The Exiled Prince introduces Sebastian Vael to the world of Dragon Age II, an archer on a proud quest to avenge the brutal murder of his royal family. After entering the priesthood as a young boy, Sebastian is the single surviving heir to throne and is forced to return to his princely duties, all the while wrestling with conflicting morals between his birthright and chosen path in life.
You have one of two options when it comes to incorporating Sebastian’s dilemma with your own problems in Kirkwall. You can take the honourable route and help him avenge his family and reclaim his rightful position as prince, or use him to do your bidding and further your own standing in the corrupt city. Of course, there’s not much point buying the DLC is you aren’t going to help the poor fella out. He’s useful as a member of your team, but that alone isn’t worth the price of admission.
After tracking down and equalling the score with the Vael family’s murders, the story intensifies as you pine to find who sent them. There’s fighting, lots of fighting, as monsters appear at every twist and turn. While it’s mostly continued within Kirkwall, the missions are quite diverse to those in the main storyline and inject some much needed emotion into the hack and slash affair. Once committed, you’ll actually care about the last remaining monarch and want to guide him back into power.
Sebastian is one of the most useful characters in the game to have join your party. He’s an extremely skilled archer – somewhat surprising for a religious man – and can take down enemies at range better than you could ever imagine yourself replicating. That makes him a worthwhile asset to your crew. Furthermore, Seb can more than hold his own in close combat and is the only character, outside of Hawke the protagonist, who can handle a longbow in combat.
You’ll want to manage your party well, however, as Sebastian is at his most devastating when combing with a good mix of range and melee attacks. He partners up particularly well with a gifted mage who can temporally stun an enemy; that allows him to fire up his trusty bow and often take down an enemy with a single shot, especially if they were frozen. Likewise, he can dish out a great deal of damage for the close combat men (or women) in your team. Let him penetrate an enemy’s defences and then move in for the ruthless kill.
The Exiled Prince is a cool edition, but deserves its criticism as launch day DLC. If your pre-ordered or bought the collector’s edition, it should have come free, which is presumably apart of EA’s defence against second-hand sales. They also implemented the online pass system. If you didn’t get it free, however, it will set you back 560 Microsoft Points – around $8. Considering Dragon Age II was so recently released and has up to 20 hours worth of optional side quests, it’s hard to reason that it’s worth the extra money so close to release.
That leaves us with a conundrum. The Exiled Prince is a great piece of free launch DLC, but it won’t have worked out like that for everyone. If it’s truly a measure to reduce pre-owned sales, EA should have made it free for 3-6 months after release. As a paid piece of DLC at launch it’s hard to recommend. You’re better off playing through at least half the game before deciding if you want to commit and experience everything it has to offer. If you wait much longer, you won’t fully utilise the unique abilities that Sebastian brings to the table.
The Final Verdict
Dragon Age II’s The Exiled Prince DLC is a great piece of bonus content that is hard to recommend to everyone. The extra missions are great and the character of Sebastian Vael is a welcome addition to your team. However, it’s not required so close to launch if you have to pay for it. Having said that, if you’re coming close to the end of your Dragon Age IIadventure, or know that you’ll want to experience everything the game has to offer, it’s money well spent.