Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third installment of the award-winning Dragon Age series after Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. Those of us who have played these games from the beginning and have grown fond of the world of Thedas and the people who inhabit it were thrilled to get the game when it was released in November 2014. It was the first of the Dragon Age games to embrace an open-world scheme, allowing players to immerse themselves in the world and choose side quests as they wish. Now we’ve had almost a year to unlock every zone, discover every mosaic tile, and pick every elfroot and embrium we come across, and BioWare has in that time released three single-player DLCs, giving us even more world to explore.
Now that I’ve played through the base game multiple times and the three DLCs a few times as well, I’ve come to a pretty solid conclusion about what I think of the DLC and how it transformed the game overall into one of the best games I’ve played in a long time.
The Jaws of Hakkon
The first of the single-player DLCs released by BioWare for this game, The Jaws of Hakkon unlocked Frostback Basin, a whole new zone in the southern end of the map. There, you meet more Avvar, a group of people with charming Northern English accents (you could plop them north of the Wall in Game of Thrones and they’d fit right in) and different traditions to the people you’ve encountered thus far in the game. The main storyline in Frostback Basin is that you’re seeking out evidence of Inquisitor Ameridan, who held the title 400 years title before you did and vanished mysteriously. As the current Inquisitor, you are now trying to figure out what happened to him.
The zone is full of material for crafters; new tier 3 crafting materials and schematics, as well as loot collected from defeated enemies. Avvar weaponry, with its strange glow and cookie-cutter style shaping, looks pretty strange next to the more detailed weaponry you pick up elsewhere in the game, but it definitely stands out, and it packs a wallop. And for lore junkies like me, there is enough to discover in this zone as well that adds to the general undertone that you feel throughout Dragon Age: Inquisition–that there’s something not quite right about the way you’ve learned Elven history to this point. There’s not a lot of new material with regard to your companions, though you do get a bit more about Scout Harding. And if you enjoyed dragon hunting in the base game, this DLC offers one more head for your collection.
The $15 price tag feels like a bit much for this particular DLC; it stands entirely alone from the rest of the game, and none of the lore discovered here is earth-shattering enough to count it as a must-have. But in the end, I’m not upset that I paid it, as I’m big on crafting and Frostback Basin is a beautiful zone, delightful to explore.
For people who spent the whole of Dragon Age: Inquisition feeling teased that you got some dwarven ruins and the occasional darkspawn, but no real opportunity to drop into the Deep Roads, this DLC is for you. You now have the ability to immerse yourself in the Deep Roads in the way that only Dragon Age: Inquisition allows. While the new Deep Roads zone isn’t nearly as broadly explorable as the other zones in this game, there is still plenty to do in the way of side missions and operations. This DLC is the most beautiful one, in my opinion–the Deep Roads may be underground, but they are vast, cavernous, and absolutely gorgeous in their design. Dwarven architecture is strong and powerful, and the lyrium caverns in particular are some of the most spectacular design work in the game. The soundtrack additions in this DLC are also gorgeous.
There are a few new non-playable characters introduced in this DLC that are compelling and whose voice actors were fantastic. For characters you only know for a short while, you find yourself genuinely caring for them, which is not a small feat. The battle is engaging and challenging, and the additional loot you pick up is some of the best in the game. What is absolutely the most valuable part of this DLC, and in my opinion makes it a must-have, is the lore. Everything you learn in the deep roads having to do with the source of lyrium and the dwarves that mine it is rich and game-changing. The Descent is well worth the $15.
Trespasser is the final single-player DLC offering BioWare has for Dragon Age: Inquisition, and it is a fitting close for an incredible game. Unlike the other two, this DLC closes off the rest of the game to the player: once you start Trespasser, you cannot go back and explore areas of the game previously open to you. Set two years after the end of the base game, Trespasser takes you back to the Winter Palace for an Exalted Council, set to decide the fate of the Inquisition. The DLC gives you the opportunity to see your companions one last time and to find out what they have been up to. The initial part of the DLC has shades of Mass Effect’s “Citadel” DLC, which was mostly a delightful adventure in which you got to spend time one-on-one with each companion. However, unlike Citadel, Trespasser manages to fit in one last heaping dose of lore, answer the questions that arose from the base game’s ending, and also lay the groundwork for future installments in the Dragon Age series (which, by my estimation, may finally take us up toward the Tevinter Imperium).
Considering the implications of Trespasser’s revelations about the Fade and the history of the elves, this DLC is absolutely invaluable. As it appears to bridge the gap between the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition and whatever comes next, Trespasser is the DLC you will want to get if you only want to pick up one of the three. But as far as I’m concerned, all three are worth the time and money.
The expansive, open-world format of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s base game made the main storyline feel a bit sparse, if you took your time in each zone rather than hitting each milestone at the suggested level. However, the addition of Jaws of Hakkon, The Descent, and Trespasser really fill the game out. Overall, their sum total makes Dragon Age: Inquisition a rewarding and satisfying game to play. BioWare has once again proven themselves to be masterful storytellers with an incredible knack for worldbuilding and character development, and I’m proud to call myself a lifelong fan.