Pimpin Reviews: Dragon Age Origins DLC

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Pimpin Reviews: Dragon Age Origins DLC

Tid Bits
-Thanks to Labyrinth for the Pimpin Banner
-Any reply that says "TL;DR" that is not a sarcastic response and I will lose it.
-Thanks for commenting

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Dragon Age Origins<br />Platform: Xbox 360/PC/PS3<br />Genre: Dark Fantasy Role-playing<br />Modes: Single Player<br />Developer: BioWare

When BioWare's labs in sunny Edmonton started development for Dragon Age: Orgins, they didn't set out to just create an incredible game. Instead, they also sculpted the setting for a brand new series, as well as possibly the most ambitious plans to support a single game with an unprecedented amount of Downloadable content. During the span of the next two years, BioWare plans to launch a variety of content either made in BioWare's own headquarters or via the games online modding community -Which this reviewer is a proud member of-. With four sets of DLC already available on the market today, and an expansion pack in the near future, its evident that BioWare is hitting it hard and fast. But the question remains, is it all any good?

The problem with reviewing downloadable content is that the rules are tweaked just a little bit with every release. Because of this it's hard to explain what is good versus what is bad DLC. The review will cover all available DA:O DLC to this day; The Blood Dragon Armor and the Stone Prisoner, which come free with any new version of the game, as well as the Warden's Keep and Return to Ostagar add-ons.

Warden's Keep


With Warden's Keep BioWare launched their new creative method of selling their DLC. If you play the game long enough, a merchant man named Levi Dryden will randomly show up within your group's campsite. The name Dryden used to mean things to people, seeing as Levi's grandmother was the Grey Warden captain at the titular Keep at a mountain at Warden's Keep. However, due to a quarrel with the Tyrant King of her era, the family's reputation was forever marred. Now, Levi wants you to travel up to the peak to battle all the undead Wardens and Ghouls who infest it, and hopefully discover evidence of the events that occurred.

Should you accept, the game will take you to the console's marketplace to buy it for a cold hard 560 Microsoft points, the real world equivalent of 7 USD. The game plays a lot like one of the main games many side-quests. The atmosphere and plot flow well with the rest of the game, and has a small glimpse into the extensive lore of the Grey Wardens. It even features multiple endings and decisions to make akin to the games trademark moral choices.

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Why would they need such high doorways? Its practically begging trolls to come

Completing the quest leaves some goodies behind as well. If you manage to slay thee demons and solve the mystery, the keep will be all yours for you to helm. The Keep offers a new base with two new merchants, a new weapon material, and an inventory chest. Considering that the game itself features limited inventory space, it is a desirable add on. However, it does feel like the feature that should have been included in the game. It also features some nifty weapons and armor, and some new abilities.

However, the add-on is incredibly short. Depending on the selections made, it has only two to four boss battles, and only a couple of rooms and monsters. It only lasts about an hour, and while it is fun to divulge into more of the games combat and lore, it feels very underwhelming for the hefty price tag. The Warden's keep is a good start in terms of quality DLC for Bioware, but isn't as satisfing quantity wise.

The Stone Prisoner

The Stone Prisoner came as a freebie to any player buying a brand new version of the game as part of EA's 10 dollar first day DLC action to combat used game sales. As in The Warden's Keep, the DLC is presented by a lone traveling merchant who will sell you the control rod for a rouge golem for the low-low price of 15 USD.

Accepting his offer will result in traveling to a new village that has been over run by Darkspawn. The golem, Shale, stands still in the middle of the village and the only way to free him is to unravel the series of unfortunate events that have taken place in this little village. The reward, of course, is the titular stone prisoner, i.e the Golem Shale. After solving the little quest (and sub quest) involving the village's misfortunes, you're given the option to recruit Shale as a party member for your team.

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Fe Fi Fo Fum!

And Shale's a damn well worthy addition. With the ability to customize between ranged attacks to gigantic tank, Shale proves very use full in all areas of combat. This also unlocks new weapon types and appearance customizations for the character. Not only is Shale a pleasure to have on the field, but also a delight off it. Shale features some of the funniest most cynical banter and trademark sarcasm. He flows incredibly well with other companions and has incredibly well produced voice work, as well as his own personal quest.

The question still falls to whether or not the add-on is worthy of its hefty price tag. Shale is one of the most remarkable companions of the game, and in a game like Dragon Age: Origins which heavily relies on the companionship of others, that's an important aspect. The DLC is great, and even better if you get it free. A definite buy for Dragon Age Fans.

By the way, if anyone has an unused copy of The Stone Prisoner, Atvomat_Nikonov could sure use one.

