Dragon Age 2 is a game that I like, and I play it quite a lot given the chance. It reminds me somehow of the constant arguments that I hear from the RPG community, Pathfinder vs. 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, because regardless of the old grogginess of the former I have a soft spot for the latter and I likewise, have a soft spot for Dragon Age 2. The DLC hasnít been too grand, I felt somewhat let-down to be honest by Legacy though it was pretty fun.
Enter Mark of the Assassin. Now I happen to also have a soft spot for assassins in general and I wasnít overly impressed with the path in Dragon Age 2. Mark of the Assassin introduces a new character, voiced by Felicia Day known as Tallis, and she has a really solid path that actually works well in combat. Her abilities are focussed on harrying foes, silencing their use of abilities and spells as well as inflicting massive critical damage on both general and boss/mini-boss characters.
She uses a pair of daggers for up close and personal, and has a ranged knife attack that can make short work of weaker foes quite quickly.
As far as the level design and layout of the DLC goes:
Without spoiling the plotline of Mark of the Assassin, itís pretty much the best Dragon Age 2 DLC so far and well...the structure is pretty neat too. You have all the hand crafted zones in this one and it feels far more organic than the previous outings. Thereís a mix of puzzles and outright tough battles, especially on the harder difficulties. There are some nice new items for your characters and Tallis fits in well with the overall structure of the adventure.
It will probably last you around 4-5 hours and is an enjoyable ride, with the option of a stealth system if you choose to go that route in the later part of the game when youíre attempting to sneak into a Ch‚teau. Youíre given a choice to either rush in headlong or to sneak; if you choose the sneaking path then you can stick to the shadows, knock guards out for a short time and distract them from their patrol/guard zones. Itís a short section but it works well enough and is a welcome break from the hack and slash of the campaign.
Mark of the Assassin also showcases the Orlesians, those lovely folks that you first met in Dragon Ageís DLC: Leliana\'s Song and I donít know about you, but I wanted to murder them the moment I saw them. The good news is that you can cut through swathes of Orlesian soldiers and so on if you want, itís quite therapeutic. With Tallis in tow, the character is pretty smart and canny, sheís quite a personality and Felicia Day does a pretty solid job with her and the dialogue. The writing is pretty decent and the flow of the campaign doesnít feel stilted or dull at all. I was eagerly playing it to get to the next chunk of the story and find out what was going on. I wouldnít be sad if there was more DLC with Tallis in...
With Tallisí excellent move set and a grasp of tactics, itís possible to turn the tide of any battle in this DLC and itís a great adventure through areas of the Dragon Age world that you donít often see. Itís also packed with lore for the fans and there are numerous secrets to uncover as you play. A few side quests provide extra meat to the whole package and for the price of 800msp you canít really go far wrong.
Itís one that we recommend if youíre fond of Dragon Age 2 and you\'re looking for a decent story as well.