Before she joined the Chantry and the Maker called her to battle against the Darkspawn, Leliana was a free spirited Orlesian rouge with a talent for fighting and thievery. With her companions Tug, the dwarf, and the elf-mage, Sketch, she finds herself in the city of Denerin under the watchful eye of her friend and mentor Marjolaine. Under Marjolaine’s instruction Leliana works against the nation of Ferelden in the name of Orlais, but she is soon overwhelmed by events that will change her forever.
In keeping with the whole Origins theme, the most recent DLC for the wonderful Dragon Age RPG epic fills in some of the back story for one of the Warden’s companions. Running at between two to three hours we find out why Leliana is both an incredibly irritating zealot and a hot, flame-haired thief with a thing for shoes and a eye for some of the Warden’s other female companions. Let’s just say that her relationship with Marjolaine is complicated and involves just a little rolling around on the ground while Tug and Sketch raise their eyebrows and shake their heads at each other.
However, what isn’t complicated is the Leliana‘s Song. Once downloaded you play it as a new game. For those looking for something new in terms of locations or gameplay, they won’t find it here, because this DLC is quite simply all about the story, and as such, most gamers will find it a simple task to play through to the end unscathed.
For the majority of the game you control a party of three, although, to add slightly to the difficulty, on one occasion you have to fight on your own. Also adding slightly to the difficulty around the same time, you have to get by breifly without armour or weapons. However, the fighting is never difficult and although Leliana’s thieving skills are needed, you can get through all her enemies quite easily without much in the way of special attacks or team management.
However, Leliana’s thieving skills do come in handy for unlocking her pretty useful armour set - The Battledress of the Provocateur. This level 7 set carries good dodge, armour and stamina bonuses and once unlocked is available in the original game’s inventory and can be worn by any rouge.
When it was released at the end of last year Dragon Age: Origins got a lot of credit for carrying some old school ideas through to a thoroughly next-gen console friendly game. The wealth of mission packs and add-ons that have become available in the months since its release remind you of the old days of dial-up downloads, of user created stores, kits and quests, and of all those reasons you played through games multiple times. And even with the buzz building around the release of Dragon Age II, there seems like there might still be more content to come for Dragon Age I. However, with Electronic Arts involved you know that one thing won’t be like the old days. It won’t be free.
At $13.50, is it worth it? If you play through slowly, take in the story and explore where you can, you might stretch the experience to over three hours. But really it’s under one hour long if you push through it quickly. You might be tempted to indulge in one or two replays to find those things you missed, or to see if there’s an alternative to the rather abrupt ending. If you weigh it up it’s a bit more than the marvel costume kits for LittleBigPlanet and about half the cost of one of those clever little independent games.
In the end, Leliana’s Song is too short and adds nothing in terms of gameplay. If you want more gameplay, more spells and raised caps then there are other expansions, modules and campaigns out there at a higher price.
However, I did enjoy Leliana‘s Song. In the original game I got hooked on the whole origins concept, and enjoyed finding about the world of Ferelden through the eyes and experiences of the different characters. If Alistair or Morrigan get the same treatment, I’ll be there again. But then I’ve always found it hard to resist a good story filled with deceit, dungeons, breathy French accents and low cut armour.