Blood Dragon Armor

Usually I like to be a little bit more elegant in my reviews, but I just have to say that this armor is straight up ugly. The graphics in Dragon Age aren't all that impressive, and the armor just makes thing look even uglier. As a promotion prize for buying the game new, it almost seems like an insult. The armor barely looks like the picture, and its only redeeming quality is you can sell it off to buy something better. I wouldn't spend a dime on it.

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I hope this is at least covering a bad hair day

Return to Ostagar

I suppose the pettiest gripe I could possibly make about the add-on is that its name totally ruins any surprise that it was going to offer. For a measly 5 USD, you can return to the ill-fated battle field at Ostagar, where in the stand alone game both the new King Calain and the Warden leader Duncan were prematurely slaughtered at the hands of the Darkspawn. The add-on starts when you randomly run into the other lone survivor of the battle itself, who passes onto you the key to a chest filled with the important documents of the good old king.

So the motivation, of course, is to return for revenge. However, returning to Ostagar should have felt like a much more rewarding and powerful event. First of all, RtO tries to make you feel empathetic for the late King Calain, but from the brief conversation with him in the beginning of the main game he proves to be nothing to but an idiotic, goofy, na´ve, and incompetent ruler. How can we feel remorse for the guy?

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Have at! Foul Demon!

And while picking up the old armaments of the both the King and Duncan is a nifty experience, it's hardly anything worthy to an end game character. But even beyond that the add-on reverts back to the Warden's Keep curse, its just far too short. Beyond that it's simply way to easy, and the final boss was nothing different that what we faced in the regular playthrough. And to add insult to injury, there barely enough dialogue to fill a page of Microsoft Word.

Return to Ostagar was a name that promised the epicness from something out of Lord of the Rings. Put in truth it's more a quick stop, but for 5 dollars one can't really complain. Regardless, I could have spent that money on a big slushy.

The problem with most of this downloadable content is that it simply is not made for end game characters. This becomes most clear in Return to Ostagar, which was released months after the original, but still features almost no dialogue for the most important characters. The steep price compared to the low play time pushes it in this tough economic period. What's become evidentially clear, is that BioWare has learned how to make content, but still has milestones to go on the verge of Premium Content

I liked the review, and outside of an Error you seemed to have made, it was very Informative.

I actually kinda liked how the Blood Dragon armor looked, of course I tend to have an odd taste in apparel, so I can understand that others would hate it.

So great job, keep up the good work, and I love the March Mayhem Avatar

Why didn't you comment on the armor's awesome stats?

Souplex:
Why didn't you comment on the armor's awesome stats?

Because power doesn't matter if it doesn't make you look Fabulous

So...only Stone Prisoner is actually worth the money, if you never got the code?

(I gave away BDArmor, but was SMART to keep the SP code, huh?)

Good review, as always. However, it seems that you've forgotten to list the game on the PS3 as well. Under platform, you put PC/360.

Yes, yes, I'm nitpicking, but there really isn't anything else to complain about.

Good read. Looking forward to the next.

TheNumber1Zero:

Souplex:
Why didn't you comment on the armor's awesome stats?

Because power doesn't matter if it doesn't make you look Fabulous

quite right i loved the look of the armor itself but the helmet... meh i've seen cooler helmets ingame

Excellent review, as always.

I agree about the armour, I've never seen such ugly, horrible armour in a fantasy game before. Most of it was that horrible red-brown colour and looked like burnt meat.

I won't be splashing out on any of this DLC, Dragon Age is long enough as it is and I don't like how they presented it as conspicuously absent from the main game.

The Knuckleduster? Gentlemen? I'm intrigued.

Anyway, I haven't played Dragon Age or the DLC so I can't comment on your accuracy. Still, the review was well written and fun to read. Good job.

Pretty much agreed - if you didn't get Stone Prisoner with your new copy of the game, it's worth buying now. You can skip the rest.

Freebird.:
The Knuckleduster? Gentlemen? I'm intrigued

I was hoping someone would notice.

*Hype +1*

Once again a great review by Pimp.
You win 50 interwebz.
Too bad I don't have DA:O. I hear it's really good for the computer, but ultimately fails on the Xbox. I just don't know if I should get it.

BloodyThoughts:
Once again a great review by Pimp.
You win 50 interwebz.
Too bad I don't have DA:O. I hear it's really good for the computer, but ultimately fails on the Xbox. I just don't know if I should get it.

Its great on both the 360 and PC.

Its just a hell of a lot better on the PC.

OT: Nice review, and I'm probably one of the few people who didn't hate the Blood Dragon Armor. Sure it wasn't pretty, but I usually was wandering around in mis-matched pairs of armor that didn't go together anyway.

