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Review: Dragon Age: Origins - Witch Hunt

It's a big week for the ladies of Bioware's hit role-playing games, and bringing closure to some outstanding storylines. On the same day a DLC campaign for Mass Effect 2 released, a similar one came out for Dragon Age: Origins. This is definitely the time to follow-up on lost romances, and since Leliana got her own DLC campaign, it's only fair that Witch Hunt focuses on another prospective love interest, Morrigan. After disappearing at the end of the main campaign, this is the last chance players have to track her down and confront her. However, despite the huge setup and anticipation, this is one of the most disappointing expansions to release for the game so far.

Warning: Review contains Dragon Age: Origins spoilers

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The last thing Morrigan said before disappearing was, "Don't follow me." A warning that players should seriously consider before picking up this DLC expansion. The campaign starts off strong, with a quick return to Flemmeth's house in the middle of the Wilds. In short time, the player is reunited with his dog and introduced to a Dalish Elf warrior named Ariane. From there, players travel to the recently renovated Circle of Magi Tower where they pick up an uptight wizard named Finn for a companion. Then the four of you are off to track down the runaway witch. Although the banter between these companions is amusing, there's no rogue included. So, if you're like us and have a compulsion for picking every lock and disarming every trap you find, then this is definitely a time to bring your own rogue.

It's important to note that the most compelling factor to playing Witch Hunt is to find out what happened after the events of the Origins campaign finale. In it, Morrigan offers the main character a deal with extreme long term consequences. Depending on the player's decisions (and gender), that could also include her being pregnant with the hero's child. Additionally, Witch Hunt officially concludes the Origins storyline and sets the stage for Dragon Age 2. It's a long fall from that kind of height, and Witch Hunt doesn't have a parachute. Incidentally, if you played through the main story as a Dalish Elf, you'll find out what that mirror really was, which isn't very exciting knowledge, but it's something.

Generally speaking, Witch Hunt is a short campaign that sends players across Fereldan chasing a bogus prize. A lot of the action seems forcibly inserted to distract from a straightforward plot where nothing really happens. Battling malfunctioning Sentinels and sealing Fade tears beneath the Magi Towers is pretty exciting, but the event by itself opens up a number of questions that go unanswered. That's really the heart of what makes Witch Hunt so disappointing. Instead of being a DLC about answers, it's really just a cryptic setup for Dragon Age 2. Considering that this is supposed to be the last content expansion before the sequel releases next year, we really expected a lot more. Players are led to five locations, and apart from the Sentinels and end boss (which isn't that hard to beat), there's not a lot of challenge. This is especially true if you have a top level character imported from the Awakening expansion.

What ruins the entire experience above all else is the ending. For starters, there's a major continuity bug with Witch Hunt. We played through with two imported characters that both took the deal with Morrigan, but in both cases, she acted as though we didn't. That's bad enough, but when you try to get some more insight as to what's going on, there's little to be had. Morrigan talks cryptically about things to come and how Flemmeth is the real threat (even if you supposedly killed her), but doesn't elaborate beyond more vague rambling. Morrigan also provides a gift that the hero should find "of great interest," but the game doesn't reveal exactly what it is. Essentially, players don't end up with any new insight into Morrigan's motivations and schemes, which defeats the whole point to playing the campaign at all.

Players who really need closure, any kind of closure, with Morrigan should check out the DLC so long as they brace themselves for a major let down. Considering how inexpensive campaign is, and the the fact that it's the last one to be released before Dragon Age 2, it's worthwhile to wait at least until the bugs have been worked out. Otherwise, apart from the nice weapons that come with the DLC, you won't miss out on anything by passing it up.

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