Mark of the Assassin is the latest dlc for Dragon Age 2, having been released yesterday. This dlc flew under my radar. I didn’t even know about it until last week. I had to get used to playing DA2 again since I haven’t played in about a month, since I completed my last playthrough. Mark of the Assassin continues Legacy’s intentions of adding new content outside of Kirkwall. If you read my review of that dlc, you know that I recommended it if you liked DA2 but wished there was more. So is Mark of the Assassin similar?
Plot: Mark of the Assassin can be played at any point after the prologue by activating a wyvern statue in Hawke’s home. It starts with Hawke & co. being ambushed in Kirkwall & meeting with an elven assassin named Tallis. Tallis comes with a proposal to Hawke: help her steal a jewel called the “Heart of the Many” from an Orlesian nobleman. During the course of doing so, you’ll hunt wyvern, schmooze with nobility & sneak into an impenetrable fortress.
Tallis, a rogue elf & temporary companion during the dlc
1 new location accessed through the dlc only, 8 levels
at least 9 new quests (there appear to be optional sidequests based on which companions you bring
2 new enemy types, wyverns & ghasts
5 achievements, A New Day (first meet Tallis), Chasing the Game (hunt an alpha wyvern), Blackjack Subtle (sneak through the Chateau), The Take (disarm all traps) & Mark of the Assassin (defeat final boss)
Total gameplay time added: about 3 hrs
Cost: 800 MP
Opinion: While it’s not a bad dlc, for some reason I didn’t like Mark of the Assassin as much as Legacy. I can’t specifically point out what it was, but I came away with a sense of blasé.
I should state that I played this in post-game. Although you can play it at any point after the prologue, the dialogue seems to favor playing in Act 3, or at the very earliest in Act 2, since it seems more geared toward players who’ve raised Hawke’s status.
I don’t mean to say that there weren’t good features. New areas & content are always nice. Tallis is an interesting character. She has a unique personality in addition to her own skill set, Infiltrator. In some ways she reminds me of Kasumi from Mass Effect 2, but not as playful or flippant. Her abilities are also similar to Kasumi’s, in that she can cloak & move in for an instant kill on some enemies. But that’s okay. I liked Kasumi, & Tallis is different enough from her that it doesn’t come across as a copy-&-past character. For obvious reasons, she’s not fleshed out as well as your other companions, but they do give her some depth in the short time you’re with her. There also seems to be a romance option, but because I stuck to my romance with Fenris (yeah, I like broody) I didn’t see how far it went. Given Hawke’s scenes with Tallis, I doubt it goes more than flirting.
The biggest addition to the game has to be an actual stealth mission. After entering the Chateau, you have to sneak around guards. That’s right, no combat allowed. You’re given a red triangular area to indicate the guards’ field of view. You’re only options to get around them are to stick to the shadows, distract them by throwing stones at places to make them move or knocking them out for a few seconds. But as much as I love stealth, it’s very flawed in this dlc. Guards have a longer field of view than the game indicates, & they don’t stay unconscious long enough to be useful. But my biggest complaint is that actually using the Stealth skill if you’re a rogue is useless. Yes, using the very skill that makes me invisible in combat doesn’t work. There were several times I was stealthed that guards spotted me instantly. I get that the developers probably didn’t want players to Stealth their way through the entire level, but shouldn’t rogues have the advantage in this part over warriors & mages? This part of the game is by no means broken, since being spotted just sends you back to the start of that section, but it was enough to prevent me from really enjoying it. I give the developers credit for trying something new, even if it didn’t work.
It’s not all bad, of course. There were some genuinely funny moments, like watching Tallis run around with blood on her while doing a nug call. You’ll also meet some characters from other points in the game that have interesting things to say based on how you’ve interacted with them previously. If you’ve romanced a character & take them with you, you’ll get some special dialogue after the dungeon. It also sheds a bit more light on the Qunari & Orleasians. The ending also suggests that Dragon Age 3 will in involve a war with Orlais, & I have to say I enjoyed the final boss fight. Although I do have to nitpick, at the risk of sounding like a nerd, that wyverns should not have four legs.
Overall, Mark of the Assassin is an average dlc that I can only recommend to people who really liked the original game. It doesn’t really add anything important to the game, nor does it leave a lasting impression. If you were lukewarm about DA2 or didn’t like it, you probably won’t find much to enjoy.