Almost a year since the core game came out, when I think back on my time with the Inquisition, leading an army and closing rifts, I remember two primary things: the characters I got to fall in love with, and the world I got to become lost in. Pulling on these elements, the final piece of story DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, “Trespasser,” offers a satisfying last farewell to those characters, all while artfully setting up the world for the many trails that are still down the road.
Picking up two years after core game ends, the story of which you will need to finish in order to start “Trespasser,” the DLC begins as the Inquisitor and friends are called to an Exalted Council, a meeting, held in the Orlisian Winter Palace, meant to evaluate the future of the nationless organization. After getting reacquainted with old comrades and catching up however, things get complicated as a dead qunari and an eluvian mirror are discovered in the palace. What follows are roughly seven hours of twists and turns, the threat of a qunari invasion, political intrigue, and, most of all, a lot of exciting reveals for the future of the Dragon Age universe.
Much more linear than the massive open locations found in the rest of the game, “Trespasser” really is more about telling a story than anything else. While there are a handful of decently difficult fights along the way, save for one change, most of the combat is what you’d expect. As the story progresses, the inquisitor is given a new super ability, which serves to not only add a hint of new flavor to the combat, but serves remarkably well as a narrative device.
Then, on the exploration front, the previous wide-open exploration is almost entirely absent. There are plenty of secrets to find, documents to read through, and even hidden bosses to take down, but the massive open areas and side quests have been left behind. And for good reason, as it turns out such things are secondary to the real objective: bringing a close to Dragon Age: Inquisition, and setting up things to come.
On the one hand, “Trespasser” shows just what has happened to the heroes of the Inquisition in the years after taking down the big bad and sealing the hole in the sky. While for the most part, these interactions are exceptionally well written, the majority verging on heart-warming and even hilarious, some simply aren’t, marking one of the low points of the experience. A couple are simply too short, out-of-place, or full of awkward cuts, and even uncomfortable time jumps, making them seem almost unfinished. Pushing past these initial showings however, the paths each of your companions have gone down not only feel interesting and believable, but also very much an effect of your actions.
And it is here that “Trespasser” shines. With the episode’s conflict taking place during what is essentially a trial for the Inquisition, everywhere you turn, something you did in the core game has an effect. Be it a representative from Ferelden chastising you for a decision you made or Dorian speaking to you about his relationship, or lack thereof, with his father, “Trespasser” does something a sequel just might not be able to achieve: it makes you feel like the choices you made really do matter.
Beyond this however, is the actual story evolving throughout the DLC. Allowing the player to travel to numerous locations, all distinct and varied, the episode introduces a well paced mystery that, while not ending with an epic, game defining bang, does answer a lot of questions left hanging by the original game’s narrative.
Not content with letting “The Descent” be the DLC that changes how you look at the Dragon Age universe, “Trespasser” packs larger reveals when it comes to lore than almost anything else out there. With how much the episode changes the understanding of how the world of Thedas operates, it actually seems strange to think someone will be able to play the next game without having played this first.
But best of all, the revelations and surprises don’t simply feel tacked-on. They all feel like a natural progression from threads started in Inquisition’s core game. And while “The Descent” packed similar eye-openers, “Trespasser” actually takes the time to allow the player to soak the new information in, and even ask questions about it. To better elaborate, while the lore changes in “The Descent” felt like a bomb being dropped right before the credits rolled, the reveals in “Trespasser felt more like somebody pulled back a curtain, and gave plenty of time for the player to analyze the new view.
All of it comes together to provide a clear set-up for things to come, a delightful, enticing cliff-hanger that will make the wait for the next Dragon Age game that much harder. While it might not pack much of an epic finale for those simply looking for more things to kill in the Dragon Age universe, “Trespasser” is nearly essential for anyone that cares about the world and characters of the game, and, ultimately, a decent place to start as the wait for Dragon Age 4 begins.