Reviewed: October 23, 2011
Released: October 11, 2011
DLC Requires Dragon Age II
After a DLC offering that addressed plenty of problems that I didn't actually have with Dragon Age II, I wasn't particularly looking forward to my time with Mark of the Assassin, the latest DLC to arrive for Dragon Age 2. All the better for me when I sat down with it and found out that, instead of the combat-intensive dungeon crawl, Bioware managed to craft an expansion that mixes just the right amount of combat with fun puzzles and a fair amount of roleplaying, even though it hardly breaks new ground. While it's not perfect, it's a fair bet to recommend it to any player of Dragon Age II who's looking for more.|
Set in Orlais, Thedas's equivalent to France, Mark of the Assassin has Hawke attending an Orlesian duke's party along with an elven thief, Tallis, to pull off a heist on the duke's unassailable fortress. Complications start building, though, as Hawke, Tallis, and your other companions break into a treasure vault, break out of prison, fight murderous harlequins, and delve into more of the Qunari intrigue that was some of the best stuff in the main story of Dragon Age II.
For the length of the DLC, Tallis makes her way into your party. It's sort of a shame she doesn't hang around longer – not just because she's voiced by Felicia Day, who injects the requisite quirky charm into the character, but because her personal talent tree, focused on fighting mages and magical creatures, would have been pretty useful in the rest of the game, and doesn't have a whole lot of applications inside this expansion.
Outside of the typical Dragon Age II tropes we all know by this point – running around in forests to find points of interest, boss fights blocked off by force fields, and the like – the biggest new addition is a stealth sequence where Hawke and Tallis sneak through the fortress. Unfortunately, it's pretty clunkily implemented, and without any way to lose, and nothing to win for doing especially well, it seems like Bioware should have just given the option to skip it. In a market with Arkham City and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I can go elsewhere to find my stealth action.
If you're looking for more of what Dragon Age II had to offer, or you just like Felicia Day, Mark of the Assassin is a pretty decent buy. It'll only last you about three hours, but compared to the average movie ticket, it's not an awful deal. I can't recommend it without reservation, but at the very least, I can assure you I had a better time than I did in Legacy.