Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening
|a game by||BioWare|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||6.5/10 - 4 votes|
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|See also:||Dragon Age|
Spending a Long time with a group of characters to push my rogue archer to the end of the main Dragon Age game, meant I got to become familiar with them.
When Awakening, the first proper expansion in what will likely be a long list of new material for BioWare's epic RPG, kicks off, you've got a load of new people wandering around with you. (Actually, one of them isn't new, he's just a guy from the main game I didn't care about much.) This is perhaps one of the biggest letdowns about Awakening, which does all the basics exactly right.
The new characters just can't replace the ones you spent so many hours with. Frankly, they're not as interesting to roam around with. As you'll be doing just as much dungeon and forest crawling as you did in the first game (25 hours worth, if the figures are to be believed) then it's a shame you'll be doing it with a bunch of people you don't like much.
But enough character assassination, Awakening is all about big lists of new stuff being added to the main game. And that's really what an expansion should be about: expanding on what came before. To this end, BioWare have crammed in more than 500 new objects, two new specialisations for each class, five more recruitable characters, loads of new skills, spells and abilities, and some useful objects that were glaring omissions from the main game, such as stamina potions.
Awakening also tells a new story -intriguing, but not Earth shattering -about the darkspawn hanging after the climax of Origins. This means you spend the first hour fighting the same enemies you did for ages in the main game: hurlocks, grenlocks, emissaries and alphas. It's only right at the end of the first chapter that you meet the new chief bad guy who's a variation on a theme: a talking darkspawn.
Once you've dealt with him, you get to start doing the cool new thing in Awakening: governing your land. As the slayer of the arch demon, you get to take over the lands of a guy you killed in the main game, with decisions about funding, trade and such making up a crude management aspect. This might sound a bit rubbish, but it's surprisingly cool to feel like your efforts in the main game didn't go unnoticed.
Don't get us wrong - Awakenings isn't as good as the main Dragon Age game, but it was never going to be. It was just going to be more of the same, done the same way, with a few cherries on top (like a supply chest to keep your excess equipment in). There's the feeling that more could have been done here, but those particular cherries are nice to have, and the wealth of new material makes this worthy purchase.