Written by Micah Messer
Bravo, Bioware! You finally made a piece of Dragon Age DLC that’s actually worth a damn. When I first started to play the Mark of the Assassin, I was pleasantly surprised by the intriguing story, which involved traveling to Orlais to pull off a heist, as well as the great new companion voiced and modeled after Internet star, Felicia Day. Mark of the Assassin has few faults and many strengths. Bioware has done a good job of justifying a purchase of this download, which is something that could not be said about the previously released, Legacy DLC.
As I said, the story is actually pretty good. They’ve mentioned Orlais loads of times in previous Dragon Age installments, but the game has never actually taken you there. The campaign opens up with an elf named Tallis (Felicia Day’s character) asking for your help with stealing a jewel from a heavily guarded chateau atop a mountain in Orlais. Tallis herself is a big reason as to why the story is so interesting. Honestly, she kind of steals the show. She’s got a delightful personality, and you end up learning quite a bit about her character by the end of the DLC. Tallis is also just as cute as Felicia Day is in person, so that’s always a bonus.
There’s quite a bit of content included in this $10 purchase. The campaign itself is around 4 hours, and that’s much better than Legacy, which pitifully came out to around 2 hours of content, for the same price tag. You’ll be entertained for the majority of the campaign, as it is packed with humorous situations and entertaining combat scenarios alike. Excluding the one stealth based mission, this is all high-quality Dragon Age content that you would expect from any portion of the main game. It’s not that the stealth mission is that bad, it just doesn’t work that well. It just feels like it was shoved in there to break up the pacing a bit, but it isn’t very polished.
Another bonus is the final boss, which feels like it was ripped straight out of a WoW dungeon, but not one of the shitty Wraith of the Lich King bosses, I’m talking one of the really challenging, early Cataclysm heroic bosses. And let me just say, WoW bosses are a lot more entertaining when you have to control all 4 party members at once. This is made possible by Dragon Age 2’s tactical pausing feature
Tallis can pull of some pretty slick moves.
Along with the 4 hour campaign, you of course get Tallis, a rogue that introduces some new mechanics to the class. For instance, in addition to having your standard duel dagger melee attacks, if you tell her to attack an enemy from range, she begins to release a flurry of knives flying towards her instructed target. She also has a number of abilities that allow her to jump around the battlefield, making her a very dynamic, and versatile party member. She’s also got a pretty cool backstory attached to her that will keep you interested in her character. The biggest disappointment of this DLC is the fact that Tallis does not become a permanent party member once you finish the campaign. This is a major bummer because I totally dig her combat mechanics as well as her personality.
In terms of actual new things added to the game, Mark of the Assassin falls a bit short. You’ll only find about 2 or 3 enemies that weren’t in Dragon Age 2 already. You know Bioware is getting a bit lazy when they’re using some of the same enemy models from Dragon Age: Origins in a Dragon Age 2 DLC. That’s just a little embarrassing, guys. Thankfully, the few new enemies that have been added are pretty damn cool, such as the wyvern.
Check out the video below, demonstrating one of the wyvern fights.
After stating that I think Bioware is incapable of making some decent DLC for the Dragon Age universe, they certainly shut me right the hell up. This is one of the cases, however, that I am perfectly fine with being proven wrong.
Overall Score: 84
Mark of the Assassin is a great new piece of content for anyone who enjoyes Hawke’s adventures in the Age of Dragons. It’s funny, it’s lenghty, it’s challenging, and above all, it’s high-quality content.
Genre Score: (DLC) 78
Although it doesn’t add a whole lot to the Dragon Age 2 formula, it’s still another 4 hours of extremely entertaining Dragon Age content. Complete with an intriguing character to keep you company along the way.