Dragon Age II was met with some pretty mixed reception, to say the least. Although I personally found the combat enjoyable enough to warrant a second playthrough, there were many unforgiveable issues with the title that were tell-tale signs of a rushjob.
So, seeing as Legacy, the first piece of DLC (and not the last, according to Bioware) has just dropped four months after the fact, the burning question is: does it fix some of the core game’s glaring issues? Read on to find out.
Right off the bat, Legacy addresses what I could call the biggest problem of DAII - re-used assets. 99% of Legacy is new environments, except for one small warehouse section that only uses a partial schematic of the existing warehouse theme. In fact, Legacy borderline has better environments encapsulated in it than the entirety of Kirkwall, and the new areas bring back flashes of Origins’ locale diversity, which is easily a good thing.
As far as narrative goes, Legacy is pretty boring for the first thirty minutes, before it gets infinitely more exciting. Your quest starts with some extremely dull fights with a local Dwarf group, then quickly escalates into an epic quest involving a long lineage of Grey Wardens, an ancient evil, and best of all – Hawke’s father. Word of advice – since the quest involves Hawke’s family legacy, make sure you take Bethany or Carver along – it makes the DLC more interesting.
The core quest involves powering up a legendary key (which will take the form of a weapon your hero’s class can use). This weapon is intertwined with the story, and is powered up throughout the course of the DLC, allowing you to choose three of twelve possible upgrades, which is a pretty cool addition in light of the uninteresting weapons from the core game. In fact, pretty much everything about the story in Legacy is a shining example of what DAII should have been like.
Instead of forcing players to live the “Kirkwall Chronicles” consisting of a meaningless almagamation of side quests in the exact same location, it could have followed this DLC’s very interesting questline that directly deals with Hawke’s lineage, and ventured into unknown territory from time to time.
Bioware also did a surprisingly good job of covering the nuances of the environment in addition to the narrative. The conversations your NPCs have with each other are actually pretty detailed – my sister carried on with Sebastian quite well during the course of the DLC, and there are a decent number of side quests to engage on during your time with Legacy. Personally, I’m just glad that the developers didn’t rush this bit of content, as it seems to have more of that old Bioware polish that was missing from DAII.
While Legacy is overall a good experience, it does have a few issues (that mostly stem from the main game’s problems). For instance, the final encounter requires swift movement from all party members at all times – for some reason, the game’s “hold” policy doesn’t seem to stick.
I would constantly attempt to use the game’s “hold ground” function to stay out of harm’s way – instead, they would insist on following me around, getting severely burned in patches of fire; which forced me to control each character individually, pause the game, and run them to a safe location on every phase. If the “hold” button actually worked, I would be able to place them in a corner, do my business, and save a ton of time.
Additionally, the DLC is mostly a linear experience, only offering you a few areas that allow mild exploration, in favor of a more guided, narrative based quest. Thankfully, just like the core game, the combat system is interesting enough to alleviate the boredom, and the addition of five or so new enemies also ease the pain.
When all is said and done, Legacy will last most players around two hours, with all the trimmings and exploration. As previously mentioned, there are a few optional quests to complete along the way, but they’re entirely encompassed in the giant one-way tunnel that is the DLC – so you can’t really miss them.
Simply put, Legacy is a taste of what Dragon Age II’s story could have been, and anything that is truly wrong with it is a result of spillage from the main game’s faults. Legacy is a fine first DLC offering from Bioware, and hopefully a sign of things to come in Dragon Age III.