Final Thoughts on The Descent

CAUTION – This post contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Check out the Dragon Age website for information on the game.

When The Descent was announced my excitement for new Inquisition DLC was tempered with dismay at the thought of having to venture into the Deep Roads again. I’m one of those rare people who quite enjoys the extended trip to the Fade in Origins, but I greet trips into the Deep Roads with the kind of resignation I reserve for vaccinations: I know it needs to be done, but I don’t enjoy it, and want it to be over as soon as possible.
As trips into the Deep Roads go, I found The Descent enjoyable. This was in large part due to Valta and Renn; I liked the scrappy friendship between them, and enjoyed learning more about the Shaperate. After the Wardens, the Legion of the Dead are my favourite organisation in Thedas, and I enjoyed working alongside them again. Both characters engaged my sympathy quickly, and Renn’s death came as a real gut-punch – as we continued the quest I found myself regretting that I wouldn’t get to hear the rest of his stories. The only disappointment in respect of characters is that there is very little in the way of additional dialogue from your main companions. It makes sense that Valta and Renn take precedence, we’re on their turf, after all, but it would have been nice to hear more of my companion’s thoughts on what we were finding.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I felt like I was backtracking far less to explore all the tunnels – the use of the Expedition Table helped with this, as the need to open new sections gave a creditable reason for retracing our steps. In Origins I felt like I had to find everything in one hit, while I could still remember where I’d been, but with the Expeditions, I felt like I had control over the pace of exploration, and an easy way to keep track of where I’d been.

None of the loot seemed particularly impressive (of course I never found out what the Guardian dropped), but this could be because I was playing post-endgame. Dalya was at L27 when we arrived at the Deep Roads, and it emerged that 27 is the level cap. Interesting to note that the enemies I was facing were all around L26-27, so I assume that this area operates differently to the main regions of DAI. It will be interesting to go back and play The Descent as part of the main game.

I liked the additions to Dwarven lore; the existence of the Titans, and the questions that raises about how they relate to Dwarves, the Dwarven resistance to Lyrium, and magic, and their lack of connection to the Fade, are tantalising. I also have questions about how this fits with the existence of Red Lyrium, and the fact that breaches in the Fade affect the Titan. I hope that these mysteries will be unravelled in future Dragon Age instalments. I had hoped that we might see The Architect, or Nathaniel Howe, and discover more of what they were doing in DA2. It occurred to me quite late on in playing The Descent that I was playing a World State in which both Nate and the Architect were dead, so there may have been content I didn’t see, but I can’t imagine that they would have shoe-horned in additional plot about Wardens and Darkspawn, in a story that focussed on the Dwarves.

As much as I enjoyed The Descent, and look forward to playing it again, it did feel quite short compared to Jaws of Hakkon. A quick look back at my earlier posts, and a bit of math, tells me I completed The Descent in half the time I took to complete Jaws of Hakkon. Granted I went back to Skyhold to use the War Table and do some crafting during JoH, and there is at least one area of the Deep Roads that I was locked out of due to a bug, but I feel that The Descent offered less content than Jaws of Hakkon, which makes the fact that they’re both priced at £11.99 quite annoying. People who are less fanatic about Dragon Age, and less bothered about lore, may prefer to wait for a deal.

There is rumoured to be one final piece of DLC in the offing, which will explore the reveal of Solas true identity in the post-credits scene. Presumably this will centre on the Inquisitor and her team learning Solas’ part in events of Inquisition. It would be a nice bit of closure for the Inquisitor, but I hope to see the continuing effect of Fen’harel’s return to the world in future installments of Dragon Age, so won’t be too disappointed if DLC plans change, or The Descent proves to be the Inquisitor’s last hurrah.