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Dragon Age: Witch Hunt DLC review: Build a bridge out of her


"But whether you seek answers, revenge, or reconciliation with your lost love, you may find more than you bargained for."

Contrary to the marketing line, you'll likely find less than you bargained for in Dragon Age: Witch Hunt, a disappointing and flimsy finale to the Dragon Age: Origins storyline. It's not a terrible chunk of content -- and it would have to do far worse before it could tarnish BioWare's other efforts in keeping the Dragon Age universe alive for almost a year now -- but the crucial failure to deliver a satisfying conclusion is hard to forget. We'll talk forgiveness later.

If you're importing your Grey Warden into Witch Hunt (the game will import a level 20 replacement from Orlais, otherwise), you'll be eager to see the consequences of decisions you made in the Origins campaign. Witch Hunt acknowledges these and even some from the Awakening expansion, but addresses the big questions so vaguely that it feels like the game's just trying to dodge the conversation. If you were hunting Morrigan for answers, you'll find she's about as enlightening as the fan discussion on the official BioWare forums.

It wouldn't feel like such a trick if there was more effort evident throughout the add-on. In your quest to locate Morrigan and a mysterious mirror, you'll battle through several locations, each and every one recycled from the main game or earlier DLC. An encounter with a frightening new creature was blunted by the reminder that I had fought a boss in the exact same spot before, in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. Somebody should put up a warning sign or something -- Caution: Boss Fight Zone.

You're joined by your faithful Mabari hound (Roliver, in my case) as well as dextrous elf Ariane, and Finn, a cloistered mage with a deep resentment for mud. The two new characters are a likable, quick-witted pair, even if they fall victim to the story's lopsided structure, which stalls you with splintered artifacts and busywork before thrusting you into a rushed anticlimax.

If you've spent a hundred hours on Dragon Age, it's going to be tough to resist Witch Hunt and its barely significant glimpse of the world's future. With that in mind, consider this a readjustment of your expectations: You'll get more of Dragon Age's addictive tactical combat and character building, but not enough in the way of plot advancement or closure. Oh, and when you see your party reappear briefly after the final cutscene, know that it's just a product of sloppy editing. That really was the end.

[Note: BioWare is attempting to resolve some continuity bugs, as well as a problem with Witch Hunt failing to save after completion.]

This review is based on Xbox 360 code of Dragon Age: Witch Hunt purchased by the writer. The DLC is available now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $7. It took approximately two and a half hours to complete, and supports characters and abilities imported from either Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.

Note: Joystiq does not provide star ratings for downloadable content reviews with the understanding that the quality of the core game's experience is unchanged from the retail release to DLC add-ons
; see: Dragon Age: Origins review.

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