Trespasser DLC Review - Time to Say Goodbye
(Ed. Note: There are no spoilers about Trespasser in this review.)
Trespasser isn’t about a huge expansive location to explore. It’s not about scoring awesome loot or shards or mosaic tiles or astariums...well, you get the idea. Dragon Age: Inquisition Trespasser is designed to give players a sense of closure from a story perspective and to give the ‘team’ one last epic romp through Thedas, complete with pithy commentary, moving personalized dialog and a chance to say goodbye to these wonderfully flawed companions Inquisitors have spent literally hundreds of hours with over the course of the game. Trespasser also gives lore lovers some nifty nuggets of information about the game world with many questions finally answered. Lastly, this final DLC gives hope for the future of the series in its final credits.
The story takes place after the events of the main campaign. Once started, there is no going back since the timeline moves two years into the future. Set at the Winter Palace in Orlais, the Inquisition is brought to the diplomatic table to decide its future when the Qunari make a sudden and deadly appearance. Once again, it falls to the Inquisitor to strap on the armor to find out the motivation behind the dangerous plot set in motion through the attack. Luckily, all of her companions happen to be there for one reason or another -- no spoilers as to their motivations -- and we once again take off to save the world from a threat that could bring Southern Thedas to its knees.
The locations in Trespasser are unique, sending players deep underground into lyrium mines or into a magically shattered vault of knowledge and even into the heart of the invading Qunari force. Along the way, lore is revealed in buckets -- Who is Fen’Harel? What is the nature of the Fade? What is the purpose of the Veil? Who are the Old Gods? For players who love story and lore, Trespasser is a gold mine of information that ties up some of the series’ most enduring questions, though simultaneously raising new ones.
While the locations through which players travel are varied and interesting, certainly preventing anyone from becoming too bored, the DLC feels quite linear compared to the original game. In Trespasser’s case, however, it is not a bad thing. Though combat locations funnel the action to a given end point, enough lore is revealed along the way and enough interesting conversation takes place amongst party members to keep things satisfying, if slightly less interesting for the open world explorer types.
Combat is worthy of note here from the standpoint that much of Trespasser takes place in more confined locations than before and that require more strategy and placement of party members to be effective. And that’s important too -- these Qunari hit like trucks if players are not prepared, and they drag along some assassins that blink from view only to reappear behind characters with a shiv to the spine that can nearly, or in some cases literally, one-shot the unwary. Luckily, the Inquisitor is given an interesting new skill with a pair of “upgrades” that bring a whole new strategy to combat -- strategy that comes with a price. We’ll just leave it at that.
The best part of Trespasser, however, isn’t the combat. It’s not the loot. Trespasser excels in giving players the chance to interact with their companions in a very deeply satisfying way that far outpaces the original campaign or the two previous DLCs. We find out what each has been up to for the last two years. We see them in situations outside of combat and the dire urgency of saving the world (at least at first). The dialog with each one is rich, funny, moving, heart-wrenching and is so well-written that there were times when tears streaked down my face for more than a few reasons. Not only does the group bond with the Inquisitor in meaningful ways, but they reveal how they have grown to fondly care for one another along the way. Trespasser’s writing in all of this is some of the finest ever -- a huge feat given the number of outstanding RPGs Bioware has produced over the years.
The negative, if such a thing can be said, in all of this is that players will have to put out real world cash to bring their Inquisitor’s story to an end, though the expense is worthwhile. Perhaps somewhere in time, Bioware and EA will release an “all in one” edition that will include the game and all three DLC. (Editor's Note: UPDATE: A Game of the Year Edition was announced today!)
It is clear that developers learned lessons from the upheaval following the conclusion of the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age: Inquisition Trespasser leaves no question that the game is over and that the series will be moving in new directions without the Inquisitor as the main protagonist when it continues. Of course, there is always the chance of a cameo in future games, but the Inquisitor’s time at the center of Thedas has drawn to a close and in a most satisfying way.
There is much more that could be said about Trespasser but to do so would reveal spoilers best left unknown for those who have yet to experience it. Do yourself a favor. Play Trespasser. You won’t be sorry.