Written by Tom Hynes
The first major piece of DLC for last year’s stunning third installment of the Dragon Age saga finally made it’s way to XBox 360 so I could play it. Having exhausted Dragon Age Inquisition on no less than 2 playthroughs I was ready to delve in headfirst and see how much Bioware had offered up in this particular piece of extra content.
The DLC has you explore a new area near the Frostback Mountains, the first area you encounter in Dragon Age Inquisition. The entirety of the content is confined to this area, another cold locale which isn’t a change of pace but the scenery is actually pretty intricate and has some cool landscapes to explore including a swamp region, mountains, cliffs and a small island. The main quest here is to track down your predecessor, the Inquisitor before you. Legends state that they disappeared around 800 years ago whilst on a mission on behalf of Orlais in this area. It becomes a case of finding clues as to what exactly happened and picking up pieces of extra information along the way.
Part of this is dealing with 2 clans of Avvar tribes, one being named The Jaws Of Hakkon who are the main antagonists. The other clan of Avvar at Stone Bear Hold aren’t as openly hostile and can be approached with and gained favour with, they can offer insights into what The Jaws Of Hakkon are planning and why they’re hostile as well as a number of side quests. There’s a lot to do and help out with in Stone Bear Hold and it helps give a bit more insight into Avvar culture, their lore and way of life.
Despite the main quest mainly being a case of following clues and putting the pieces together of what happened to the last Inquisitor it is actually a lot of fun. Bioware have put a lot of effort into making this into a varied and interesting experience which feels very much worthwhile and satisfying to press on with. If taking your time and seeing the sights and finding side quests in order to grind out some levels is more your bag then don’t worry, there’s plenty to do here, plenty of loot to uncover and plenty of high level enemies in order to gain more XP to push your characters to the mid 20’s in terms of level. It’s recommended not to attempt this area until you’re at least level 20, there are some very tough enemies lurking and they will easily take you down if you’re not careful. There are more fade rifts about that have been beefed up, I remember one of them spawning in 5 Pride Demons in a wave and I only narrowly managed to beat them. With increased difficulty comes increasingly great loot, there are many great pieces to seek out which’ll add a big boost to your armory as well as high end crafting materials in abundance.
As DLC’s go this is a great addition to an already huge game giving lots of opportunities to further increase the life of the game and to give high level players more of a challenge. I spent around 10+ hours doing the main quest and the majority of the side quests so it’s got the value for money factor. Seeing as it’s intended for high level parties it does mean you don’t get much opportunity to use your newly found pieces of gear much in the main game which is disappointing but if we’re lucky we’ll be getting a couple more pieces of DLC which we can hope to use it more extensively in.