‘Dragon Age: Return to Ostagar’ DLC Review – You’re Better Off Staying At Home

The first DLC pack for “Dragon Age: Origins” (not counting the ones that were packed with the game) is called “Return to Ostagar,” which totally kills the surprise. You’ll be heading back to the worn fortifications of once-heralded Ostagar, the site where Grey Warden Commander Duncan and King Calain fell against the Blight. The goal is to recover important documents tucked in a chest where Calain’s tent once stood, as well as recover his fancy golden armor.

The Highs

More Darkspawn, More Experience
Experience is close to finite in “Dragon Age: Origins,” so I can imagine that it’s nice to traverse a larger area with a solid amount of enemies, to snatch precious points in preparation for the conclusion. Achievement junkies should be pleased with the concentration as well. The majority of these villains are Darkspawn and can be mined for the achievements tied to them.

The Lows

Why Do I Care?
From the onset of “Return to Ostagar” it attempts to create non-existent empathy for King Calain. Your brief conversation with the man in the core game revealed that he’s a nimrod, a fairy-tale chaser more concerned with his heroic legacy than the Blight. So how can you possibly feel sorrow for him?

The scene that attempts to capitalize the most on this is a close-up shot of Calain’s bloodied, broken, and now crucified body. Even though it’s bolstered by subsequent CG flashbacks of the battle (taken straight from the game’s cinematic of the event), you’ll still feeling nothing for the goofy character — and that’s a shame.

The Loot Sucks
If you’ve played a decent amount of the game, then you have armor that is superior to King Calain’s gear. The same goes for his sword and shield, which are optional finds. Collectively, the armor reduces fatigue and gives a small bonus to health regeneration, but it’s still not worth it unless you’ve just started the game.

Where’s My Additional Fiction?
The fiction in “Dragon Age: Origins” is so rich, so detailed, yet this DLC adds almost nothing to the story of the game other solidify the fact that Calain is dead. I find this particularly disappointing — the game relies on its strong fiction, but lets it go to the wind with this particular downloadable.

You’ll move from the open-air of Ostagar, to the crushed Tower of Ishal, to Darkspawn caverns, to the ground level of the battlefield all in the span of 30 minutes or so. I found this to be an unsatisfying, breezy approach to navigating sections of Ostagar that should have been much bigger considering the fortification’s scale.

Final Word

Even if you’ve just picked up “Dragon Age: Origins,” this DLC isn’t worth your time. Another piece of DLC, “Warden’s Keep,” has decent armor in it, as well as presents fiction that is much more compelling than this. If you’ve already conquered the all that is offered in the game, well, you’re definitely not missing anything here. “Return to Ostagar” adds almost nothing to the fiction, and doesn’t even offer up worthwhile loot.