PREVIOUSLY ON DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS
Dragon Age: Origins fans are a patient bunch. The Return to Ostagar DLC was slated to be released on January 5th, only to be delayed without a hint as to why. Then, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it re-appeared for download on January 13th, only to be pulled due to some lingering bugs. Somehow, I was able to sneak a download in before it was pulled from Xbox Live Marketplace and opted to play the game with it, even if it could potentially lock the specializations of my characters and corrupt my saved games. What can I say? I’m a daredevil; bring it!
Return to Ostagar is exactly what it sounds like, a quest chain that re-opens the area of Ostagar. In order to access it, you’ll need to not only have progressed through Ostagar (naturally), but you need to ‘return’ there as well as to the town of Lothering. Once you have access to the world map, a quick trip to Bannorn lands in the northwest corner will open it up.
Upon arriving at Ostagar, you’ll notice that much has changed. Once accessible areas are now walled off with barricades, structures are in various states of decay and the entire land is covered in frost and the dead. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cages were knocked over with the corpse of a prisoner still inside one. I now could retrieve the mage’s key to the chest, a plotline I was unable to achieve earlier due to my lack of cunning. You can also recruit Dog if you somehow missed him on your first pass.
The premise behind the DLC is to recover King Cailan’s gear as well as a secret letter, but to do so, you’ll need locate a chest and kill off a few elite darkspawn before taking on an even greater threat. All told, I was able to fly through this DLC in a short period of time and despite it wrapping up the fate of the king, Return to Ostagar felt a bit hollow. I traveled to the area late in the game, so the loot wasn’t as game-changing as it could have been if I had returned earlier. The story also does little to flesh out the world of Dragon Age, as aside from one choice, it’s primarily focused on combat with darkspawn. On a whole, both The Stone Prisoner and Warden’s Keep offered richer gameplay, but they were also more expensive than the $5 price tag on Return to Ostagar.
So while we all wait for the DLC to become publicly available again, I’m a bit undecided how to recommend this to people. Obsessive completionists should certainly look to check this out when it finally becomes available again, but those looking to dive back in for another Dragon Age playthrough to experience this content may want to wait for more significant DLC expansions.