Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dragon Age: Awakening in 100 Words or Less

By Kirk Hamilton

Short Version: Rejoice! It's more Dragon Age!

Slightly Longer Version: The story does suffer from "Expansion Pack Syndrome," since it's tacked on by definition, and some characters are carbon copies of characters from Origins. But the writing is still strong, the choices still agonizing. The graphics still fairly jank.

It's easier than Origins, too; combat difficulty has significantly fewer spikes, and you'll lay waste to most enemies on normal difficulty. Myriad other issues have been addressed - hooray for stamina potions, runecrafting, sweet new gear, and badass new rogue abilities.

Here's hoping BioWare's planning something similar for Mass Effect 2.


Tim Mackie said...

I'm a little disappointed by the lower difficulty. I'm playing through the main game now and loving the fact that I can't breeze through every fight on normal, despite the frustration that arises when I run low on poultices and don't have Wynne around.

But I've got a lot of the main game left to play, and at that price, I don't think I'm going to be getting that expansion anytime soon.

Jay said...

Tim, I'm with you. I finished the game long ago, and this doesn't exactly make me want to jump back into the ring. I enjoyed the initial campaign so much that I'd just assume start a new one with a different character class and origin story rather than shell out another 40 bones for an expansion. And there are what, like, SEVEN different origins to play through? One down, six to go I guess.

The ONLY detail that has my broadsword at attention is the new Rogue abilities. My first/only play-through was with a Rogue and I LOVED the combat. Carrying over this character to Awakening, and picking up some sweet new moves in the process, does sound pretty damn intriguing.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Yeah, if you're not hungry for more Dragon Age, then Awakening probably isn't the thing. And there was so much to the original game that it's hard to justify getting it.

The fixes and tweaks do make the combat much more enjoyable on 360, though - I'm finally able to play on "hard" without getting hosed. It's a really great challenge, and consistent. And yeah, those new rogue abilities (coupled with the ability to finally replenish your stamina via a potion mid-combat) really change the landscape in a good way. There's some rad shit there, you can find the abilities listed online - super-speed backstabs and in-combat cloaking...

It would be sweet if you could redraw a character in the original game with those abilities and potions available.

But it's just shy of indispensable, and doesn't feel as essential or epic, fiction-wise, IMO. I bet it'll go on sale in six months or something, too.

Jay said...

Heads up, the EA online store is currently doing a $20 off sale for any game $39.95 and over. You can get Awakenings for ~$21 (after tax & shipping) if you use promo code: PAXEAST842

That price was good enough to knock me off the fence. It also works for pre-orders, like Skate 3 which drops next month.