The Inquisition ventures to the basin of the Frostback Mountains on an expedition to uncover the final resting place of the first Inquisitor from over 800 years ago. Jaws of Hakkon gives 8-10 hours of gameplay on a completely new map in the southernmost region of charted Thedas. Opening up an untapped piece of lore to be discovered as well learning more about the distant Avaar culture.
Despite being a thoroughly enjoyable DLC, Jaws of Hakkon isn’t one that is wholly relevant to the plot of Inquisition, as the tale of the first Inquisitor was only a footnote throughout the main campaign and didn’t have much significance to the threat of Corypheus or the tears in the veil. The area can be accessed from the war table at any point during the campaign after reaching Skyhold. It’s definitely one to take on after finishing off the storyline of Inquisition, you can hardly go 10 feet without some nasty level 20-something beast jumping out at you.
‘There are twists and turns as you discover the truth to the Inquisitor’s final hunt’
The area itself is out-and-out gorgeous, showcasing just how beautiful Inquisition is when it wants to be. Although not as vast as the Hinterlands or the Hissing Wastes, the Frostback Basin is unique to the others for how dynamic and vertical it is. There’s a wealth of sights to behold from a cool blue sun-kissed lake, to the swampy depths beneath a gargantuan tree. As well as this the map holds much more variety than others like the Emerald Graves, with ancient Tevinter ruins (they pop up everywhere it seems), Avaar tribes, murky swamps and a folding landscape with countless climbs and drops, along with a few incredible landmarks. The variation throughout the map keeps it fresh and less dull than several kilometres of sand.
It’s not entirely unfamiliar though, the area is filled with side-quests and shards and more astrariums. You’re still facing down the same five enemy archetypes and unfriendly critters. There are several bosses throughout that aren’t related to the quest but more a chance to prove your mettle and earn some quality loot. At times it does feel like running around the Hinterlands again. But it’s a very good Hinterlands nonetheless. There are brilliant gems sprinkled throughout the DLC, from the party interactions to the notes and codices scattered across the Basin – there’s a quality Mean Girls reference in there if you look hard enough.
The quest itself is intriguing as you sift through history to find the true nature of the last Inquisitor’s mission. Following a trail 800 hundred years cold while dogged by an extreme cult of Avaar barbarians, obsessed with the return of their god and the destruction of the lowlanders. There are several amusing new characters as well as a chance to get to know some agents of the inquisition better. The best of these being fan favourite Scout Harding. It takes a few hours of digging and traipsing across ravines before getting to the flashpoint of your mission. But once you take up arms for that final push it picks up dramatically as only Inquisition can. The initial part of the DLC is light on cutscenes (its more Hinterlands than it is Adamant Fortress) until the final act, where it becomes far more cinematic. The final showdown against the Avaar doesn’t pull punches, as you go face to face with the old Avaar god Hakkon, after it’s been bound to a high dragon. There are twists and turns as you discover the truth to the Inquisitor’s final hunt as well as those he travelled with, his journeys being not too dissimilar to your own.
As far as Bioware DLCs go, this is no Citadel DLC, but it’s not something as discardable as weapon packs or extra skins. It sits somewhere in the middle. Think Soldier’s Peak for Dragon Age: Origins, not relevant to the quest against the Archdemon but full of lore and the history of the Wardens before being banished from Ferelden. Jaws of Hakkon is much the same. It’s certainly worth playing for fans of the series and those interested in discovering more of the world, but it won’t apply much to your campaign against Corypheus except for all the new loot you’ll pick up along the way (It’s very good loot mind you).
Jaws of Hakkon isn’t a DLC that you have to rush out to buy. It’s an enjoyable new addition to Inquisition especially for those of us who’ve been left wanting more over the past 5 months.
Quality filler, sets up a strong precedent for the quality of DLC. 8/10