One of the biggest criticisms of Dragon Age II was that the drab, recycled environments quickly turned your enthusiastic dungeon crawl into more of an unwilling, half-hearted plod. When BioWare announced that Legacy would take you out of Kirkwall, fans everywhere could be seen doing one of those classically freeze-framed jumps for joy. But, like a lazy high school student constantly told by teachers to “apply yourself,” BioWare has met only the bare minimum of our expectations with this short and disappointing DLC quest.
In an effort to uncover the dark secret behind the want for Hawke’s blood, you and your party venture deep inside the Vimmark Mountains (read: underground, again) to explore an old prison built by the Grey Wardens. Hawke’s deceased father, Malcolm, played an important role here involving a darkspawn creature named Corypheus, and over the course of about two hours you’ll find out exactly how these two are related (but not why the ominous voice of Malcolm sounds suspiciously like male Hawke’s voice actor doing his best God impression).
The vast majority of those two hours, however, will be spent hacking through familiar dwarves and darkspawn (though there are a few new enemies for you to furiously tap the attack button at) while you move through the dirty stone corridors of the prison. While we were extremely relieved to not be traipsing through the old dungeons of the main game for a bazillionth time, we were ultimately left wanting after seeing the design and layout of the Grey Warden prison. Yes there are new torches on the walls and the hallways are a slightly different shade of tan, but at cost of roughly $5 per hour to play, we hoped for something visually spectacular from this DLC.
Above: Besides the standard fighting and a few conversations, the only notable change-up is this one puzzle room
But Dragon Age isn’t all about the combat and environments – there’s that heavy decision making that shapes the story as you play, right? Well, not so much here. Your dialogue choices will have little impact on how things play out, with the one exception coming near the end of the quest. Even that, though, does little more than determine who stands in your way before the inevitable final boss fight.
At least there are a couple of small perks that carry over after beating Legacy. Hawke’s “key” weapon, which is compatible with whatever class you’ve chosen, looks spiffy as hell and can be upgraded three times with various effects of your choosing. If you’re thorough enough to explore all corners of the prison and complete all side tasks, you can also pick up a few pieces of new armor that can’t be found elsewhere.
Above: We haven’t seen face melting this spectacular since the Dark Knight
As with any downloadable extra, the biggest concern is whether or not you’ll get a decent bang for your buck. Paying $10 for something that feels more like a deleted scene than a worthwhile add-on is a tough ask for anyone who doesn’t literally worship “The Maker.”