Hawke this, Hawke that. Why does everything fall to me?
It's curious how every game released before E3 seems like such a distant memory for an attendee like me. I feel like I reviewed Dragon Age II at least half a year ago, particularly because there was no talk of even Dragon Age II DLC at E3, but it's actually only been four months. So it was almost a surprise that the first Dragon Age II DLC since the game's launch was fully unveiled no more than several weeks before this writing at EA's Summer Showcase in Redwood Shores. Since EA's acquisition of BioWare, the developer usually has expansion DLC planned well ahead of time, so it is perhaps with the rough spread of reviews for Dragon Age II that Bioware decided to give Legacy more time to simmer, all in good measure.
Similar to the downloadable missions for Mass Effect 2, Legacy comes before the ending of Dragon Age II and can be accessed as soon as players have a message box at their home base. Though this does not suppress the perception that Legacy was withheld intentionally from the main game for the sake of DLC, it has the potential to reveal a missing and significant piece of the story: the history of Hawke's family. It's not certain whether this means Hawke will be exploring his hometown Lothering in Ferelden, but at the very least, it will delve into the plight of Hawke's father as an apostate. In a moment of eavesdrop during the demo, Hawke's enemies comment on needing to find a vial of blood from Hawke's deceased father, probably to unlock a seal around a treasure room and of course a big, bad monster.
To prevent their plundering from the family bloodline, Hawke and his chosen party must match swords with more than just the common Carta thug, brontos, and rage wraiths. Several Harlock Alphas now have the bright idea of carrying a body-sized metal shield to block all frontal assaults, forcing you to reach its backside to inflict any damage, but that's nothing compared to the boss in the demo. After navigating though a Grey Warden prison and the cavernous ruins along an underground river leading to a looming, circular tower, a guardian beast appears in sudden retaliation and can evade all attacks just by phasing and splitting into multiple mirages.
With steel and mettle, however, Hawke can come away with not only answers to the family's lineage, but also a sword that can be imbued with special properties. Defeating the guardian allows Hawke to touch one of three pillars – Stun Chance, Speed Reduction, and Critical Chance – as a magical enhancement for the sword. Of course, that is probably not the only opportunity of weapon forgery in Legacy, but whatever the case, players will be able to bring back a customizable badass weapon to the main story.
Dragon Age II: Legacy arrives July 26 for PC, PSN, and Xbox Live.