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    dkirschner's Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (PC)

    [December 20, 2014 07:50:16 AM]
    Alright, expansion pack! This will also cover the four official DLCs. I actually started a couple weeks ago but never made a new log until yesterday. I decided to create a new rogue character instead of importing David the mage from the original campaign. I'm glad I had the opportunity to try out different types of characters. I had a rogue in Origins, but I didn't spec it into any stealth skills, so I did that here. But the stealth rogue was kind of lame. Stealth didn't add much to the experience. It's hard to be stealthy when the rest of your party isn't. I'd tell them to wait, then go into a room full of enemies alone...then realize there wasn't much I could do. I'd toss a bomb or lay a trap, or sometimes just backstab an enemy, fade into the shadows, and call my party in. Not all that effective. But, still cool to sneak around. Oh, and there were hardly any locked chests! There were a ton in Origins, but relatively few in Awakening. Plus, out of like 7 characters, 3 of them were rogues! In addition to me, you get a dual wielding rogue and an archer rogue. It was rogue overload!

    There was no tanky character until late in the game (in the order that I did the objectives at least), so I was running around with the dual wielding rogue in heavy armor. She survived pretty well. My rogue had stealth and lots of evasion tactics, so he survived pretty well. You get Oghrun again, a 2-hand weapon wielding warrior. He had great armor, so he survived pretty well. It was interesting playing without a tank because normally, I'd set each character to attack the tank's target, ensuring that enemies attack the tank and other party members wouldn't pull aggro. But without a tank, I set them all in a free-for-all. Every fight, they just spread out and took on enemies themselves. My fourth character was a healer, and she managed to keep them up. But when that tank character came along near the end, I defaulted to my usual party makeup.

    How was Awakening? I liked it. These smaller campaigns are so much more focused than Origins. Origins was a long game with tons of side quests, overly long areas (Deep Roads, Fade, I'm looking at you) and inventory management. Awakening packed the same punch, but condensed. The main drawback was the keep-building element. You are tasked with fortifying Vigil's Keep, the city of Amaranthine, and the surrounding farmland, to prevent the Darkspawn from sacking it all. You have to go gather materials, recruit traders, and pay money so that Vigil's Keep will have strong walls, the army will be well outfitted, the nobles will be pacified, and so on. I thought this would be like that one Neverwinter Nights expansion pack where all of your decisions really matter, where you get to actually manage the keep, see the walls being build, allocate soldiers here and there. But unfortunately there was no real management. The facade of meaningful actions was very disappointing. Why did I bother spending money on walls or finding ore to improve the army's armor? It didn't matter.

    Despite that letdown, the story was cool, characters were good as usual, and I especially liked the bad guys. They developed a great plot thread that explained more about the Darkspawn, why they seek out the Old Gods, and how some Darkspawn may prevent that. The sentient Darkspawn idea felt silly at first (they're...SMARTER!), but it went in a cool direction. There was a nasty bug I encountered that caused my main character to lose all his equipment. Watch when you go in the mines. I didn't realize I should have gotten my stuff back til the end of that area, and by then I had been down there for like two hours. I had more equipment in storage, so I just used that. Not as good, but it worked. I can imagine though some players being wrecked by this bug.

    As for the 4 DLCs, I first played Leliana's story, which explores her back story with...whatever her lover/companion's name is back in Orlais. That was my favorite because I really liked Leliana. The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC was interesting. You re-play the end of Origins as a Darkspawn commander trying to repel the Grey Wardens and save the Old God. I didn't like playing it much though. Being a Darkspawn wasn't any different than being a Grey Warden as far as gameplay went. Ok, you can enthrall other Darkspawn, but that's pretty much like recruiting a new party member or summoning a spider. There was no important narrative element to this.

    I did those two before Awakening. After Awakening, I played Golems of Amgarrak. This was the hardest of the 4. I had imported my rogue, but upon having another melee companion as my first, I switched and imported my healer. You wind up with a cool Runic Golem in your party that also heals and does golem-y things like hurl boulders. This DLC had a neat puzzle element with different colored switches that phased objects and enemies in and out depending on what color you activated. You could also mix colors, so by activating blue and red switches, you phased into the purple realm. Finally, Witch Hunt brings Morrigan back and seemed to provide some hints for another Dragon Age game, maybe Dragon Age II. My favorite parts about that one were talking to Morrigan again and creating a battlemage character with badass control spells. Crushing prison, paralyze, mass paralyze, miasma...these spells are fun. Also the battle mage was cool because he could stand back and cast spells or wade into the fray with various armor spells, one that repulsed nearby enemies, one that debilitated nearby enemies, spells that drained life and mana, animated dead...all kinds of cool things. And there was one spell that made the battlemage's spellpower modify weapon damage instead of strength. I simply pumped every point into magic. I had like 80 magic. The battlemage's sword was deadly!

    OH, and I forgot to mention one other funny thing. In the last DLC I played, I learned can expand the hotkey bar. WHAT?! I played the entirety of this game being like "Man, I wish I could have two hotkey bars or expand it somehow." Literally with 30 minutes left out of the 90 hours I spent on this game, I figured out how to do it. Haha. It sure was useful for those 30 minutes.

    Anyway. Dragon Age: Origins is officially and fully complete. I feel accomplished. Excellent game, highly recommended if you like RPGs. Dragon Age II is downloaded and ready to go, though I'll likely wait a bit. I feel like some console games under a blanket with the heater on. Winter is good for that.
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    dkirschner's Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 8 December, 2014

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 20 December, 2014

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Still very cool. More focused than DA:O. Liked playing different characters.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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