dudacles's Darkspawn Chronicles (Xbox 360) review

The Darkspawn Chronicles are a mess, and not worth your money

If there's anything Homer's Iliad has taught us, it's probably that every conflict has two sides to it. Both men wielding the blade against one another on the battlefield have their own reasons for doing so, and it is important not to diabolise either party until you have a full understanding of their respective ideologies. Dragon Age: Origins featured an excellent story that saw you, a valiant Grey Warden, beat off the threat of the Darkspawn. However, the question of what drives the Darkspawn is never really answered. Do they have needs that are not fulfilled by living underground? Why does the Archdemon cause them to go crazy and attempt to kill everything in sight? I had hoped to find at least some of the answers in “The Darkspawn Chronicles”, a piece of DLC that could be yours for 5 euros (400 points.)
The Darkspawn Chronicles allow you to take control of a Hurlock Vanguard during the final battle of the game in Denerim. It sort of takes the easy way out and assumes that your character actually died at the opening battle in Ostagar, leaving Alistair as the sole surviving Grey Warden in Ferelden. Perhaps importing your own dude would have been a significant technical challenge for Bioware, I don't know. It's disappointing that you can't kill yourself, though.

 Playing as these dudes might sound cool. It doesn't turn out all that entertaining though.
The premise is extremely basic. You enter the city and run around as a Hurlock the likes of which you've spent pretty much the entire retail game killing. From there, you can recruit other Darkspawn minions into your squad by using a special skill on them called Enthrall. The coolest aspect, no doubt, is that you can also recruit an ogre into your party and use those annoying charges and that rock-flinging move on the characters you may have come to hate over the course of the main adventure.
However, aside from feeling slightly weird about the fact that you're murdering the personae you've spent dozens of hours with in the full game, there truly is nothing to find in Darkspawn Chronicles aside from lots of meaningless combat. As mentioned before, I had hoped to find something out about the motives the Darkspawn have for their invasion of Ferelden, but the soldiers you control throughout this short mission--that'll take less than 90 minutes of your time to complete--are completely devoid of any personality. The Archdemon occasionally speaks to you, informing you that you should kill the opponent and come to his aid, but there is nothing else to drive you on. No satisfying ending, no nothing.
The piece of DLC also performs terribly. I played it through on the XBOX 360, and during combat, the game seizes up frequently and the framerate drops to extreme lows. This surprised me, considering it never did so at any point in the other pieces of downloadable content or the main game. The game has lots of trouble keeping up with who you're hitting here as well. I often found myself ordering my Hurlock to fight a dude, only to see him pointlessly swinging away at the enemy, seemingly unable to touch him. After a couple of seconds, the game would suddenly realise that I'd been atacking, and would then do all the due damage in a single go. It's really weird, and breaks the flow of the otherwise so excellent combat, if the random short freezes weren't bad enough already.
The Darkspawn Chronicles should have gone for 200 points, at most. It is a short piece of content that is devoid of depth, matters extremely little in your overall experience of Dragon Age: Origins and, in surprising fashion, is atrocious on a technical level. It has a somewhat interesting premise but comes out as completely underwhelming in the end. Don't buy it. 

Other reviews for Darkspawn Chronicles (Xbox 360)

    Dragon Age Origins Darkspawn Chronicles Review: Broken mess 0

    The Darkspawn chronicles was a great concept: replay the ending of Origins but in a changed history where the hero of Fereldan died during the joining and Alistair had lead the defense of Denerim. You play not as the noble heroes, but as the darkspawn themselves. This great concept has been utterly wasted in this miserable add on for Origins.  You will be seeing this map a lot The action starts out in the city as you take control of a Hurlock Vanguard fighter, a Darkspawn with a fancy helmet and...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

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