Felicia Day fans rejoice! The DLC for Dragon Age 2, Mark of the Assassin, featuring her voice and looks is available. But besides her appearance, is Mark of the Assassin worth purchasing? We’re here to figure that out.
Mark of the Assassin introduces Tallis, an elf with fancy swordsmanship & acrobatics. When Hawke first meets Tallis, she makes a proposition to discretely crash an Orlesian party, hosted by a Duke named Prosper, and steal a jewel called the Heart of the Many. The first thing to note is that this content is focused on the development of Tallis. This is both a strength and a weakness. The dialogue, voice acting, and personal story of Tallis really help make it worthwhile. From the moment you first meet Tallis to the last when she walks off, I got a great sense of who Tallis was. Rather than develop an isolated scenario for Tallis, she is given room to develop her eventful past & the present. As stated, Felicia Day breathes a great amount of life into her elven counterpart. From the snarky & witty lines to meaningful conversations, Felicia Day & Tallis make a great addition to the cast of characters in Dragon Age. The weakness is many of the original cast will fade to the background many times. It’s understandable, as MotA is meant to be a story of Tallis and with that no down time in conversation, but there are times that it felt odd that there weren’t more remarks by my other companions.
Combat in this expansion features a mix of intense confrontations with wyverns & skirmishes with the well-known Orlesian Chevaliers, who were the fighting force against Prince Maric (Alistair’s father). Maric fought against Orlesian tyranny to take back the throne of Ferelden, eventually leading to the events of Dragon Age: Origins. Secondly, a new direction of gameplay is added into Mark of the Assassin that some may not find entertaining or suitable. When Tallis and Hawke sneak into the Castle to receive the jewel, the gameplay takes a radical shift to stealth/avoidance. But rather than having the option of sneaking, and fighting if needed, every time you make a mistake – Tallis will ‘poof’ you back to a safe point, essentially reseting the encounter. This comes across as both too easy & less optional than Dragon Age 2′s combat. Because of this, the amount of time spent in MotA can vary based on your patience and ability with this section of the game.
Thankfully, locations don’t become repetitive in Mark of the Assassin. Every location that you’ll get to explore is new, well detailed, and gratefully less linear. From the Wyvern hunt in the forest surrounding the castle, where you get to sort through wyvern sh*t, or the courtyard of the castle wherein Hawke has an option to speak with several old faces, and so on. In fact, there is enough freedom that in my first run through, I completely missed the large vault that housed treasures. In a second play through, I made sure to get my hands on the Duke’s goods (not those goods). The puzzles that must be finished to defuse the fires that protect the treasure range from the simplistic, aggravating, and clever. Though the awards from the chest are powerful, it makes Hawke’s armor progression feel linear. From the very beginning of Dragon Age 2, the armor is continuously more powerful than it’s predecessor. This isn’t inherently a problem, but the actual quantity of armor options that match in value are few and far between, causing armor that you might find cosmetically appealing to be inefficient and obsolete.
Original Dragon Age 2 characters from Merrill, Sebastian, to Carver or Bethany, will add to the immersion but are sometimes left in the background. Each character will have a side quest available, but most end with a chest and a unique item to that person, adding little to character progression or development. But Aveline will have far more to add to the experience. In my second play through, Aveline’s side quest took a surprising turn. You’ll come across an item, if Aveline is in your party, that has the symbol of her family’s name Du Lac. Eventually a whole story begins to unfold that actually gives the impression that it could develop into another expansion or be adding details to what Dragon Age 3 could be about. Needless to say, it got me very excited. Though many of Dragon Age 2′s original cast may fall a bit to the way side, there are still moments that are close to my heart. Ones that manage to instill that my character is still a friend or lover, and that those relationships are ever evolving.
Mark of the Assassin offers not just a new partner in crime or locations, but a new story. One that will shake any bias opinions you had of the Qun & develop a character so well in such a short amount of time it will have felt like more time had passed. If you are a Felicia Day fan and have Dragon Age 2, you’ll want to get this. Or if you’re just a Dragon Age 2 fan, Mark of the Assassin will be a great addition to your Hawke’s story.