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Dragon Age 2: Legacy Review

Susan Arendt | 2 Aug 2011 22:30
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Dragon Age 2 faced its share of complaints when it surfaced earlier this year, most notably for its habit of trotting out the same old environments for quest after quest after quest. It was a fair gripe, one that the first batch of downloadable content, Legacy, addresses by taking Hawke and Friends to a completely new location: an underground prison constructed by the Grey Wardens. The new views are welcome, but the price of admission is just a bit too high.

Carta dwarves are trying to kill you and your sibling for reasons that apparently have something to do with your father, Malcolm. You soon discover that the dwarves need your blood so that someone named Corypheus can "see the sun again," and they're not too particular on how they get it. Legacy is basically a dungeon crawl that takes you through the underground prison that the Grey Wardens created to contain Corypheus. Your father was instrumental in constructing the magical seals that hold the place together, letting anything that wanders by in, but not letting it get back out. This, unfortunately, includes you, something your pops probably never saw coming.

The new locations are refreshing, especially if you're playing Legacy after having finished Dragon Age 2, and the prison has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. You'll encounter a few new enemies, including the shield-bearing Genlock Alpha, but you'll still run into old enemies, too, like demons, shades, and Carta thugs. The scenery is different, but this is very much still Dragon Age 2. There are a handful of very small side quests, but so long as you search all the corners and pick up everything you can, you'll complete them without really trying all that hard. That said, make sure you read all of the notes left behind; the story behind Corypheus is quite fascinating.

You can tackle Legacy at any point during the Dragon Age 2 campaign, though your options for companions may be limited, depending on what's happened. If they're dead (or just dead to you) in the main game, they don't suddenly spring back to life for the sake of Legacy. Players who really enjoyed the characterization of Dragon Age 2 will find Legacy's story - and its insight into the Hawke family - particularly interesting. Don't just bring Carver or Bethany along for the achievement, do it to watch the family drama unfold. You'll pick up a few interesting tidbits about your other companions, and the new banter delivers a few chuckles, too. As entertaining as the storyline is, it can't quite compensate for Legacy's frustrating shortcomings. It's too short and too easy.

I played through Legacy on normal after having completed the main game, and breezed through the entire thing in about five hours without ever really being challenged. I was momentarily frustrated by the final boss not because it was particularly difficult, but because my AI posse apparently thought the best approach to dealing with geysers of fire was the bunny approach: stay perfectly still and hope they don't notice you. If you actually put some effort into using cross-class combos or directing your AI companions, Legacy will be even more of a cakewalk. The class-specific weapon you get - and customize - is a nifty bit of kit, but not dramatically more than the trinkets you likely picked up during your playthrough of the main game.

Bottom Line: Legacy is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and I certainly enjoyed the chance to spend more time with Hawke and her companions, but it's just not worth the current price of ten bucks.

Recommendation: Definitely worth playing, but wait until it's part of a bundle or a Game of the Year edition.

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