Often viewed as “the most anticipated game of 2011”, Gears of War 3 is set to burst from its emergence hole on September 20th of 2011. I don’t drive a pickup truck, don’t chug beer out of a football helmet, and can spell my own name (on occasion) and guess what haters … I’m a huge Gears fan.. The Gears of War series gets a bad rap for being “another space marine game”, or “digital testosterone”, but I disagree. I’ve played the games, read the novels, and truly believe the Gears of War franchise is a rich and adult science fiction universe. But how does Gears 3 play you ask?
Mild Spoilers (e.g. basic plot overview) for Dragon Age Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon DLC ahead!
Since Dragon Age: Inquisition was released in November I have spent a shameful amount of time running around Thedas with multiple inquisitors, checking out various plots and exploring zones I blew past during my initial run. It seemed like the Bioware team had already crammed so much into the main game I wasn’t sure if it needed more content? I happily take those words back after experiencing the Jaws of Hakkon DLC. Beautifully designed new zone? Check. More lore that you can shake a nug at? Check. Dragon? Check.
Given all the ground DA:I had covered, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Jaws of Hakkon. What tricks did the writers have up their sleeves to engage me into more wandering around Thedas? Well, Scout Harding for one. Getting to chat with the lovely dwarf again certainly caught my interest, particularly as she got to come along for the ride while investigating the last resting place of the last Inquisitor, Ameridan. There’s also a Professor, who’s cool, but who cares about him when Harding is around (I kid!)
After hours and hours of Red Templars and/or Venatori, it was nice to spend some time with the Avvar, who until DA:I were a group that, in my opinion, hadn’t seen much love. I was pleasantly surprised how easily I got hooked into learning more about Avvar culture as I made new friends, and found new enemies, amongst them. Oh, and enemies. Combat is a bit more challenging than fights I had experienced in other regions at about the same level range, even with higher end crafted armor. But, pleasantly so! A good challenge is part of the fun after all. Although, whoever added all the damn bogfishers and spiders to the area is a bad person and they should feel bad.
What really stood out to me was how interconnected the narrative for this new region was. For example, outside of the initial quest directing me to the Hinterlands, there really wasn’t much to do there in terms of the main story. There were plenty of fun side quests, but with some exceptions, they felt like a bunch of one shots. With the Jaws of Hakkon I felt the quests overlapped nicely and that exploring had a purpose other than just “run all the way to the north on the map for X random side quest which may or may not matter.” I imagine a lot of the cohesiveness is due to the fact it is self-contained compared to the main game—where the main DA:I plot mandated region hopping, Frostback Basin is its own little fishbowl. Additionally, for what running around one did have to do, there are a lot of fast travel points throughout the region making quest turn-ins a bit easier.
There’s a bit of something for everyone in the Jaws of Hakkon; new gear and new armor schematics for the loot hounds, new characters and story, and new banter for those wanting more from their favorite party members. All and all this DLC was a delightful deep dive into a new area and one of the many cultures which make up the Dragon Age universe.