Review: Dragon Age Origins- Leliana’s Song (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)July 22nd, 2010 | Written by Josh Schwartzman | Topic: PC, PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360
With the latest news of Dragon Age II being revealed, Bioware is hard at work on the follow-up to their 2009 critically-acclaimed title. While fans are anxiously awaiting to see what the sequel brings to the track, Bioware is not letting up on the gas as it keeps releasing a steady flow of downloadable content for Dragon Age: Origins. The latest, Leliana’s Song, provides an exceptional back-story to one of Origins’ main characters, and although it is quite short (at almost three hours) it is still an admirable addition to the steady growing library of Dragon Age content.
Leliana’s Song focuses entirely on Leliana and her exploits before the events of the darkspawn blight and her adventures with the Grey Warden. Leliana and her mentor Marjolaine are expert rogues who specialize in sabotaging the elite nobles around Ferelden and reveal their biggest flaws. Both put together a variation of quests, known as “The Game,” where both Leliana and Marjolaine battle it out to secure the most humiliating ways to denounce the nobles.
It’s a charming and often revealing look at the life of Leliana. While performing quests for “The Game” takes up most of your time in the beginning portions, things turn sour quickly and Leliana soon finds herself seeking revenge after being brutally betrayed. The story does a great job of making you feel secure and welcomed before knifing you in the back, and since Leliana is a master of the rogue class, there is plenty of back stabbing to be found in her story. Many of the characters you meet in Leliana’s Song are often mentioned in her codex pages or dialogue options in Origins if you happen to take the time to talk to her, so if you ever wanted to put a face to her stories, you will get to see Marjolaine, Tug, Sketch and other various characters play out during the three hour storyline.
Leliana’s adventure takes place mostly in the town of Denerim but her betrayal and lust for revenge also pits her in canyons and riverside creeks. In either case, all of the fighting remains the same as Leliana fights through hordes of underwhelming enemies as you make your way from one objective to the next. The objectives themselves are pretty straightforward, and except for the quests performed for “The Game,” which actually have you messing around a bit to create unique scenarios, nothing extraordinary ever really happens from start to finish.
It also seems that many of the levels for which you fight have been stripped down as well. Doors that were previously opened have been locked and access to certain areas is forbidden, making Leliana (an expert lock picker) seem out of place in areas where she is constantly picking locks to advance. In the areas you do fight in the combat is as simple as just hacking away at the enemies, and since the guards never put up a stringent fight, utilizing special attacks is never needed to acquire victory. If you so happen want to engage in special attacks, some new ones make their presence known such as the ability to shape shift into a bear/spider hybrid which definitely is cool. However, the length of the story really prohibits you from using it until the very end anyways so it really is a letdown to only be able to use it for about five minutes in the three hour story.
Leliana’s Song does feature a new music accompaniment that fits the mood nicely. Right from the start a cadence of flute and drums plays that resembles a Renaissance Fair as you deceptively walk around Denerim performing nefarious deeds. The voice acting is also as equally pleasing, with a noticeable increase in production values that have the characters sounding like normal citizens who talk in complete sentences and not broken, scattered English. There also is a nice touch added to Leliana’s Song that displays whenever you meet a new character for the first time. A short picture of that character gets plastered on the screen along with their name and a smearing of blood. It’s an added touch that helps players learn character’s names for a better understanding of the story at hand.
When all is said and done, Leliana’s Song is an admirable addition to the Dragon Age: Origins storyline, but with only three hours of content there really is nothing here to write home about. Fans of the game that are looking to gain some back-story on one of the game’s main characters should definitely check it out as it offers insight to some of the dialogue and story segments mentioned during Origins. While fans who are only interested in the dealings of the Grey Wardens might be disappointed, the back-story offered here is solid enough where hopefully Bioware will release more in the future that will potentially cross paths with more characters from Origins.