Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin Review

Bioware sure loves their DLC, don’t they?  The latest expansion for Dragon Age II has Hawke being recruited by the elven assassin Tallis (Felicia Day) to help steal a rare gem known as the Heart of the Many.  The mission includes taking part a hunting trip and pretending to be nobility until things start to get messy.  Bioware fans may be dismayed by the obvious similarities between this quest and Mass Effect 2’s Kasumi’s Stolen Memory DLC from last year, but this story eventually takes a different path.

The quest should take most players two and a half hours to complete and is rich with content that that will be unique to your choice in party members.  In my case Aveline found some clues about the fate of her father.  The experience is varied thanks to a series of creature battles, a conversation-filled party, the obligatory dungeon, and a series of puzzles that may infuriate achievement hunters who refuse to use a guide.  There are plenty of funny moments in the writing and Dragon Age: Origins players will be happy to see a few familiar faces.  The dungeon however features a poorly made stealth sequence and puzzles that vary between incredibly easy and shockingly difficult with no apparent middle ground.

Commenting on the visuals of a downloadable expansion is generally useless due to the identical engine, but I would just like to spend some time on the rendering of Felicia Day in the game.  The face is fairly accurate, with Day’s structure presumably requiring little alteration to match the usual elven physique.  The only real issue lies in Tallis’s over-sized eyes, which take a dive head first into the uncanny valley and managed to be a distraction for quite a while before I was able to get used to them.  It can be especially jarring if you have already seen the normal-eyed character in the Redemption web-series.  Perhaps nonhuman characters shouldn’t be made to look like their voice actors?  Regardless, it’s certainly interesting to see more games taking the Chronicles of Riddick and L.A. Noire approach with in-game actors.

Mark of the Assassin is now available on your favorite game marketplace for $10.  Is it worth the price?  This isn’t another Shadow Broker, but it’s a perfectly serviceable DLC.  Dragon Age II fans that were satisfied with Legacy should also be pleased with this one, but if you’re among the crowd who didn’t enjoy the changes made in the sequel this expansion isn’t going to change your mind.  Shameless achievement junkies may best be served by waiting for the inevitable temporary discount via a Deal of the Week or equivalent offer.

Experience the story without paying a dime in the playlist below:

Learn more the author of this post:

Keith Ballard
I run a gaming channel on Youtube called TheSaDGames and occasionally write about games. I can be contacted on Twitter as @SebastianSB.