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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Review: Tyranny – Bastard’s Wound DLC (Steam)

If you’ve read my Tyranny review, you already know that I consider this title as one of the best RPGs in recent years. How do you raise the stakes in the case of a game which has an excellent campaign storyline as it is? Well, by adding new subplots and extending the existing ones, without giving the impression that it’s more of the same. Bastard’s Wound as Tyranny’s second storyline-focused DLC, has accomplished this by offering players both a new sizable location and more context to the companions which form the party of the main character. Developer Obsidian Entertainment has never disappointed me so far and they avoid that even in the DLC packs they release to the base of their projects.

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While it is recommended you play this DLC as soon as you’ve reached Act II in Tyranny’s campaign, you may delay that until close to Act III, but obviously not beyond that time frame. I shall do my best to avoid spoilers, yet some name-dropping along with events and certain quests, have to be discussed at least in general terms in order to understand where does Bastard’s Wound fit within the main storyline. After Act I is over and our Fatebinder protagonist is shifting towards the mantle of Archon of the Spires, he receives some extra quests that form the starting point of the DLC I’m writing about today. Namely, “The Weight of Aegis”, focusing on your armored companion, Barik and “Hidden Truths”, the quest which leads to the discovery of the Bastard’s Wound location.

Barik isn’t the only party member which shall benefit from a loyalty quest, since both Verse and Lantry have similar side missions of their own. I suggest you keep the three aforementioned companions in your party during the Bastard’s Wound quests since they provide some interesting (and funny at times) comments into this new challenge. What exactly is so difficult? Well, imagine having to execute an entire settlement in order to unlock a new Steam Achievement. There’s plenty of killing in Tyranny, almost as much as the freedom of choice. But when you receive recognition for that, you know it won’t be nearly as easy as before.

And a choice you will have to take since the new location is against the Overlord Kyros’ strict laws. Bastard’s Wound is a place which I’d like to compare to Fallout 3’s Little Lamplight. A hidden settlement which seeks to avoid confrontation and is oblivious to the war and devastation going on everywhere else. The inhabitants form a tight-knit community which is also self-sustaining, thus removing the need for outside intervention…until they do, since no group is shielded from in-fighting if more than one “personality” disagrees with another. From Kyros and his Archons, to the greedy mercenary leader refusing you safe passage, it’s always about struggle for power in Tyranny. The outcome is rarely a peaceful one, in spite of your best efforts.

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As expected, the DLC is powered by the same Unity 5 graphics engine since it mixes pre-existing assets from the main campaign with new ones added just for Bastard’s Wound. You will notice new gorgeously rendered 2D environments still teeming with 3D characters and elements in several locations which range from Oldwalls and caves, to surface ruins still bearing the scars of the Overlord’s conquest of the Tiers. I never saw a single frame rate drop and the text along with the User interface, scaled perfectly on my monitor’s native resolution. There’s always an opportunity to rest while admiring the intricate details in both the outdoor and indoor levels. I’ve taken over a hundred screenshots so far in Tyranny and many more shall be linked to my Steam account before I finish the game in a second or even third playthrough. All in due time.

The DLC features new crucial voice acting to your motley crew of companions and that is a welcome addition since I’ve always felt that there’s far too much text in comparison to the spoken lines of dialogue. Sure, the voice acting was always on par with the story and visuals but I could swear that even 2002’s Neverwinter Nights had more chatter between NPCs and the playable character. Bastard’s Wound addresses some of those issues with new dialogue but other than the party, the rest of the characters will still flood you with text walls. Not that I mind reading them though. Couldn’t tell if the OST received new songs since I’m always far too focused on the tactical side of the battles or drawn in by Tyranny’s rich lore.

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New quests to complete (each with several choices to pick), new locations, new characters to interact with but no visible new spells or weapons as far as I’ve noticed. Regard Bastard’s Wound as a pure side story DLC instead of an equipment focused one. It’s for the best, if you ask me. As a gamer which was already acquainted with expansion packs and add-ons, the DLC trend which was sparked off by the infamous Horse Armor in TES IV: Oblivion, is a polarizing topic and I refrain from speaking my mind on the concept’s utility at times. Fortunately for my readers, I don’t review useless games or DLC packs, so you can be certain that Bastard’s Wound is an extra but still integral part of Tyranny if you’re looking for the full picture. You could ignore it altogether and focus on the main campaign, but that’s not how I prefer my games, if I’m aware of the existence of storyline downloadable content. I’d rather postpone playing that game until I can afford or acquire the DLC in question, than to run the “plain” version.

The companion loyalty and the DLC quests will involve some backtracking to locations such as Lethian’s Crossing and that by itself will be an issue if you’ve sided with the Disfavored at every turn and decision, like I did. Expect more combat than on a Separatist or Scarlet Chorus playthrough but really, is that such a bad thing? That extra layer of challenge didn’t bother me in the slightest. You’ll still be fighting a lot in the new locations introduced by the DLC and travelling across the Tiers is not very time consuming for the players at least. It’s ultimately up to you, if you’re willing to spare the denizens in Bastard’s Wound and assist them in erasing any immediate threat from their presence or simply put them to the sword and loot the settlement afterwards. For my own Fatebinder which has a Diplomat origin and sided with the Disfavored while remaining loyal to Kyros, the path of extreme violence is not an option.

In terms of DLC value to the game itself, I’d say that Bastard’s Wound is a positive example of an expansion which might not be crucial but still enticing enough for Tyranny fans to pick up and experience. Such a complex RPG as in Tyranny’s case, doesn’t deserve to be played in haste or ignorance in relation to its topics and quests. Bastard’s Wound will probably add about 3 hours of extra content which is more to see and play than what the vast majority of DLC pieces offer nowadays.

All the screenshots you see above, have been taken by me in-game through the Steam Overlay.



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