Dragon’s Den: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening

When Dragon Age Origins was released, people enjoyed the game so much that Bioware didn’t want to just stop there with the core game. Thus they used the same game but created the expansion that was Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, which tells a brand new story after the events of Origins with some new gameplay elements. But does the Expansion do anything that improves the problems of the core game or is it just more of the same? Click below to learn more.

The story begins with you as the hero of Ferelden from the core game as an imported character, or if you choose to create a new character, a Grey Warden from the lands of Orlais to help the other Grey Wardens with the remaining Darkspawn. But you arrive to find that the castle is being attacked by the menace with rumors of a leader that has the ability of speech. The prospect of a speaking Darkspawn is an abnormality due to the very feral nature that all Darkspawn have, only being able to group together in armies by an Archfiend with the coming of a Blight. But with the defeat of the last Archfiend, the amount of attacks of Darkspawn is confusing until you finally meet the Leader whom can in fact, speak. After having a few words, you defeat the leader to later learn about how much damage Vigil’s Keep has taken and “The First” Grey Warden went off on another mission, leaving you as the new leader of the castle and giving you the responsibilities of all who lives in your land. Now only must you learn more about the evolving Darkspawn, but you have to also build better defensive walls, make sure your army has proper equipment, and even build trading opportunities to upgrade your own shops. To avoid too many spoilers, I’ll mention that you will in fact meet the person responsible for the Darkspawn’s new-found ability of speech and its reasons for doing so. You have branching story options for what happens with multiple endings as well, albeit not as many as there were in Dragon Age Origins.

You have new companions to accompany you in Awakening with the only recurring member being Ohgren, the Dwarf with the highest tolerance to ale. During the initial attack on Vigil’s Keep, you also befriend an apostate mage by the name of Anders. You’ll find a thief-assassin by the name of Nathaniel Howe whom only wants to bring honor to his family’s name again after the betrayal his father gave to Ferelden. Each party member you obtain has the ability to go through the joining and having the chance at being a Grey Warden themselves, which does nothing really for the game itself, but gives a little extra story to the characters as you converse with them. I was a little disappointed in the lack of meaningful relationships you could build with your party. Sure they all do just about the same as the previous members did in Origins, but you’re not able to talk with them on a mission as they will only speak a sentence to you. Your party members will also frequently converse among themselves, creating amusing dialogue. I was glad to see that each member still have interesting stories to enrich the world. But unlike Origins, you do not get any chance of romance options with anyone, making the approval ratings almost worthless to work on, outside of a boost to a single stat which wouldn’t matter anyways as the worthwhile stat for each character is what you’d already attempt to increase anyways. You could play through all of Awakening and not bother to speak to anyone and it wouldn’t matter as your party will always help you for better or worse. This could also be said for Origins, but the difference is the ability to develop a strong relationship with a particular character is taken away.

The gameplay itself is basically just more of the same from Origins. With the ability to reach level thirty, more skills along with six more specializations divided among the three classes with more talents were added. The skills just range from a boost to health and stamina along with a new crafting skill to create runes for your weapons and armor, an ability that’s all but required to complete a few quests as you’ll need Grandmaster Runes to give to the blacksmith, Wade. Each talent provides extra play styles for each class as you can either excel at one thing by combining two to three specializations, or mix it up to create an all-purpose fighter for any situation. Just as before, completing quests and defeating enemies will provide the experience needed to increase your abilities. But as stated before, multiple crafting skills are required to complete some of the quests, which if you don’t pay attention to can easily pass by you. I also witnessed a bug that refused to allow me to complete the “Trade Must Flow” quest because it wouldn’t register one of the merchants that had arrived to give his services. This bug also caused another merchant to not upgrade his stock which holds items required to complete others, causing me to start all over so I could finish all of the side-quests. This was the only bug I really encountered through my entire playthrough, but it was very annoying to deal with. Another thing that still annoyed me was the fact any armor I obtained still looked too similar to anything I had equipped before. Even with the expansion, the only armor sets that truly looked different were still heavy armors for the Warrior class. Although I will give credit as Awakening does offer more Mage equipment throughout the campaign, even as I was playing as a Rogue and using the same two weapons I started with as nothing I picked up was better than I already had equipped.

The few trophies added with Awakening are also fairly easy to obtain as it requires you to complete the campaign along with upgrading Vilgil’s Keep completely and reaching level thirty. Reaching level thirty will more than likely be the hardest to obtain as you will have to do nearly every side-quest and defeating every enemy without dying so any experience obtained won’t go to the main character. You will be able to get every trophy in this expansion if you keep an extra save file to get the varied endings and even if you don’t, the story is enjoyable enough to warrant another playthrough.

With all this said, Dragon Age Origins: Awakening is a good expansion that tells another interesting story about the Darkspawn. With added options for characters gameplay-wise and a good story, the expansion would still be worth it to buy if you didn’t own the Ultimate Edition (which includes every downloadable content that’s been released). But to help save money at this point, I would still recommend to you that you purchase said Ultimate Edition as you’ll get more content that’s worth much more than what you would pay for it. Sure the combat’s just ore of the same slow fights and purpose of speaking to your party dwindled, but that doesn’t take away the overall experience you’ll have enjoying the game itself.

DAOAProsAndCons

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Posted on November 12, 2014, in Mr.Dragon's Den and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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