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Review – Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening | Level Up News

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Review – Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening



Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare Edmonton
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: RPG

ESRB Content Descriptors: Blood, Intense Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content

The Scoop: The expansion pack for 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins adds more content and additional game play. (Note: this review is for the Xbox 360 version, but the expansion is available for PC and PS3, as well.)

The Setup: Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening picks up a few months after the end of Dragon Age: Origins. Even though the Blight has ended, darkspawn are running rampant in Amaranthine. As the Warden Commander (either a new Grey Warden PC or the player’s imported Dragon Age: Origins PC), it’s the player’s job to drive out the darkspawn, take back Amaranthine, and build a new Grey Warden headquarters at Vigil’s Keep.

What’s Hot: Not much. I like that you can import a character or make a new one. (I chose to import my Female Human Rogue.) Some weapons and armor from the base game also carry over, but not everything in your inventory. There are new weapons and armors that are made from stronger and more efficient materials like High Dragon and Dragonbone. (Trust me, you won’t miss the old stuff once you see the stats on the new stuff.)

New skills, talents, class specializations, and a raised level cap of 35 add more development opportunities for your character. I played as a Rogue mostly, and really enjoyed some of the new archer skills. (Arrow Rain FTW!) Graphics also seem cleaner and sharper compared to the base game, but the small font size is still back, making it difficult to read sometimes.

Ser Pounce-A-Lot is a lifesaver, especially at the end boss, and thank you, thank you, thank you for making him an in-game item with unlimited uses. Bless you, BioWare.

What’s Not: This is like the weird ice cream you get at Japanese restaurants to cleanse your palate and keep you interested until the next course. It’s not a sequel; it’s just another mission that happens after the main story of Dragon Age: Origins. It’s less of a “This is awesome!” and more of a “Here’s something else you can do while you wait for the sequel”.

BioWare games are known for having strong, dynamic characters, but I’m really not a fan of the new party members. There hasn’t been anyone I’ve encountered that I’ve really liked, and I’ve found myself missing the base game characters. I miss Morrigan constantly making fun of Alistair, Leliana teasing Sten, and Zevran hitting on anything with a pulse. My party now consists of my mortal enemy’s son, a zombie, and an annoying “Alistair Wannabe” Mage with a cat fetish*. It’s sad, and even though this is just an expansion, this is the first BioWare title with NPCs I could care less about. At least Oghren’s back!

Something else that bothered me about the expansion is it doesn’t seem to concern itself with any choices that I made when I played the base game. This is a bit of a disappointment, especially given Mass Effect 2’s seamless continuation of the first Mass Effect. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is an expansion, not a sequel, but regardless, an expansion should know exactly what you did so it can enhance the game and add to the overall story. In Mass Effect 2, two whole years passed by and everyone remembered everything Commander Shepard had done. Yet in Dragon Age: Origin – Awakening, no one seems to care. (Maybe word travels really, really slow in Ferelden?) The game did know that Alistair was king, and Alistair knew he’d married my character, but why didn’t anyone else I encountered know? (And why does the annoying Mage keep hitting on me? I’m QUEEN, people! Did you miss the memo?)

Final Verdict: Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is okay. If you were a fan of Dragon Age: Origins, you’ll enjoy the expansion and what it has to offer. Otherwise, the expansion doesn’t really add anything significant to the overall story that you can’t be quickly brought up-to-speed on in time for the rumored February 2011 sequel.

*However, if Mr. Wiggums, the kitty-turned-rage-demon, would like to be an NPC, I’m all for it.

Review - Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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About the author

Ever since her father introduced her to arcades at age four, Jennifer has been a gamer. Known around the office as the walking Star Wars encyclopedia, her favorite games include Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Metal Gear Solid, and Mass Effect. Follow her on Twitter! @jennifervolpe



  1. Why do developers choose those small fonts? I could not play the frist Mass Effect game until I purchased a HDTV and was able to read the mission log.

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  2. JimJimBOOOM says:

    couldnt agree with you more Kevin! I couldn’t read any text in Halo 3 until I purchased an HD TV for my console. Go from reading blah blah blah to the actual story.

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  3. Jennifer Volpe says:

    I had trouble with the font size and map readout with first Mass Effect on my old television, as well. It wasn’t until I played Mass Effect on my parent’s 50 inch HDTV that I went, “Ohhh, that’s what it says! And look, those’re symbols on the map, not dots!”

    I’ve since bought a 32 inch HDTV, but still, it can be difficult to read sometimes. But with the PC version of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age, I don’t have any trouble reading the screen; it’s just the darn 360 versions!

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