Archive for September 9th, 2010

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Dragon Age: Origins – A Run Of The Mill “Witch Hunt”

September 9, 2010

Note: Rest assured, no spoilers until the second half of the post, after the warning and the image.

It’s been a busy week, but somehow I managed to find the time to play the Dragon Age: Origins – Witch Hunt DLC. In preparation I had allotted myself ample time, but in hindsight, I need not have bothered. It was so…short. The whole thing couldn’t have taken me longer than 2 hours to complete, even with a few breaks in between. Granted, I have never before purchased any DLC for this game so I have nothing to compare it against, but for $7 I had expected a longer campaign.

Issue of length aside, I’m not disappointed, but I’m not impressed either. I’m frustrated by its mediocrity more than anything else, considering the fact Witch Hunt was proclaimed as the final DLC for Origins. The gameplay felt needlessly rushed and took us to many areas that were previously seen before, reused for this campaign. The story behind the adventure itself was intriguing and well put together, but was quickly overshadowed as soon as it became clear that it was only a means to end — that is, to find Morrigan. After that realization sunk in, it was hard to continue the game without feeling like I was trudging through a chore.

There were plenty of things to like, of course, such as the companions. Your trusty Mabari hound rejoins you for this adventure, as well as two new characters: Ariane the Dalish elven warrior and Finn the human mage. They both grew on me, tough-as-nails Ariane who is actually quite adorable and charming, and Finn with his over-the-top sense of humor. Between the two of them, you have enough funny banter to last a lifetime. Many other humorous gems are scattered throughout the content, if you care to look.

Regardless of how I feel, I’m not sorry I purchased Witch Hunt. Like it or not, it did bring closure — Bioware’s own brand of strange and messed up closure, maybe, but it’s still closure. I hate to be cryptic about it myself, but in the end, whether or not Witch Hunt delivered all that it promised really depends on who you ask. Only read on if you don’t mind spoilers.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

After aiding me on my quest to destroy the Blight in DA:O, Morrigan revealed she had been manipulating my human female noble PC all along to further her own gains. She slipped away and then — and I quote — “was never heard from again”. That is, until now. A paltry year later. Yeah, never say “never”.

Before she left, Morrigan made it clear she did not want to be found, warned me not to follow her. That would have been fine with me (the two of us were hardly BFFs) but of course that was before I knew she had her way with Alistair, who is now my king and husband, and conceived a demon baby. That’s not something you can ever let go, no matter who you are.

Witch Hunt promised to yield answers to the mysteries of Morrigan, but not surprisingly, for every question answered, two more took its place. In this way, Witch Hunt felt more like an intro to Dragon Age 2. “Change is coming” is the message to take away from the conversation you have with Morrigan at the very end. I am told her child is safe and “innocent”, and that Flemeth is my true enemy. It is hinted that both of them may play a big role in the future of Ferelden, if not my own.

I don’t know if the answers I personally got were adequate. To be fair though, by this point there are so many possible outcomes for the player character, the resolution I was expecting  may be wildly different from another player’s. My PC’s main motivation for hunting the witch was to find out what happened to her child and what her plans with him were (at the time, it appeared the baby was left on the other side of the Eluvian by himself. Way to parent, Morrigan). For others who may have played a male character and got to romance her, their goal might have been simply to reconcile with their lost love, which apparently, you get to do if you play your cards right. After reading what happens in that ending, even I have to admit it’s a good satisfying and heartwarming (again, in Bioware’s strange and messed up kind of way) conclusion.

For me, Morrigan and I exchanged a few words and parted ways. I believe I could have killed her, which would have been an awesome ending too, but I was not out for her blood when I started this campaign. After all the chaos we’ve been through, it’s enough that the two of us ended things on good terms.

After contemplating what I know, however, I’ve decided that Witch Hunt seems to have a strong bias for PCs that got to romance Morrigan and take part in her dark ritual. It’s a path I’ve always wanted to take myself, if my character hadn’t been a female. Perhaps that’s a goal for my next playthrough.

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