Binary Thoughts (Not a Review!) on Dragon Age: Origins Awakening

As many of you know, I’ve been playing the Dragon Age: Origins Awakening expansion pack for the last week…sometimes at the expense of sleep. Most Dragon Age fans will love it, but newcomers should stick to the original. While I had loads of fun playing it and enjoyed it so much that I decided to give it a second run instead of getting back to Final Fantasy XIII, it definitely had some issues. Using Augustine’s binary system, here are some thoughts (not a review!) on Dragon Age: Origins Awakening.

Good: That characters are fantastic. Oghren steals the show with some outstanding humor. I also enjoyed what Anders, Justice, Nathaniel, and Sigrun brought to the table from a storytelling perspective. The only character I didn’t care for was Velanna. She trumped Morrigan in the “angry magic bitch” department, but didn’t possess any of her sultry charm. For the most part, the writing and voice acting behind the companion characters was extremely well done.

Bad: There are no romances for you to enjoy in the game! Courting Leliana and Morrigan was so much fun in the original Dragon Age. If you’re into bisexual elf assassins or bastard nobles, you could get with Zevran or Alistair. I was extremely disappointed that there are no romances available in Awakening. Perhaps “taming” Velanna would have made her more interesting.

Good: The new specializations, skills, and talents are fun to play around with. While I didn’t think much of keeper and legionnaire scout specializations, the rest were pretty fun and useful. As for skills, being able to craft runes is pretty cool and I like that there were some quests that required rune crafting/potion making. All in all, the expansion added plenty of great ways to expand your characters. Oh yeah, the new “flicker” talent for rogues is totally boss.

Good: The “Manual of Focus” item is a godsend. At the end of Dragon Age, I was just picking skills and talents I didn’t really want because I maxed out on all the ones I needed. With a bunch of new ways to develop your character, being able to totally redo all of your specs is just awesome. It lets you correct any mistakes you made while leveling up or totally change your character’s focus. It’s perfect for players that started the game haphazardly assigning skill points and talents, but really got into the system later and regretted their leveling decisions.

Bad: From what I understand, the dagger/dexterity issue has not been fixed, even though I was told it would be when I saw the game at GDC. Thankfully, my rogues (Raymond and Keebler) are cunning based, but it’s still annoying that this longstanding problem persists.

Bad: The expansion pack is full of bugs. In my first run in Awakening, I encountered more bugs and glitches than in all five of my original DS playthroughs. Some of the bugs are pretty bad — certain quests disappearing, armor not appearing properly, etc.

Good: Sir Pounce-a-lot!

Bad: No Sandal (Enchantment!).

Good: Managing Vigil’s Keep adds a new layer to the game. Deciding on what part of the land to defend and settling domestic disputes brought something new to the DA experience. The cool part is that if you’re not into tasks like that, you can let your seneschal take care of them.

Good: There are some nice cameos by Alistair, Wynne, Herren, and Wade.

Bad: There were not enough cameos. I especially missed Leliana and Shale. It would have been nice to have seen them again.

Bad: Aside from items from the Return to Ostagar DLC, you can’t use DLC items in Awakening. That just sucks. I really wanted to import stuff like blood dragon armor, the Helm of Honnleath, etc.

Even though this expansion pack has some warts, I still loved it. While I was impressed with the originality, graphics, music, and storytelling in Heavy Rain, I enjoyed my time with Dragon Age: Origins Awakening more. If any of you are playing it or considering picking it up, I’d love to hear what you think!

Author: RPadTV

3 thoughts on “Binary Thoughts (Not a Review!) on Dragon Age: Origins Awakening”

  1. I've been playing it it spurts when I've needed a break from my freshly finished FFXIII playthrough. And yeah, taking a break from one massive RPG by playing another is akin to mental suicide, but that's how I roll. I've enjoyed it so far but I'm only a few hours into it.

  2. do you need the original game to play the expansion?

    cause i traded mine in after 2 playthroughs…:(

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