Friday, August 14, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition The Descent DLC Review: Wait Until It's On Sale

I really liked The Jaws of Hakkon DLC. It offered a lot of new lore, some great story insights, and awesome items for my Inquisitor. I was very excited about The Descent when I saw the trailer for it because it showed a lot of the Deep Roads. The Deep Roads was one of my favorite explorations in Dragon Age Origins because it was quite creepy and added that atmosphere of danger to the adventure. So of course I got The Descent DLC. It started out pretty well, introducing a couple of new characters for this part of the story. There's even more interesting lore about Dwarves and their history. 

Riding the elevator down to the Deep Roads  

Basically there are earthquakes happening and The Inquisition is sent to The Deep Roads to investigate. There are all kinds of side tunnels and rooms to explore with a ton of great items for your party members ranging from weapons to upgraded armor. One room had a puzzle that was a familiar one because it was in  Mass Effect which was interesting and it gave you a pretty nice item once you solved it. The other areas you get to see are vast and colorfully beautiful. I spent a good few minutes just looking around at all of it. The designs for it are rather impressive. 

The Inquisition ready to explore the Deep Roads

Then the fun stops. I'm not kidding. I wish I was. Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love the Dragon Age series (yes, even Dragon Age 2 in spite of its many many flaws) so it is really disappointing to me to have to write a less than stellar review especially considering the fact that I greatly enjoyed Dragon Age Inquisition and the DLC Jaws of Hakkon. The Descent just doesn't quite have the bite that Jaws of Hakkon did and there are many frustrating moments in it as well. 
 The separate war table for the Deep Roads is not only impractical, it makes no sense. I didn't understand why you couldn't just have the Deep Roads missions on the war table map back at Skyhold. Having two separate war tables just seemed like a convoluted way of doing things. I also found it mildly irritating that when my party would unlock an operation we would have to go all the way back to the top level just to do the mission from the war table. I did like that you got more influence as you sent your scouts on the various missions and sometimes you would get a few good items also. I did unlock the fast travel areas on the area map as quickly as possible so it made going back and forth easier. 

Oh look, another elevator for traveling all the way back to the top. Again.

There's hardly any Darkspawn. When I think Deep Roads, I think tons of Darkspawn. That's what makes the Deep Roads so frightening; the thought of hordes upon hordes of Darkspawn coming for all of Thedas. With the exception of one pretty epic battle, there's practically no Darkspawn at all. The combat is uneven. In some areas it's alright and in other areas, it's ridiculously hard and I had the game set to casual. When a game's combat is uneven like that, it makes for some pretty annoying boss fights (more on that later) and a ton of frustration. Let's talk about this Bioware. Let's talk about how you need to look up the meaning of casual and learn that when a game is set to casual i.e. the easy setting that's what it SHOULD be! I had horrifying flashbacks to Dragon Age 2 and the Last Straw battle as I played The Descent. Yes, it was that bad. I don't mind a challenge, but when it's on the easy setting, I expect it to play like it's on the easy setting. I actually had to check the game settings to make sure it was on casual because I really thought for a minute I had accidentally set it to Hard or Nightmare mode. It was on casual, so no I wasn't crazy, but I think you guys might be because you don't know what CASUAL means!

Believe it or not, this is one of the easier battles.

This brings me to the boss battle in The Descent. Bear in mind, the game was on the casual setting as I attempted this. My party wiped three times and every time I tried to revive a party member the boss would slap them dead. I even had Vivienne in my party who is basically unstoppable as a Knight Enchanter and still we got spanked hard. I swore. A LOT. I tried different party members, different strategies, and even invoked Cthulhu to help me win that damned boss fight. (The last part is a joke. Don't invoke Cthulhu, that's how you get sea monsters.) The one consistent thing was Blackwall. If you do this fight, bring Blackwall. Blackwall is by and far the best tank in Dragon Age Inquistion because he's crazily overpowered especially if you fully unlock his Champion skill tree. Out of all the fights I lost, he was the only one standing right until the end. Eventually after a ton of swearing and one more try, I did beat the boss. Did I feel good about it? No, not really. I felt pissed off that it had taken that much damned effort for one freaking boss on the easy setting. 

At least the scenery and surrounding areas are pretty.

 The story ending to the mission did not make me feel better either. It left me sitting there wondering what just happened because it gives you more questions than answers. It did not have that sense of closure that Jaws of Hakkon did. It also made me want to slug one of the characters. I wondered if the writers just got bored or deliberately left it like that as a possible opening for more DLC stuff. Either way, there is too little reward for too much effort with The Descent. While I did find the history and revelations about the Dwarves interesting, I wished for just a bit more. Without spoiling it, I did like the one character who was introduced a lot and I was pleased to hear David Hayter doing the voice acting for them. The areas further down are pretty and add some great atmosphere. However, I did not have as much fun playing The Descent as I did playing Jaws of Hakkon. In fact, it was downright frustrating at times and I feel it's not worth paying full price for. Jaws of Hakkon is on sale right now and that one I highly recommend buying. With The Descent, you're better off waiting until it's on sale. I really hope that the next story DLC will be better than this because The Descent was really not up to snuff.

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