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Dragon Age Origins: Awakening Review
Posted on May 30, 2010 by Oscar Gonzalez

Dragon Age Origin is easily one of my top favorite RPG games to come out last year. Bringing together an epic storyline, dark fantasy elements and a system similar to the 20d of Dungeons & Dragons is what made it really great for me to give it a 9.0. I was really excited when Bioware announced that they were going to release several pieces of DLC to add to the content of the game; I wanted something that would increase the level cap and add more time to an already epic story. Bioware answered that call, taking a page from Bethesda and released Dragon Age Origins: Awakening. When the expansion came out back in March it was released as a digital download as well as on disk.

The story of Awakening extends past the ending of Origins. A few weeks after the event of Origins, you become the new commander of the Grey Wardens and must travel to Vigil’s Keep to assume the leadership of the order. As soon as you and your escort Mhairi arrive in the land of Amaranthine where the Keep is located, you are assaulted by Darkspawn. After recruiting more members, you eventually regain control of the Keep from the Darkspawn. At first everything seems that all is back in order, but this assault was only the beginning as you are now in charge of replenishing the Wardens' dwindling numbers and find out why the Darkspawn have not disappeared despite the events of Origins. The story is a bit straight forward and to the point than the main Origins game, and might look like a half-assed attempted to make a sequel with without actually having to make a sequel. I just see it as just an extension to another wise epic story.

Awakening remains fairly the same as Origins. Combat, magic casting and switching between party members remains the same. Although most of the mechanics haven’t changed there have been new additions to the game play. When the game starts up, it will ask if you have a Dragob Age Origins character that you want to transfer over. With this, you can start off right away with the character you have. If no character save is detected, the game will prompt you to go ahead and create a new character starting at level 20. The level cap has been raised from 20 to 30. New spells and abilities have been added to each race and class. as well as the ability to craft and create armor and weapons for the Grey Wardens. This is done by gathering materials and bringing them to the blacksmiths, and the more materials gathered the better quality and stronger weapons and armor the smiths will be able to create.

The presentation in Awakening is similar, if not the same as Origins. The only differences are the new location which happens to be further north of the original location. The witty and often comedic banter between party members’ returns as well as some of the problems that I mention that were in Origins. One of the main issues I had with the original game was the level of darkness and was fixed to an extent. Other than that the new enemies and weapon/armor models look even better than the first.

Awakening, just like Origins has no online play. Replay value is a bit slim since this is an expansion to the original game. There is however over thirteen hours worth of new quests ranging from the main tasks to the new personal quests that each party member has. This is expansion is pretty short and offers little if played as a standalone experience, but if you do have a previous save file from Origins this pack adds in just enough to expand the world of Dragon Age.

Dragon Age had me really get in touch with my inner D&D, and the Awakening expansion pack just furthers it. Being able to level up higher, finding and using rare and powerful equipment, and fighting the Darkspawn, this expansion pack adds to the fun. The over-13 hours of new gameplay may sound short but it is just enough to add on to the experience. Now I highly recommend that you play through Origins first, since transferring an already made character is much easier, and will be able to jump right into the action. Playing the expansion from the first game will truly give a great Dragon Age experience.

- Mike V.

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) | all author's articles

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