Dragon Age: Trespasser – The best kind of wish fulfilment

THE SMALLEST OF reviews for Dragon Age: Trespasser, final piece of DLC for last year’s excellent Inquisition, so as to avoid spoilers: it’s good!

In more detail, with spoilers for the end of the main questline (you’ve been warned!)…

Trespasser picks up two years after the main storyline concludes, an epilogue that developer Bioware says it has never tried before with its games.  When the Mark of the Rift – the magic seal on your character’s hand that allows them to slam shut portals to the underworld – begins to slowly consume them, they start a quest that takes them into areas never seen before in the series, uncovering secrets that throw the established history of the universe. No small feat; Bioware have been building their canon with hundreds of codex entires and expanded universe media since 2009, and Trespasser both announces their intention to take it further, and offers an immensely satisfying conclusion to Inquisition. We finally see the motivations for the character of Solas (Gareth David-Lloyd) who was last seen in a post-credits scene and the implications this has on Dragon Age as a whole. The fate of the Inquisition that your character has taken so long to establish hangs in the balance, as political gridlock and invading forces threaten to undo it all.

Trespasser also adds new gameplay experiences, including an equipment import feature and difficulty modifiers which yield better loot in new games. It’s vestigial, especially since the high levels of Inquisition’s endgame means equipment changes are mostly cosmetic, but in the long term will bring back completionists for the new achievements tied to them, if nothing else. The instability of the Inquisitor’s Mark also introduces new powers, that shake up gameplay for a short time but are fun to use while they last.

Bioware’s greatest strength has always been its ability to craft a strong cast of characters and give you reason to care for and support them. Comparisons to Mass Effect 3’s final DLC, Citadel, will be rife; same chance to bring the band back together for one last fight, and all. How much time you can spend with your companions, and what you can spend that time doing with them in Trespasser, is dependent on how friendly you were with them during the main game. It can be small things – playing pranks or having a spa day with Enchanter Vivienne (Game of Thrones’ Indira Varma) to married life with your love interest or some characters not appearing at all. It was implied at the end of Inquisition’s story that you would all eventually go your separate ways; if your Inquisitor worked hard enough to befriend and help them, their future will be brighter because of it.

Trevor Morris returns as composer for Trespasser and his music here is, without overstatement, some of the best work ever recorded for a video game. It’s music that sounds like it’s heralding a definitive end to a legacy that can take many hours to complete; my last save game before the final mission was logged at 124.  It’s a poignant farewell to a series that now has both a setting and a compelling villain ready for its next instalment, but will likely not see one until after Bioware’s next epic, Mass Effect Andromeda.

But for now, Bioware have placed their full weight behind an expansion that serves as a fitting conclusion to its largest and most affecting title so far.