: Electronic Arts
: 800 Microsoft Points
: 26th July 2011
Minor spoilers may be included.
When Dragon Age 2 was released, it was met with a mixture of positive and negative feedback. Bioware are well known for their fantastic games, and the scores that each of these games got from many magazines and websites only proved their worth, such as the Mass Effect series and Dragon Age: Origins. Dragon Age 2 however got much lower scores due to releasing with glitches, and the day one DLC also was initially bugged too, where the achievements wouldn't be awarded. Perhaps the one thing that received the most negativity was that players were confined to Kirkwall, and any dungeons or houses had the same map layout, just with different doors opening. This is where Legacy comes in, as it allows players to explore a place that isn't
Legacy takes place in the Vimmark Mountains, and sees Hawke hunting down the carta, who have been after him and his sibling (gender dependant upon Hawke's gender and class) in relentless attempts to take their blood. This journey sees you explore an old Grey Warden prison and uncover the reason behind the constant aggression. It also provides further insight into Hawke's lineage. But did this change from the confinement of Kirkwall prove enough to redeem the game?
The first thing to be mentioned regarding Legacy is that it feels like a random side adventure. To begin Legacy, you have to activate a statue in either your house or Gamlens house, depending on how far into the story you are. You can pick up the DLC and play it in any of the acts, minus the introduction to Kirkwall( before meeting Varric) and the final sequence (ending the game). When you activate it, the scene cuts back to Varric and the Seeker, as they introduce the story. When you are back in control, it can make you feel disorientated. This is due to that you have just gone from following a story in Kirkwall, to being in the middle of nowhere. The story is partially explained in this first segment, that the carta has been targeting you and your brother/sister.
There was a chance there for further content to the DLC, such as being attacked in Kirkwall a couple of times, then finding a note on one of the bodies which then lead you to the Vimmark Mountains. This would've felt more like it was part of the story instead of just being dropped straight into the action like Legacy does to you. As you progress through the DLC you come across the darkspawn, but they are also different. People used to how they look and act with be surprised, as Genlocks are literally like big dogs, Genlock Alphas are built like a tank and carry heavy shields that cover most their body from the front. Whilst a difference is needed from Kirkwall, Bioware should've left their enemies the same as it doesn't make too much sense as to why they are so different. Despite this however, it added to the fresh feeling of Legacy.
As I stated above, there is definitely a fresh, almost free, feeling to this add-on, and this is a redeeming quality to it. There aren't the restrictive walls of Kirkwall around you. The enemies are different despite the names and best of all, none of the maps feel like a direct copy and paste job that Dragon Age 2 had. Legacy was enjoyable for the majority of the time and it managed to last a couple of hours, which when compared to the length of some DLC these days, is quite long. Legacy also provides further insight into Hawke's lineage, mainly his father and his actions, which flesh out the story of Legacy. It makes it easier to feel yourself step into Hawke's shoes as you learn things as he/she does, which is an essential quality to a role playing game.
Legacy continues the same graphics as the main game, but it also comes along with some of the graphical glitches that hold Dragon Age 2 back. The major one is when the top section of the screen blurs and appears at the bottom for roughly 5 seconds. The minor one is during a part when you are powering up the staff. The light that surrounds it the first time you power it up, stays around the staff. The second time it covers half the screen and it looks glitched. However this minor one could have been intended, but it's worth noting regardless. For the most part, these glitches were in the cut-scenes, and through my play-through, only occurred a few times. The glitches aside however, Legacy once again redeems itself with the textures and layout of the camp on the mountains and the depths of the ancient prison. There are multiple viewpoints in the add-on, most show more enemies coming, but they also show the architecture of the prison. It's easy to play games without paying much attention to the surroundings, but Legacy is definitely worth stopping every now and then and looking around, especially when you come to the view points.
The voiceovers continue to the standards of Dragon Age 2, you can pick up on the hints of sarcasm, confusion and aggression, depending upon what dialogue options you select. Companions continue their running commentaries on what is around them and also on the events which take place. Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 both contain mages, and a key feature to magic is that the sounds seem magical. This is met perfectly, with some spells sounding like sharp zips and bangs of magic, with the bigger spells sounding as damaging as they look.
As with most add-ons, Legacy comes with achievements. Legacy comes with five achievements, totalling up to 120G. These are easy to obtain, as three of them you receive just for playing the content and finishing it. The other two can be missed, depending on how you play. The first one that you can miss is for completing the three side quests, which are all started by exploring all the rooms and activating certain items, or picking up items or journals. The second achievement that can be missed is for completing the DLC with either Bethany or Carver. The reason this can be missed is because if you play after Act One, there is a chance they could be dead, or unavailable.
Overall, Legacy does redeem Dragon Age 2 and it manages it in a fresh style. While at first the change in the enemies is a little odd, it manages to work well and provides a different way to go about combat. Legacy lasted two - three hours to complete with all achievements; this is with fully exploring each map. While the graphical glitches could've been addressed, they were few and far between on the play-through for this review. That isn't a guarantee that it will be the same for everyone, but hopefully the issues aren't too extensive for others. Legacy lives up to its name and gets 7/10. It probably won't win over those who felt Dragon Age 2 should've been Origins 2, but it is a recommended buy for fans of Bioware, or Dragon Age.