatre Image of Hawke’s family history, it’s unlikely that player would be willing endure the more linear drudge that is presented. If you have no investment in Hawke as a character, Dragon Age II: Legacy isn’t going to convince you otherwise.

            Aside from the narrative structure, the rest of the new content is most certainly commendable. The linear trudge diverts a little with a handful of optional side quests, and the player will encounter new types of Darkspawn and mini-bosses along the way. The most interesting addition by far however, is that of Hawke’s Key. A new weapon which takes a form relevant to whichever class you are playing as, Hawke’s Key is the only way to open magical locks throughout the prison that had been placed by your father. Upon doing so, a new elemental effect will be added to the weapon, adapting it with each success until it becomes the catalyst of the entire DLC: what bonus you will receive next is the hook that compels you to keep playing. Of course, there is plenty of new armour andElectronic Theatre Image trinkets to uncover in Dragon Age II: Legacy, but these are of little consequence next to the bold new aggressor in your hands.

            Ultimately, the crux of Dragon Age II: Legacy is in its loot. That which players can take away from the DLC into their core save game is the basis for the cost of the DLC, with the new environment and enemies within acting as a journey purely to receive these items. Undoubtedly, BioWare could’ve simply packaged the items in a chest at your home and charged the same price, and many players would have still immediately been persuaded to invest in the new content, so in that respect the new expedition is a wholly welcome addition. However, with its lack of narrative motivation and linear construct, Dragon Age II: Legacy isn’t likely to convince the naysayers disappointed with the core Dragon Age II experience. After all, Dragon Age II: Legacy is merely an expansion to the game, not a revision.

 

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