Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening (PS3)

7.33 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Mechanics: 7/10
Story: 7/10


Weak Story, Visual Bugs

Game Info

GAME NAME: Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening

DEVELOPER(S): Bioware, Edmonton

PUBLISHER(S): Electronic Arts

PLATFORM(S): Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, XBox 360, Mac OS X

GENRE(S): Roleplaying

RELEASE DATE(S): March 16, 2010


Not long after the release of its smash RPG hit, Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware is at it again with the first full expansion for the Dragon Age world, Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. And I will admit that I had this title on pre-order long before it came out. I loved my character from Origins and, even though she died in that game, I wanted to play her again. That was where things went a little wonky. Or at least they started to. But I’ll get to that presently and hopefully that will explain my mixed feelings about this expansion.

The basic idea behind the expansion is that you play either a new Grey Warden commander from Orlais in charge of mopping up the remaining darkspawn (who somehow have not returned to the darkroads) or you can import your character from the original game to be the commander. On the face of it, it seems plausible. Except for the fact that your character in the original game has a 50-50 chance of dying at the end – your choice of course. My character from the first game did indeed sacrifice herself to slay the arch-demon; but now, inexplicably, she comes back from the dead for the expansion. This little unexplained plot twist really didn’t sit well with me. There was no explanation or set up for it. Throw in the talking darkspawn and the plot for this expansion starts out rather watered down.

The combat, however, is just as good as it was before, and there were no major changes to the game’s mechanics. New class specializations have been added for all four classes and the Runecrafting skill has been added so that you can create your own runes. This new skill is interesting, but, due to the way that it is set up, I spent too much time making space in my backpack and creating slews of lower tier runes to use to make the higher tier ones. The party members are formidable and worked well with my main character – a sword and shield guardian. Fighting through hordes of darkspawn at such a high level was very rewarding – but, on the Playstation 3, I never felt like I had enough skill slots mapped to my controller buttons. Maybe this isn’t an issue on the PC, and I’d really like to know if it isn’t.

Again, the sound and graphics on the Playstation 3 were top-notch. The one place where I was distracted by the graphics was at the beginning of the expansion where my main character – who was wearing the custom downloadable Blood Dragon Armor – imported into the expansion naked. The Blood Dragon Armor didn’t come through – though my character didn’t seem to take damage like she was naked. It was very odd and puzzling. Too, near the end of the opening sequence, just after the keep was cleared, my character’s arms locked into some kind of Barbie doll position and would not move. So, I finished out the whole opening set up with my character naked and her arms sticking out in front of her like a forklift. I was not a big fan of that, but it all seemed to clear up after I finished that opening sequence and I was allowed to move about freely.

So, like I said at the beginning, I have mixed feelings about this expansion. The combat was every bit as good as in the original, but being plagued by bugs early on left a bad taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun and I played the whole expansion through to the end; but I just can’t escape being distracted by the somewhat weak story and the visual bugs. If it hadn’t been for the bugs, I’d give Awakening a solid 8.5 out of 10; but with the bugs, I don’t think I can go any higher than 7.33 out of 10. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has had similar issues and I wonder if I will get the same bugs with different characters. At any rate, if you really liked Dragon Age Origins, then you will definitely like Awakening – even with the bugs and weak plot. If you didn’t like DAO, then I’d take a pass on this expansion.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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