Such is the rule of RPG's: The prettier you look, the weaker you are.

Pimppeter2:
First of all, RtO tries to make you feel empathetic for the late King Calain, but from the brief conversation with him in the beginning of the main game he proves to be nothing to but an idiotic, goofy, na´ve, andincompetent ruler. How can we feel remorse for the guy?

Hey screw you! I loved the king! I thought he was awesome and a damn sight better then most kings who take themselves way too seriously in "dark" fantasy games.

good review other then that, I think that I will buy this pack just because I liked the king.

I agree about the blood dragon armour, it is indeed hideous, but if you didn't have to pay for it you're still up seven gold at the start of the game, which is pretty handy.

I was annoyed that the Warden's keep didn't act like Arl Eamon's estate in denerim (like a campsite inside a building), I wanted to be able to walk through it's corridors, have a chat with Morrigan who is discussing alchemy with Avernus, or Sten who is complimenting the security of the walls.

Also how much does it suck that DLC items won't transfer to Awakening?

Pimppeter2:

Freebird.:
The Knuckleduster? Gentlemen? I'm intrigued

I was hoping someone would notice.

*Hype +1*

I've already guessed what one of them is due to another post you made. If I'm right it should be pretty awesome.

A very well written, informative review. I only saw a couple of flaws one being this:

Pimppeter2:

sunny Edmonton

Those two words can never be mixed, its never sunny up here. On a more serious note, I can say again that this is a well done review and I look forward to reading more of your pieces

TL;DR.

Lost In The Void:
A very well written, informative review. I only saw a couple of flaws one being this:

Pimppeter2:

sunny Edmonton

Those two words can never be mixed, its never sunny up here. On a more serious note, I can say again that this is a well done review and I look forward to reading more of your pieces

I was trying to be sarcastic, but obviously it didn't come off as planed. All well, you win some you lose some.

Enderrr:
TL;DR.

For the sake of my own sanity I'm going to take that as a joke.

Fucking great stuff, as always.
I haven't played the game (yet) but this is the stuff of epicosity.

... That's a word now.

I must say, Shale is THE most useful addition you'll ever experience in your team. She's crazy strong and all of her skills are very useful. I never go anywhere without her, ever. The aura is great when you just need to keep the team alive (for example when facing a huge dragon, the aura + Wynne as healer really does the trick) and both the offensive and defensive modes are also really useful. I almost never used the ranged mode though, didn't need it.

The Blood Dragon set was pretty dull, the Juggernaut set is far superior in that case, even though it might be a bitch to get the whole set with a low leveled party.

As for the rest, I can't say much as I haven't played neither RtO or WK, but judging from your review I can't say that I'm all that impressed either. I consider buying WK just for the extra inventory, but other than that it seems pretty "meh".

Nice review though, good read :)

Great Review! Shale is probably my favourite character in the whole game and I was happy I got the free code when I bought the game.

Also, I was surprised that not many people liked the BD armor. I thought it looked cool with the game logo across it and the glowing parts.

Pimppeter2:
During the span of the next two years, BioWare plans to launch a variety of content either made in BioWare's own headquarters or via the games online modding community -Which this reviewer is a proud member of-.

how did you get the database to install for the DA:O toolkit? it always fails for me, both if i try from the toolkit AND the one from microsofts website. i think it's the MSQL 2005 database or something...

also, shale is a woman. it's said like 50 times in shales loyalty mission.

Nice review as per usual (so usual that I'm debating on whether to state it or not anymore, I probably will seeing as getting positive feedback always makes me smile).

Only thing I didn't like about RTO is the choice at the end, be respectful, be a bastard or be a complete bastard, great selection BioWare >_>

On a side note, I am interested in what you've added to the Dragon Age Community, could you post links or PM me some so I can try them, please.

LWS666:

Pimppeter2:
During the span of the next two years, BioWare plans to launch a variety of content either made in BioWare's own headquarters or via the games online modding community -Which this reviewer is a proud member of-.

how did you get the database to install for the DA:O toolkit? it always fails for me, both if i try from the toolkit AND the one from microsofts website. i think it's the MSQL 2005 database or something...

I'm don't know, but your best bet would be to make a Post here

sms_117b:

On a side note, I am interested in what you've added to the Dragon Age Community, could you post links or PM me some so I can try them, please.

Thanks for the nice words. As for this, I haven't done any self made jobs (not as comfortable with the DA:O toolkit as I am with The TES construction set) but I have done minor roles in some bigger projects. Nothing great anyways, I kind of "retired" from modding untill the next TES game comes out.

 

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