Following on the heels of Jaws of Hakkon, BioWare has released another DLC story mission for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Titled The Descent, our intrepid Inquisitor and her companions must make their way through the Deep Roads to help the Legion of the Dead deal with Darkspawn threatening the area. However, there's more than meets the eye to this mission, as players soon realize there's more than Darkspawn lurking in the Deep Roads.
Unlike Jaws of Hakkon, which was a large open space to roam through, The Descent is a journey into the caverns below. In fact, it's a straight linear experience, having the Inquisitor and her companions going deeper and deeper through the mines of the Deep Roads. It's here that players will going through the entire alphabet of Darkspawn, though the adventure is somewhat uneven. Like its predecessor, players need to be around level twenty-five or higher to survive the DLC, which features many instances where players take on waves and waves of Darkspawn.
In one instance, players must fight two Ogre Alphas and that is on top of small waves of Genlock and Hurlock mooks. But the fun doesn't stop there, as afterwards come more mook waves along with a very high level Arcane Horror. However, then there are sections of the DLC where areas are too easy to plough through enemies, so the balance here in terms of difficultly is quite unbalanced.
Speaking of unbalanced, the final boss of this DLC is unnecessarily difficult depending on the party players roll with, even if they are at the recommended level. In fact, it has moves that can just instantly kill party members, but since it isn't possible to directly control every member in a fight, more often than not the AI will run into dangerous parts of the boss and die repeatedly. This boss fight would be fantastic if it were in an MMO, but because there's no way to directly jump in and take control of all the party members at once players basically need to have at least one long ranged character that you can control while everyone else goes for the boss with gusto. This boss fight just really makes for a gruelling experience, and once he's defeated, it makes for such an anti-climatic end to the DLC as a whole.
On the story side of things, The Descent actually has some fantastic dialog and storytelling. Players meet Shaper Valta, a dwarven woman who wants to find out why there are earthquakes occurring in the Deep Roads, and Lieutenant Renn, a member of the Legion of the Dead who wants to solve the mystery behind who has been murdering the legion members. There's a lot of good back and forth between these two companion characters, and there is a lot of lore in The Descent to uncover and explore. Like Jaws of Hakkon, there is a plethora of side missions to complete. However, if I'm frank, the "find the gears to unlock the door" side missions got old and dull very quickly, and the sad part is there's a lot of them.
Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, The Descent has a lot of framerate problems and noticeable dips in quality. A lot of it appears to be to do with there being much on the screen at once considering a lot of the enemies the player will face are in closed quarters. I managed to complete this DLC packaging in around three and a half hours and it did feel noticeably shorter than Jaws of Hakkon, even doing a lot of the side content. I think The Descent was a decent content pack overall, but I wish it had been a more well balanced experience from start to finish.