DLC is something of a grey area still. It can lengthen the lifespan of a game, but can also seem like a sneaky moneymaking ploy, particularly when there's evidence to suggest that the content was already on the disc to begin with, but got locked down until you paid more money. The idea that you're paying the same money for a game with chunks missing, or deliberately snipped out, is an unattractive and depressing idea and ruins the fragile trust between industry and consumer. BioWare and EA, for the most part, have managed to at east seem as though they're both singing from the songsheet of the former category, and my enjoyment of both Dragon Age and Mass Effect has been lengthened significantly - and the stifling wait between full games made all the less excruciating - thanks to downloadable content.
I was incredibly excited for this one: finally some answers, finally a reconciliation with Morrigan, finally an ending that would mean I'd be able to sit back content and wait patiently, satisfied and sated, until Dragon Age 2 comes trotting around early next year. The marketing tagline seemed to promise so many things: '[Morrigan's] plans and her whereabouts have remained a mystery... until now...But whether you seek answers, revenge, or reconciliation with your lost love, you may find more than you bargained for.'
Sounds vague and unassuming doesn't it? Well, you'd be right. Cue disappointment...but then quite what I thought I'd be getting for less than a fiver I'm not not too sure.
You'll bust through this mini chapter in two hours, a new quest that begins with you rummaging around in Flemeth's old hut a year after the Archdemon kicked the bucket, hunting for clues as to Morrigan's whereabouts. It's there that you meet Dalish elf Ariane, hunting Morrigan too, but mainly because she nicked an ancient tome of Dalish lore. Morrigan, you see, is searching for an ancient elven artefact and so you team up with Ariane and quick-witted mage Finn to track down the same item in the hopes of bumping into her at some stage.
Ariane and Finn make for good company, with plenty of the witty, pithy banter we've come to expect from BioWare archetypes. Finn is agitated and energetic with his words, but with a mind that clearly jumps around faster even than his mouth resulting in something of an AHDH-stricken wizard that makes for some rather amusing dialogue. Ariane, by contrast of course, thinks he's a bit of a fool. It's not the first time BioWare have used the classic setup, and by God it certainly won't the last, but it works well enough here.
Distressingly, there are no new environments to be had here, most of them regurgitated from Origins or Awakening, but it does rather serve to propel you onwards, towards the end, the action and tension certainly building towards a climax. Unfortunately, we never really get it. There's a boss fight with a new creature: the Varterral. Imagine a massive spider with a vaguely human head and torso and you're kind of there. It's suitably big and disgusting and fires blobs of goo at you that massively reduce your combat speed.
It's also pretty easy to take down, like all of the rest of the creatures in this little chapter, even though it gets additional help from a few dragons. Frankly, though, that's fine. It was big, noisy and pretty epic and served to psych me up just before The Reunion. I was ready, I was excited, I was pumped. It's worth pointing out here that you can import pretty much any of your created characters from Origins and Awakening, or simply choose to jump in with a Level 20 newbie, and that it does affect conversation choices and dialogue. I strode into the dragon tomb with my Level 24 city elf who'd fallen in love with Morrigan and chosen to sire the child at the end, trusting in BioWare to deliver something special...
For a piece of DLC so obviously geared towards this climactic final meeting, it came off as something of a damp squib. Morrigan spoke in riddles, I had a bunch of questions, all I got in return was condescending imprecision. There are multiple ways that your encounter with Morrigan can go, one of which was actually genuinely surprising, although you still don't really know what happens to her in the end.
Fan forums are already erupting in frenzied arguments trying to determine what the foggy scenario means in the grander scheme of things but really I can't help but feel that should have been BioWare's job which leads me to determine one of two things. One, that they really didn't have a clue and simply wanted to bust out something before the second instalment kicked in. That this really is the last we'll see of Morrigan. I don't really want to believe that and, considering the character's popularity and this wet fart of a tribute fanfare, I reckon it's far more likely that this is a stepping stone towards a larger, grander narrative. With Hawke's story being told of a full decade, and with Flemeth clearly back for DA2, I don't think it's unlikely we'll see Morrigan come back to confront her mother. At some stage.
I guess for now we'll just have to make do with this.
- New items
- More Dragon Age
- More Morrigan
- ...but not much
- Infuriatingly vague
- Some bugs
The Short Version: When all's said and done, it's only around £4-5 and it's probably worth that. But you certainly won't get 'more than you bargained for'.