Dragon Age II: Legacy Review

Dragon Age II: Legacy Review

What we liked:

+ Great story
+ Solid Loot
+ Interesting characters

What we didn't like:

- Wish it was a bit longer
- AI pathing issues with final boss

Rating
8.5
Great
DEVELOPER: BioWare   |   PUBLISHER: EA Games   |   RELEASE: 07/26/2011

Review

Hawke returns to battle with a little fan service.

Those of you clamoring for more adventures with Hawke and his merry band of murderers from Dragon Age 2 can finally rejoice, as EA rolls out the first major piece of DLC for DA2 in the form of Legacy. This 3-4 hour romp drops you back in the main character’s shoes to fight off an ancient evil with an interesting connection the Hawke family, in the Vimark Mountains.

After constant attacks by a band of Dwarven thugs known as the Carta, Hawke decides to track them down at the source. What he discovers is an ancient prison and a host of seemingly possessed Carta henchmen. That’s where the story of Legacy begins and, as it winds through its run time, you’ll get some interesting characters and backstory along the way. Without spoiling any of the details or plot points of the content, I can tell you that the story holds up very well. I actually found myself much more interested in what was going on than in most of the other large quests in main game, which is always the mark of strong downloadable content.


The DLC does a great job of expanding on the character of Hawke and the backstory surrounding his family. It also introduces several interesting characters, including a very good final boss with connections to not just Dragon Age 2, but the entire DA universe. Fans of the overall canon of Bioware’s dark fantasy world will really like the way the story in this one pans out.

As is to be expected, Legacy doesn’t add anything new from a gameplay perspective. It does, however, feature several new enemy types and a host of new environments. As one of the many who was frustrated with the incredibly repetitive nature of the environments in DA 2, I’m pleased to report that Legacy’s setting is much different from the same old streets of Kirkwall. Your surroundings shift several times throughout the DLC, and each one is different from its immediate predecessor. Each of these environments features stellar art direction, and the last two sections of the piece are really great. Overall, I feel like the team went back and took some visual cues from DA: Origins, and it is a much needed breath of fresh air, visually, for DA 2.

Legacy culminates in a battle with the aforementioned “ancient evil” that is both challenging and entertaining. Be warned, however, if you are the type of person that eschews party micromanagement and just allows pathing and positioning to be handled by the AI, you will probably end this fight on your own. The boss has a couple of techniques that seem to cripple the AI’s ability to correctly path out of danger, which did make for some frustrating moments. Of course, you can just take control of your teammates during these times, but with all the stuff going on in this battle, that can be a bit hairy. The fight is rewarding, however, and ends with a satisfying conclusion.


Those of you who have already finished Dragon Age 2 can easily jump straight into Legacy from your end of game save through Hawke’s Mansion. The DLC plays out as a flashback (as told by Varric) so there’s no need to worry about what spot you’re at in DA 2’s story as long as you can make it back to the Mansion. The extra achievements for Legacy are pretty standard, and you should collect nearly all of them just by playing through the content. There is one notable exception to this. One achievement requires having a certain person in your party when you complete the DLC. Without spoiling anything, this could prove difficult to obtain depending on your progress in DA 2. You’ll also pick up some pretty solid loot in Legacy, including a great set of armor and a class specific weapon.

I was admittedly a little bit burned out on Dragon Age 2 when I finished the main game, which left me unsure about whether I really wanted to jump back into this DLC. I am, however, very happy that I did, because its freshness and originality did just what downloadable content is supposed to do, it reinvigorated my love for the game and this series. Legacy seems to have taken quite a few cues from Dragon Age: Origins when it comes to interesting settings, characters, and plot details and thrown them in with the fast paced action of Dragon Age 2. I do wish they could have squeezed another hour or two out of this, but at around 3 hours, the $10 price tag is fair. Regardless of whether you are on your first or fifth pass through Hawke’s adventure in Kirkwall, you owe it to yourself to pick up this DLC and experience this unique and satisfying quest line.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Screenshots

Wombat lives by the code that if you are playing a game from this year, you are doing it wrong. His backlog is the stuff of legend and he is currently enjoying Perfect Dark Zero, Skies of Arcadia and Pong.

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