Four months after its original release and on very short notice, Bioware is providing us today the first DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition. In fact, the lack of any announcement beforehand is almost as surprising as the rather steep price of 15 Dollars, which makes it the most expensive story DLC in the Dragon Age franchise. Naturally, this immediately raises the expectations, especially regarding the content length, as these are almost the price-spheres of Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC, which set rather high standards.
Our story starts on the war table. Here we get a new mission that wants to send us to the Frostback Basin, to “yield historic discoveries”. One thing is immediately clear: This expansion is made for players who completed the original story, as the minimum suggested level is 20 and my inquisitor was level 24 after completing more or less all available content of the main game. After this rather generic introduction, things get more specific quite fast. As soon as we arrive, we get introduced to a professor who tells us, that in this area we could find the last resting place of the previous inquisitor, from 800 years ago.
Within the first few minutes we also get in contact with a hostile Avvar faction, with the title-giving name Jaws of Hakkon, which should already tell us that they will play a bigger part in the course of the narrative. In terms of story that’s all I’m going to spoil, so let’s move on to the general first impressions. Already a first look at the map and our journal reveals that Frostback Basin is definitely not the smallest areal of the game; after all there are 5 camps to build and 22 regions to discover. However, at least in the beginning, it feels like just another region. Sure, the forest landscape with those tree platforms and some exotic flora and fauna adds a nice additional touch to the mix we got used to, but it also doesn’t seem to offer anything particularly novel. We are running around like always, collecting our shards and all the other stuff we are stumbling upon. It feels like a region that could have been easily in the main game without standing out.
So far that’s nothing bad, as long as the story and its locations hold up, which we will evaluate in the upcoming review. What Jaws of Hakkon definitely does offer are new challenges. The very first rift you have to close is already stuffed with level 24 demons, and this is only a taste for even stronger enemies. To give you some means of counterbalance, the expansion also introduces Tier 4 schematics. While this definitely gives crafters something to look forward to, this sort of bait content is of course always kind of double-edged. After all you get all this awesome new stuff in the DLC only for the sake of this DLC, and some more which might come in the future, because for the main game it is anyway not necessary.
However, from the glimpse I have caught so far, for fans of the main game, BioWare delivers more of the stuff that you already liked before, so that can definitely be seen as something positive. People who got already kind of bored during the course of the original playthrough will probably not be able to revitalize their love for the game – this I already dare to say even though I haven’t played too much into the story yet. The question if it is worth the money I will only be able to answer in the review that is coming soon. The first experience reports that I stumbled upon were talking about a playing time of somewhere between five to ten hours, so that is already an indicator that the price could be considered at least somewhat steep, especially considering the large amount of “filler” content that Inquisition usually provides in each zone.
Of course it’s not always about length. The Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 was definitely on the shorter side for the same price, but then again so perfectly paced and with a lot of value for fans of the series and its characters. For now, I have my doubts that the same can be said about Jaws of Hakkon. Stay tuned for our full review in just a few days.