Well, Legacy has hit the markets (save for the Europe PSN Store) and I've had a chance to play through Hawke's latest adventure. Has it improved where the main campaign was lacking? Or is this another story of dashed hopes and blighted tears? Check below the break for my impressions.
Dragon Age 2: Legacy DLC
Price: $10 US (800 MS/Bioware Points)
The story is told as a quest that Hawke undertook at some point during the main campaign. The exact timing, however, depends on when you choose to start the campaign. For my initial playthrough, I used an endgame save. However, you can begin at anytime in the main story, so long as Hawke has access to his house. Companions you can bring along will also depend on the current state of your party as well.
The quest itself tells a story that leads back to the early ages of Thedas, and confirms some lore previously thought of as myth. Party dialogue, a strongpoint of Bioware games, is notably strong - though your mileage varies on which companions you bring, as the developments of the campaign are more relevant to some. The story featured an ending conversation that made Hawke a sympathetic character, which was lacking in the main quest.
Bioware's promise to bring entirely new areas has come true. The maps and settings, and in most cases, the looks are brand new. One area does look a lot like That One Sewer, but the layout is entirely different. Backtracking is minimal, and only comes into play for side quests. If repetition was your main problem with DA2 then you'll find that issue is not existent here.
Bioware has stated that combat has improved, placing a higher emphasis on tactical combat while decreasing the maddening occurrences of waves pouncing from the rooftops. In a sense, the improvement is there. The placement of enemies does require a more tactful approach. During my playthrough, it became necessary to pause the game and prioritize targets. The Genlock Alphas in particular are a pain - as they hit like a truck and can shrug off attacks from the front. Wave combat still rears its ugly head, though it's less obnoxious than in the main campaign. Perhaps because of the relative infrequency, or the more varied composition, waves serve more to ramp the intensity of battles rather than to pad out simplistic fights.
If your main gripe was the "consolization" of the combat, however, then you'll still be disappointed. Aside from enemy placement and tactics, there are no substantial changes to the fundamentals. No new trees or skills or even stat balancing has been done since the previous patch.
So what's the verdict?
One playthrough took me around 5 hours - which is a meatier experience than one has come to expect from Bioware DLC. Keep in mind, however, that this campaign also carries a beefier price tag than most. Aside from the "free-with-new-game-purchase" downloads, only Lair of the Shadow Broker comes in at ten dollars. And quality aside, that price tag is a lot to ask for DLC.
However, Legacy weaves a good story that ties in the fantastic lore from Origins with the new tale told in DA2. With some tweaks to combat and a more varied environment, Legacy is worth the purchase. Keep in mind, however, that if you found DA2 a disappointment, then Legacy will not change your mind.