Dragon Age: Origins - Return to Ostagar

Despite its overwhelming disappointments, I'm still happy to have played the Return to Ostagar content -- twice, even

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EA Games Dragon Age: Origins - Return to Ostagar
  • EA Games Dragon Age: Origins - Return to Ostagar
  • EA Games Dragon Age: Origins - Return to Ostagar

Pros

  • King Cailan's collectable armour looks badass, it's more Dragon Age

Cons

  • The DLC is disappointingly short and devoid of interesting conversation or character development, boring and hollow for high-level characters.

Bottom Line

While Return to Ostagar looks great and offers up even more Dragon Age, it's still a painfully short affair that's devoid of any worthwhile character development, and probably not worth the trip for high level Grey Wardens.

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In Dragon Age's first DLC pack, unexciting battles against too-familiar foes replace the core game's engaging storytelling. Generic genlocks fling arrows at you while darkspawn lumber toward you in a laughable attempt to take your team down. The encounters are especially easy if, like me, you roll back into Ostagar with a high-level character. Hell, even on my second play-through, using my level 12 warrior, I blew through the kill-'em-all objective in just half an hour without so much as a scratch to remember it by. The loot, another crucial hook to Dragon Age, is particularly disappointing for high-end players. Pilfering pieces of King Cailan's badass armour from fallen foes is worthwhile for low-level characters, but the golden gear is scrap metal for experienced Wardens.

Even seeing the aftermath of the Ostagar attack isn't terribly interesting. Crumbled guard towers and fences pop up here and there, but it's otherwise a snow-capped version of a setting you've already completed. Running the same trail as the original Ostagar mission -- crossing a busted-up bridge into the Tower of Ishal -- is also disappointing. Even the new areas, the spider-infested underground and the Ground Zero battlefield, prove lifeless because they don't show off anything new.

Despite its overwhelming disappointments, I'm still happy to have played the Return to Ostagar content -- twice, even. My neurotic obsession with the lore of Ferelden surely puts me in an apologist's position, but I dig Dragon Age. Slicing and dicing Darkswpawn and raiding loot was enjoyable for 40 hours as a rogue, it's been great for the 10 hours I've poured into my human noble, and I expect I'll have an awesome time for the dozens of extra hours I'll sink into the other origin stories. Returning to Ostagar was a brief side-quest that would have snugly fit into the rest of the game.

That we had to wait for the content for so long -- it suffered a delayed a couple weeks after its announced release date, and was subsequently pulled from Xbox Live when it did hit -- makes the quest taste even more bitter. It isn't very expensive, but when it's as bare as this it's hard to recommend to anyone who didn't shed a tear over Duncan's death.

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