Dragon Age Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon DLC
The very concept of DLC for a narrative-driven experience like Dragon Age: Inquisition is one fraught with danger. How does one create a worthwhile addition that can be done at virtually any point— during or after the central narrative—that doesn’t feel like it was an essential missing piece or is a lazy tack on? The simple answer: make Jaws of Hakkon.
The Inquisition receives intel that hints at the resting place of the previous Inquisitor some 800 years prior. History is sketchy on some of the details of Inquisitor Ameridan’s purpose and the events surrounding his death, and so it falls to the contemporary Inquisitor to set things straight. For a player whose character has already ended the threat posed by Corypheus, this is an opportunity to put the Inquisition’s forces to good use after the world is saved and recover a lost part of history. For those—like me—who hadn’t yet tackled the final foe, Jaws of Hakkon is a logical way to acquire more resources and allies in preparation for a final confrontation.
Frostback Basin is the setting for this quest of historical significance and it is a beautiful and varied location. A massive central forest, dotted with ruins and swampland, thins to the east as it reaches a shoreline; follow that same shoreline north and it rises into a mountainous region, home to the Avvar. In the west, the gigantic trees linger and a large river snakes its way through grasslands to a large ruin. The way that various biomes blend together and the way that nature intertwines with civilisation strongly remind me of a less foggy Morrowind; the similarities between House Telvanni and the Tevinter Imperium seem to extend beyond just the name.
Exploring Frostback Basin is both a joy and a challenge; the beautiful environments are much more vertical than most of the locations in Dragon Age: Inquisition, requiring you to clamber across makeshift tree-bridges and up steep hills. Listening to the banter between party members is wonderful—Dorian’s apparent fear of heights gave me a chuckle, especially when I proceeded to leap from the top of tree houses. But for all the character dialogue, there are some weak points: one guy talks far too much about thatching, and I took a small amount of joy from firing my bow at the guy who frequently says, ‘Our guests are welcome… so long as their weapons stay sheathed’.
The eponymous Jaws of Hakkon are a clan of Avvar who seem to have a bone to pick with everybody else. My first encounter was accidental; I stumbled upon two Hakkonite bowmen harassing a fisherman. What was most interesting is that both these ‘bowmen’ appeared to be women—shaved bald, wearing elaborate tribal paint, and seriously aggressive. While Dragon Age: Inquisition was no weakling when it came to diversity, Jaws of Hakkon has a few notable female characters: Thane Svarah Sun-Hair, leader of the Stone-Bear Hold; self-exiled Avvar mage Sigrid, who will join the Inquisition if asked; and Colette, an elven researcher whose talent overruled the rampant racism at the University of Orlais and secured her a spot on this expedition. Nice to see an absence of burly guys and helpless damsels.
But don’t expect Jaws of Hakkon to fundamentally change anything; it’s more of the same. That’s not a critique—Dragon Age: Inquisition is wonderful and this DLC only contributes more of the positives. At a relaxed pace with lots of exploration, there’s a solid ten or so hours to be found in Jaws of Hakkon. With interesting plot threads to discover, beautiful locations to traverse, and powerful equipment to loot, there’s plenty on offer in Jaws of Hakkon; it adds even more value to what was already a worthwhile experience.
This review was originally published at Impulse Gamer.