I absolutely love Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was my game of the year for 2014. It excelled in not only world building, combat and visuals, but (as one might expect from a Bioware game), characters. Now, just a few short months later, the first expansion is available, Jaws of Hakkon. It excels in most of these areas but lacks any innovation and while it’s entertaining, it’s also superfluous.
Jaws of Hakkon gets its name from the main antagonist of the expansion, a group of barbarians known as the Avvar (you know, the pasty folk you meet in the Fallow Mire that threw goats at your castle) who wish to see their god raised. Thus you must venture into a gorgeous new area, much like the Hinterlands or the Exalted Plains, called the Frostback Basin. There you will unravel the plot to resurrect Hakkon and find out what happened to the first Inquisitor who disappeared 800 years ago.
The new area has everything you’d expect: new quests, new enemies, a dragon to slay and most importantly, more shards to collect and astriums to solve. There’s even a tiny shard temple for you to use those glorious shards in. There is also a pleasant change to the loot you receive from closing rifts, but the change only affects the new area. Old locations still just give you the same old lame spirit essence.
There’s a lot of new, shiny and useful loot to be found all over the Frostback Basin, even a new ability that you'll gain access to. Which is good, because Jaws of Hakkon is high level game content. While the area unlocks along with all the others after you get to Skyhold, it would not be a great idea to tackle it then. But, for anyone that’s already near or past the end, it’s a solid 10 hours of more Dragon Age: Inquisition goodness.
Sadly, while Jaws captures the majority of what was good about Inquisition, it lacks Inquisition’s standout feature: characters. That’s not to say that your party members are absent or anything so ridiculous, but they don’t have anything new to say. There are no new personal quests; there aren’t even any special dialogue options for your party members to chime in on (that I saw). As consolation though, your trusty scout, Lieutenant Harding, does have a fair bit more talking to do than she ever has before. Which is great. She’s adorable.
One of my favorite and most frustrating aspects of Jaws of Hakkon is that it doesn’t feel necessary. In a world where DLC constantly seems as though it were removed from the base game just so that it could be DLC, Jaws is refreshingly un-essential. It doesn’t feel like it was supposed to have been in the game. Conversely, it doesn’t feel like it needs to be in the game.
Jaws of Hakkon is a well-made expansion to Dragon Age: Inquisitions. It provides a beautiful new location to explore, more loot to acquire and enemies to vanquish. But in the end, that’s it. There aren’t any truly meaningful additions here, no new gameplay elements or characters interactions. It is literally more of the same. Thankfully, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a damn fine game for this to be more of the same of.
Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.