by: Finn Orfano
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/18/2012
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Dragon Age: Awakening is an expansion pack for the role playing game called Dragon Age: Origins.
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Dragon Age: Origins Expansion Pack - Awakening
Fans of Dragon Age: Origins should be pleased to know that the first big expansion pack to the game is out, and it’s called Dragon Age: Awakening. This expansion retails for $39.99 and requires the original game to play. Although the price is a little steep, I think it is worth getting if you’ve already beaten the main quest in Origins.
This expansion is available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. This review is of the PC version, though I understand they are all exactly the same.
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Awakening is a completely new quest that takes place a short while after the main quest ends in Origins. When you start the game, you can either import your character over from Origins are just make a new one. What is so interesting about this series is that your imported character will also carry over the plotlines and relationships established in Origins, so it is a great continuation of the series. It just doesn’t continue every running plotline, so there’s room for plenty more expansions and sequels.
In this game, your job is try and rebuild the Gray Wardens back to their previous position of power. The reason for this is that so many Wardens were killed during the events that played out in the first game. Throughout Awakening, you travel to various locations and hook up with new people to join the Wardens, as well as your party, and help to unravel the mystery behind a strange new threat. Among them is a darkspawn who can speak. There will be another adventure in the Fade, though not as tedious as in the first game, and you will get to fight another dragon.
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What’s New in Dragon Age: Awakening
In addition to all the new maps and locations to visit, there are some new skills, talents, spells, and specializations for your characters. With your skills, you now have the option of Runecrafting where you can make your own runes to enhance weapons and armor. You also have the Vitality skill which will give you health bonuses and can be really nice for characters that tend to get hit a lot. A Clarity skill was also added to give your characters a bonus to mana or stamina, which is crucial during heated combat sessions.
As you gain levels in the game, your characters can specialize. Since you will go to a much higher level in Awakening than you did in Origins, there’s two new specializations per class. Warriors can now become a Spirit Warrior or a Guardian. Mages can be a Keeper or a Battlemage, and Rogues can be a Legionnaire Scout or a Shadow. Each specialization offers various bonuses to stats and damage or resistance.
According to the game manual, Dragon Age: Awakening has more than 500 new items for your characters. This includes weapons and armor, materials for new traps and poisons, lots of new runes, weapon enhancements, and more. There’s a bunch of new monsters you will encounter along the way, too. It didn’t take long before I had upgraded or replaced almost all my equipment from the first game.
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New Characters in Dragon Age: Awakening
Once the game gets going, you are going to have a mostly new party of characters fighting and adventuring alongside you in Dragon Age: Awakening. Although this game does continue some relationships established in Origins, you will mostly be dealing with new people. Early on in the game, Oghren will join your party, but he’s the only staple from Origins who tags along. You will also run into Allistair and Wynne as you play, but only for brief cameos and they don’t join your party. Forget about seeing what became of Morrigan, too.
In my own party, I am using two new characters to great effect. One is named Anders, and he’s a mage who is also sort of a fugitive. He’s got a funny personality, but is also a powerful spellcaster. Early on in the game, you will find a cat in a village. Pick it up, then gift it to Anders. Doing so will boost his approval by 17 or so points, plus the cat will turn into a special item. Another character you pick up is Nathanial Howe, who happens to be the son of Arl Howe. I am using Nathaniel as an archer. One thing I found in my inventory was the Howe Family Bow, which shows as a gift item. If you gift it to Nathaniel, it will boost his approval by 17 or so points, and then he will use it as a very powerful weapon. Just keep these in mind if you play with these characters.
As for my main character, I decided to import my rogue from Origins. I have found playing as a rogue to be quite a lot of fun, and their abilities and powers make them more formidable in combat than a warrior. My rogue has so many points in dexterity that he hardly ever gets hit, as opposed to my warrior who is loaded down with the best armor and still almost dies in every battle. Of the three classes available in the Dragon Age game, I still think that rogues are the best. It just takes a little more effort to play them because you have to use their special abilities in combat instead of just straight fighting.
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Is Dragon Age: Awakening Worth Buying?
If you were a big fan of Dragon Age: Origins, then you’ll probably want more content after completing that game, and this is where Dragon Age: Awakening comes in. I think the price is too high for what you get, considering that this expansion costs nearly as much as Origins, but only has half as much content. If you are still playing through Origins, just wait until you complete the game before you buy Awakening. This expansion pack was meant to be played after you finish Origins, anyway.
If you do buy this expansion back, be sure to check out our Dragon Age: Awakening Walkthrough in case you need any help getting through some of the tougher quests in the game.