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A Video Game Rant: Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening

Posted by travizzt on March 25, 2010

Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening is a really weird title, but is it any good?

Dragon Age: Origins was developed by Bioware, was the best RPG of 2009 and it’s one of my favorite video games of that year. Almost everything was superbly done. It had a wonderful plot and great characters. The combat was fluent and interesting. It just was great.If you haven’t played Dragon Age: Origins here is a basic summary. You are recruited into the Grey Wardens. The Grey Wardens are a group of warriors that defend the land from a threat called the darkspawn. After a battle in which the kingdom you are in loses its king, you are forced into overthrowing the person who betrayed the king. After gathering other members to join you, and forging bonds with them, you set off to overthrow the “false hero” and take out the threat of the darkspawn at the same time. That’s the basic plot behind Origins, even though it is so much more than just that.

But I’m not here to talk about Origins, instead I’m talking about the recently released expansion for Origins called Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening. The premise of Awakening is that you’re the Warden Commander, set to reorganize the Wardens of Ferelden, the kingdom in which Dragon Age is taking place. After arriving at Vigil’s Keep, you are thrown into an assault by the darkspawn and have to save the keep from being overtaken. During your attack, we find that the darkspawn are evolving in a way. After saving the Keep, you learn that the Wardens that arrived had all been slain, and you go out to recruit some more and find out why the darkspawn are getting smarter.

Now the purpose of this rant is because I have a number of problems with the game. Most are bugs, while some are just annoying and odd things I’ve noticed and seen. But as always, I will list some nice things that the expansion does.

So let’s begin with the nice things!
– For starters, the story is pretty engaging. It continues a few months after Origins and, for the most part, has a fairly good plot. I don’t know what else to say about that.
– The inclusion of new talents, classes, and skills are wonderful. I really do like them a lot. Each is unique and interesting. The new talents are pretty useful and really add to the combat. The skills are interesting. I like them, but at the same time I have problems with them, or more specifically, one of them.  And the new classes really add to the game.
– Humor. The humor that was in Origins is continued in here, only I think Awakening’s humor is a little funnier. For example, Anders (one of the new party members) likes cats. So you give him a kitten and what he says about it is just funny. It really echoes the relationship that Minsc and Boo had in the Baldur’s Gate Series, which was also developed by Bioware. Then of course you have Oghren’s (who returns from Origins) sexist and drunken humor that is much funnier than in the previous game. Along with that, the parties banter between themselves is entertaining.

 

– Party Members. You get six new party members, with one from Origins returning. What’s not to like about that?
– New Enemies. New enemies, whats not to like about that? There are about ten new creatures (some are just renamed darkspawn), and most of them are pretty interesting. The Architect, the Mother, and the new spectral dragon are interesting additions, along with the new talking darkspawn. The only problem I have with the new enemies is that the spectral dragon is just too easy. The dragons from Origins were very hard to beat, and I was having high hopes with the new dragon type, but I was just let down by how easy it was.

The new dragon type, but is way to easy!

The "Children", a new type of enemy. Creepy isn't it?

While it does have some new things, and everything that was good with Origins does return. But there still is some major issues with the expansion…
– Length. It’s horrible how short this is. I got maybe sixteen hours worth of game play, which is awful for the price of the game (which is about $40). I’ve heard accounts where the length can vary between 12 hours to 20, depending on difficulty and how quick you play it. It’s a little pathetic for an RPG type of game. When comparing this to other RPG expansions, it’s about half of the gameplay from others. Take The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion‘s expansion called Shivering Isle. It added a good 30 to 40 hours to the game and it cost the same as Awakening. Plus, it seemed like there really was much more that could have been added to make the game a little longer.
– Import Issues. One of the biggest issues I’ve seen is the importing feature. When importing your saved character from Origins, a problem happens… Some things do not transfer! Sure, it’s mostly DLC content, but why? Why can’t DLC items transfer? I know I was really mad about losing my sword to this issue. But, I can look pass that. But that’s not the only problem. The biggest issue is that you lose some armor pieces in the transfer. What is up with that? From the first time I imported my character, some of my armor was missing (and it wasn’t any DLC items). But it was an easy fix! I just had to import a different save file. But that DLC not being able to import issue is just silly and a little lazy.
– Runecrafting. I HATED runecrafting. It’s a wonderful addition, but it’s poorly executed. I mean, it’s really time-consuming to realize that you are out of some ingredients and have to keep going back and forth. Oh not to mention that it’s insanely expensive! I couldn’t believe how much money I felt like I wasted doing this. It really was pathetic and a little annoying. I spent a good hour or so focused on this lovely task. It wasn’t worth it. At all.

 

While the problems may seem small and insignificant, they aren’t. Not by a long shot. The length of the game is a joke and the importing is just plain lazy. But does this make the game not worth it? No, not by a long shot. It’s still more Dragon Age and what’s not to love about that? I do not think it’s really worth the $40 price tag though. In my opinion, you’d be better waiting for a sale, buying a used copy, or borrowing it from a friend. However, with that said, if you LOVE Dragon Age, then by all means, pick this up however you want to!

 

(Sorry for the lack of images. There isn’t very many available. I hope the video clip I found helps out some!)

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