If you felt like you had left some unfinished business behind after Ostagar, this DLC offers you an excellent opportunity to resolve that. Return to Ostagar is one of the least expensive DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, which if you’ve played The Stone Prisoner might have left you feeling worried that you wouldn’t be getting anything at all here. The truth is quite the opposite, Return to Ostagar offers far more enjoyment and time than you would expect.
The storyline of Return to Ostagar obviously doesn’t unlock until all events there have taken place, and you’ve finished Lothering – thus unlocking the world map. At this point, the area of Bann Loren’s Lands opens, where you will meet one of King Cailan’s personal guards. After an encounter with the guard and some of Bann Loren’s men, the guard informs you that King Cailan entrusted him with the key to a storage chest. This key was meant to be given to the Grey Warden’s but due to the events in Ostagar, this never happened.
Of course, to keep things more interesting, the guard didn’t actually keep the key with him but hid it at Ostagar itself. Nothing is ever easy, so off you go back to the ruins of Ostagar. A huge word of advice; bring Wynn and Alistair to this location as they were both at the original battle in Ostagar and have a few things to say while they are there – including a very disturbing conversation after the conclusion of the story. Watch for it, I’m not going to tell you what happens.
Needless to say, the scenery will be familiar – though BioWare have done a very good job at making the ruins look… more ruined. You will also not be surprised that Return to Ostagar involves fighting darkspawn, a lot of darkspawn. The designers have done a fairly good job at making the encounters interesting at you’ll even find yourself in quite a large scale battle once or twice. Personally I found the encounters very enjoyable, though returning to the tower was a bit of an anti-climax as the mobs there are incredibly easy to defeat compared to the encounters that come before it.
Part of the quest of Return to Ostagar involves acquiring the full set of Armor of King Cailan, which both looks pretty and has pretty nice stats. Personally, the highlight for me was recovering Duncan’s weapons in a most spectacular manner – which immediately creates a certain attachment with them. It’s a shame more loot doesn’t have memorable encounters like that.
Most of the time you will be chasing a taunting Darkspawn Necromancer (pictured in the first image of this review), until you finally face him in the final encounter of this story. After the quest is completed, an emotional cut scene shows the final fate of King Cailan, depending on your choices, giving the player closure on that part of the main storyline. It must be mentioned that you are by no means forced to be a good guy and give the king a proper burial, and leave it at that. I always felt something like that should be part of the story after only showing how the king dies during the battle at Ostagar, so having this option presented to you was very good in my book.
Return to Ostagar isn’t particularly original and pretty includes exactly what you would expect from it. It is however very enjoyable and the story is at least as good as anything in the original game content. Add the fact that this gives you closure on a specific part of the main storyline and some pretty good loot which stays useful until the end of the game – and you’ve got a winner. The fact that this DLC is also one of the cheapest available, I can highly recommend you get this immediately if you have not already done so.