Dragon Age Origins: Awakening is the first proper expansion pack to the hugely successful RPG from last year. There’s no doubt that Dragon Age Origins is a modern RPG classic that harkens back to the glory days of traditional RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate II and Neverwinter Nights. One of the reasons why fans kept going back to these games were the many expansion packs that were released in subsequent years. Although Bioware offered quite a few DLCs for Dragon Age Origins, none of them actually add significant content to the game. Awakening however offers a pretty decent chunk of gameplay and an all new storyline in addition to some interesting gameplay tweaks. But does it live up to the quality of the original game? Unfortunately, the answer to that isn’t as easy as a simple yes or no.

The game picks up right after the events of Dragon Age Origins. The Archdemon has been defeated, the darkspawn are retreating and you are now the new Commander of the Grey Wardens. Awakening lets you import your existing character from Dragon Age: Origins, in which case most of your equipment and decisions are carried over into the expansion. But if you do not wish to import, it also allows you to create a new level 18 character. As expected the overall experience is definitely better with an imported character than a new one. However, this is also where I encountered my first problem with Awakening. If your character had any of the downloadable armor or equipment at the end of Dragon Age: Origins, chances are, it will be lost. What’s even worse is that if your character was actually wearing said armor he or she will start the game practically in their undies. It’s actually pretty hilarious since the game starts off with a combat scenario.

I was also able to duplicate one of the supposedly unique armors because I had it on a returning party member at the end of Dragon Age Origins. But it was also in my backpack when I loaded my character into Awakening. So I ended up with two copies of an armor that was supposed to be unique according to the in-game codex, which was rather weird. Minor import issues aside, Awakening plays rather well. In fact the combat plays out better than it did in Dragon Age Origins. There are no odd difficulty spikes and you won’t be constantly punished for rushing into battles unprepared. The overall difficulty level seems relaxed when compared to the original game. The game also introduces two new specializations for each class (in addition to the existing ones) along with a handful of new talents and skills. Add to that the ones carried over from the original game and you have an impressively large number of options to customize each of your party members. By the time I was halfway through the game my quick slot bar was stretched all the way across the screen.

Publish date: April 8, 2010 12:06 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 6:13 pm

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