Dragon Age: Awakening Review Bundle
Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom
on Wed 17 March 2010, 11:22:35
; Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Awakening has been released and some reviews naturally surfaced.
Gameinformer doesn't feel compelled to give more than 7.5/10.
All of the features where Awakening could have built on the Dragon Age foundation are sidelined, like the team at BioWare knew where to expand but didn’t have the time to flesh them out. Building up your base at Vigil’s Keep is just a handful of simple upgrades. Governing the region is handled in a single sequence where you mete out justice. Unraveling a conspiracy against your rule is a brief sidequest. Maybe a 15-hour adventure isn’t enough to time to dig into these concepts, but they feel pretty hollow and unsatisfying as implemented.
Videogamer scores it 8/10.
Awakening, then, is undoubtedly good value. So, it's good, then, right? Well, like a tortuous break up, it's more complicated than that. Awakening is more of the same. It does nothing to right any of Origins' wrongs, nor does it seek to improve upon what worked. In some areas, it's even slightly worse.
That's right, the darkspawn are back. The Blight was defeated, but stragglers remain, and they're setting up shop in the northeast, terrorising everyone and anyone silly enough to invade their personal space. But this time something's different. This time, the darkspawn are capable of more than the mindless slaughtering of farmers and townsfolk. This time, they're talking to each other, guided by a new, mysterious being called The Architect who likes philosophical discussion and post-modernist debate (that last bit's another lie). As the new warden-commander of Ferelden, the responsibility falls to you to clear the darkspawn out, and unravel the mystery behind these new intelligent beasties.
IGN rates it 8.5/10.
So where does Awakening miss out? Well, a couple of places come to mind. First, after the wealth of story connections between Mass Effect 1 and 2, Awakening doesn't really feel quite as connected to your choices in Origins. Did you side with the Templars over the Circle? What happened during the Landsmeet? Did you get it on with Leliana? None of it ties together quite as strongly as I expected it to in Awakening. Even if you finished the original game with no expectation that your character could continue on in the expansion, you're brought back into the story with a strange sleight of hand. There's an equally strange hocus-pocus act with the character refocus option, which lets you rebuild your character from scratch. For a game that builds so much substance into your decisions and growth, having clumsy systems that let you erase the past is a real mood killer.
And finally 1UP gives a B+.
This expansion does follow the BioWare formula, so you're given a handful of regions and a directive to take care of them however you want. Quests range from more imaginative than in Origins (investigating a literal ghost town) to the expected (go underground and clear out the darkspawn). In-between story-critical quests, you're often asked to deal with political matters back at the fortress, such as making, "who is right/wrong" judgments and resolving genuine dilemmas (will you allocate troops to the farms, or to the city?). Finally, there are numerous sidequests: puzzles to solve within dungeons, helping a party member deal with family issues, or taking on a spectral dragon. As good as these quests are, they also fall victim to the glitchiness from having a big game with so many moving parts within; I've had quest triggers either fail to initialize (meaning I couldn't progress), or trigger incorrectly (in one instance, I helped the cops rather than the criminals, but even after killing said criminals, the guards treated me as though I sided with the bandits, until I reloaded and replayed the entire quest chain).
All taken into account, it doesn't sound as if I need to buy it anytime soon.
Spotted at: RPGWatch
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