Another DLC is done and this one felt like the deepest in the lore (and literally!). I almost started this one when I was stuck at trying to get my first high dragon kill and wanted to distract myself when I was having trouble, but then I changed my mind.
Playing it made me yearn for the surface again, but also it had quite a few surprises.
|“Hold up, listen? That a heartbeat?”|
The Deep Roads are home to the darkspawn and even bigger creatures like ogres, and below the Deep Roads themselves, it gets darker with vein after vein of lyrium with Sha-Brytol dwarves fused with the lyrium.
I learned that not all of the tremors were natural; some of them were deliberate, like there was something alive down there. Valta, who desires to unlock the mysteries of the earthquakes eventually concludes it to be a Titan. Now, normally Titans are in deep slumber but this one was likely awakened when the Breach was opened and as it stirred, it began to reshape Thedas and the earthquakes begun. It is also likely the fissure in the Storm Coast was created when the Titan awakened.
The story and journey in this DLC is quite linear so unlike the last one, there isn’t much to explore. But, there are a few side things to do such as collect mugs, use a separate war table to access new areas, and collect gears to open doors in the dwarven ruins that contain artifacts.
The first half of the journey through the actual Deep Roads is through the dwarven ruins and dealing with darkspawn and ogres. My first encounter I recall was in this cave that had an entrance to the Deep Roads in Emprise du Lion where I was trying to uncover one more artifact for Blackwall. That was a tough fight, but nothing compared to what I dealt with here. The ogres infuriated me with their grabbing, and at times I wanted to weed them out by taking care of all the smaller enemies so that my party could focus all their attention on it.
Pushing the darkspawn out of their nest was definitely the most frustrating part of this DLC; they would just keep coming until I defeated a certain amount of a type of darkspawn. Those ones with the big shields and the emmissaries especially. It wasn’t until my second attempt where I changed my party did I succeed in this part. It felt like I was fighting those two ogres and then the emissary alpha for a whole hour but it was relieving when it was over.
Once we descended down the ancient lift that went past the Deep Roads, that was where I felt like the real fight/adventure began.
|Are you dwarves or lyrium demons?|
The moment we entered that pitch-black cavern, I knew we wouldn’t be alone. These guys appear to be indoctrinated, like completely fused with lyrium that they’re not even dwarves anymore. They are tough enemies but they weren’t as frustrating as the darkspawn surprisingly.
It was like, the area got brighter as I went deeper and the massive cavern that was illuminated with lyrium veins felt like Blackreach to me, only everything was blue. You’d think there’d be a “bottom” somewhere right? No, instead, I eventually reached the Wellspring which appeared to be a civilization with Flora and Fauna. That was where I heard a heartbeat and was like “Yep, definitely something alive down here,”
When, I first heard of this Titan, I imagined it to be a massive monster deep down that was angry and shaking the Earth after being awakened by the Breach. The reality is that it would have to be some gargantuan sized monster to be able to cause earthquakes! Then, did I come to the realization that Titans do not have physical forms like a creature, but are beings consumed within the caverns beneath the Deep Roads and the veins of lyrium are its blood, hence there is a heart, right? This is just like the way Unicron was made in the first season finale of Transformers Prime. So, it’s a living cavern? Yeah, I think so, and we were inside it.
|I imagined you to be a lot larger than you were.|
I was hoping the Guardian was the monster that was causing the earthquakes, but as the story unfolded during the journey, I knew I was wrong. The Guardian serves as a protector of the Titan’s heart and watching it form made my heart beat so fast. But, it was clear that I was unprepared for what the fight had to offer on the first run. I lost my party pretty quickly and I blame that on its attacks where the floor would glow. But then, I switched to a party of ranged fighters, minus myself and managed to defeat the Guardian at the second attempt.
Valta now appeared to be connected to the Titan and it had been calmed, ceasing the tremors. I thought there was going to be a dialogue option where I decide what comes of her, but apparently not.
Over all, there is something about the writing and the lore that you learn as you proceed deeper below the surface that really absorbs you. It makes me feel like I’m playing a lore-rich Mass Effect DLC all over again like Leviathan. It’s hard to explain, but it’s one of those DLC’s that really gets to you, the more you progress, there’s that increase of intensity in looking forward to what lies ahead in combat and lore.
It’s also arguably the hardest DLC I’ve played, even on casual (but again I’m a novice player of this franchise so don’t expect me to play on Nightmare yet! But then again, I never do it anyway because the lore is more important to me than combat) Jaws of Hakkon presented a challenge too, so maybe, this was slightly harder!
Up next is Trespasser and this will hopefully answer some questions I had upon completing the main story and some new interactions. For now, I’m just glad to be back on the surface where the sunlight shines again!