Dragon Age Origins: Awakening Review

Dragon Age Origins: Awakening is the primary DLC for BioWare’s 2009 Dragon Age Origins Game. The story continues a few weeks/months after the events of the base games ends. With the Archdemon and the blight defeated, it seems the world would be at peace, but that is far from the case. Arriving at the Grey Wardens’, the group of soldiers whose existence is solely based in the need to defeat the darkspawn armies before the hordes destroy the entirety of world, base of operation, you find it under attack by an organized group of darkspawn, a feat that was deemed impossible outside of a blight. Saving yourself and everyone else, you then have to figure out why the darkspawn are acting in the way they are, fight against the two warring factions, those serving under the Architect who simply wish to live out their existance outside of the call of the Archdemon, and those who follow The Mother, a grotesque distortion of the traditional Broodmothers, who wishes to make “The Father” pay for silencing the call of the archdemon. By defeating the two groups, the Warden-Commander, the character the player creates and controls, hopes to return peace to the land of Amaranthine, in a story designed to give the player continuous options that affect the world around them. The reoccurrence of the companion system that has become a hallmark in the series allows for the development of not only new characters to interact with, but also sets up several characters that appear in later titles, including Anders, the mage whose hatred of the militant Templars leads to the events of Dragon Age Inquisition. A story that takes simplistic good vs “flood evil” and gives the flood more humanistic tendencies designed to make the player think more about what they’re doing, rather than being a simple hack n’ slash your way to the top. The use of dialogue option quasi-cut scenes serve to further the story and character interactions, as well as give the player a greater sense of character control for their created character. The fights and scenes are accompanied by a continuation of the score from the base Origins game, that serves to not only give greater intensity to each moment, but also gives a sense of a greater urgency and scale throughout the game. Unfortunately the game does suffer from poor/lazy voice acting that does take the player out the moment on several occasions, and makes the entire experience less enjoyable, and while it did add a new enemy type and a plethora of new skills and skill trees to learn, the game never really strays from the sense of the character being over-powered and serving more as a clean-up crew, than the hero that Fereldan deserves.  The true-to-the-game gameplay, interesting story and character developments and another endgame narrative allows Awakening to serve as an entirely new addition to Origins, without sacrificing narrative, resulting in an excellent addition to my personal favorite title in the Dragon Age series.

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