dudacles's Warden's Keep (Xbox 360) review

Warden's Keep is way too short to recommend

   
Warden's Keep is a minor piece of downloadable content that adds about half an hour to 45 minutes of extra gameplay. The introduction to this small slice of Dragon Age pie is rather clever, though also a bit dirty on Bioware's part. A man by the name of Levi Dryden will show up in your camp before you've downloaded the DLC, and offer you a look at his wares, alongside a tale of a fortress that once belonged to the Grey Wardens and may hold treasure and a way to clear his smeared family name. You can't look at his merchandise before saying yes. Accepting the quest immediately pops up a Marketplace window that allows you to buy Warden's Keep for the relatively high price of 540. It can definitely be deemed smart, because I was inclined to buy the add-on right then and there, without really considering whether I needed it. Thus, Microsoft's marketing strategies have worked their magic on me. But was my instantaneous surrender to capitalism justified?
 

 Ghosts. Of course.
After agreeing to help Levi, the world map will point you to the Keep, where his grandmother was once the commander of the Wardens. Upon arriving, flashbacks occur that show how the fortress was under siege and the Grey Wardens had to hold the line. What exactly happened to Levi's grandmother gets explained over the course of the pack. It is an absolutely miniature tale, more like a side mission in scope than anything. For 6 euros, that's a bit disappointing.
 
Just like its story, the Keep also doesn't take long at all to traverse. Plenty of Darkspawn jump in to stop you from reaching the conclusion, but they won't be able to withhold you from seeing all there is to see here very quickly. There are a couple of mini-boss battles that offer a decent challenge, but it's all pretty underwhelming for the most part.
 
Of course, that other half to the promise of any downloadable content is some equipment that ought to trump the stuff that you should have up to that point. In my case, this wasn't exactly true as I only got around to playing the DLC after I had completed quite a few bigger main missions already. Thus, the rather impressive Commander Armour that shows up around the end was actually slightly worse than the outfits my squad were already sporting—but at least I got some gold out of selling it! And I found a pretty good two-handed sword as well, though I believe that was random as opposed to a scripted pick-up. It is advised, therefore, that you play this as soon as possible if you're looking to get anything long-lasting out of it.
 
Warden's Keep is simply way too short. The fortress looks pretty good and the story is compelling enough for a small add-on, but it costs way too much for the short amount of time it'll take a player to complete it. The Commander Armour is a decent bonus, but it's not as though good armour isn't anywhere to be found in the main game, not to mention that recommending extra content simply because it has one good item in it would be disgusting. If you're desperate to elongate your Dragon Age: Origins experience, you may get something out of it, but really, I don't recommend it to anyone but the biggest of fans.  
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