Jaws of Hakkon
Genre: Fantasy RPG
Synopsis: A message to the Inquisition pertaining to the history of the previous Inquisition of 800 years ago opens up a new open-world are in the main game, with some tangential though not uninteresting story sprinkled in.
Series: Additional content the the third (but standalone) installment in the Dragon Age video game series.
Verdict: Decent–even fun–but not what I wanted.
As a consequence for covering downloadable content for a video game, this post will only make sense for people familiar with Dragon Age: Inquisition. This is a better starting point.
Everyone’s waiting for a story-based single player DLC from the Dragon Age team (especially with that ending scene tease), then this one becomes available with no warning and hardly any time to get information on it, with a $15 price tag. And it turns out to unlock another open world area, a much less exciting prospect in a Bioware game than story-based content. So that doesn’t appear to have gone over well.
Opening up a new area in the game in DLC isn’t necessarily an unreasonable idea–it’s just that I got more open world when I wanted more story. I would have vastly preferred story. Nonetheless, I played the whole thing–neither rushing nor stopping for everything, it took me about 6 hours. I will also play it again, as part of my other playthroughs. So what are the pros and cons of the story?
- The culture of the Avvars is an interesting counterpoint to some of the usual dynamics we see in the rest of Thedas.
- Interesting (though limited) look at the history of Thedas–I had Cassandra along, and her personal reactions to these new revelations was a nice payoff. I imagine Vivienne and Solas might have extra dialogue too, but that’s speculation so far.
- The DLC does address feedback on the open world areas of the game. This might be a subtle point, except to players who enjoy the open world areas for their own merits.
- No more awful jumping puzzles! Terrain is more easily traversed. It’s much more clear where you can go, and there are more options to get there.
- The random quests grouped together thematically. All of them centered on the big plot points of the area, ala the diplomatic relationship/conflict with the Avvars or the history of the first Inquisition.
- All of the quests had at least some sense of relevance–I was never asking myself, ‘why am I fetching a ring for some random person?’ or ‘why am I bringing flowers to a grave? The world is ending. Shouldn’t that take priority?’ Plus, some quests brought up some interesting situations that I totally wish had been explored more thoroughly.
- It does tie into some story, which relates to without impacting the struggle of the main game.
- Scout Harding’s role is expanded a bit.
- It’s another open world area.
- It just would have been way cooler to get story. That’s what Bioware and Dragon Age are really good at. That’s why I’m playing. I wouldn’t call the DLC a waste of time, and I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t what I really wanted. I’m assuming that that’s why so much of the community is disappointed–it’s not bad, it’s just not what we want.
- This is nit-picky, but the rationale behind going to this new area isn’t great, especially before the end of the main game. We go to discover history about the Inquisitor of 800 years ago. Which is cool, when there isn’t a world to put back together. Then it turns out to be vitally important that we go, which we discover by accident. It would have felt much more relevant if we had a hint that there was a pressing reason to be there.
- Still a very white DLC. It needs to be said. Dragon Age is generally ahead of the curve when it comes to diversity, but ahead less when it comes to race.
All that said, the Dragon Age team has been known to experiment, which is actually a really good thing. This DLC is an example of that experimentation. Under different circumstances, it might have been better received. And it might still withstand the test of time, perhaps finding more appreciation after we get a story-drive DLC that expands on where the DA:I story left off.
Is it overpriced? Everyone makes their own decisions about what they are and aren’t willing to pay for. If I had known what I was getting with the DLC, I might have waited to see if it went on sale–which it might not, as a DLC. But I would have probably gotten it eventually either way, because of how much I love the main game. So I don’t really begrudge Bioware the money.
Is it worth playing? Here are my recommendations.
- Yes: If you completed at least the main quest lines for each open world area in DA:I.
- No: If you didn’t think unlocking all of the open world areas was worth it, or if you struggled with obtaining enough power to go on the main story missions you were actually interested in.