Game Recollection: Dragon Age Awakening

Jagger has done it again. The world had been saved an immanent end due to Darkspawn by the mighty strength of his bow and fellow heroes. As you may recall from my previous Dragon Age campaign I was pretty impressed with the overall game-play of the original offering from EA/Bioware. Since that time, they released and expansion pack called Awakening which I received for Christmas. I did hit a slight self-inflicted glitch trying to install this version. When I played (and completed) Origins, my main gaming machine was still at Windows XP. Since that time, I have upgraded to Windows 7 meaning my previous install and all the settings and achievements were lost. Luckily, I always make a ghost image before doing any major work on my machine. Since this was an expansion pack, I needed to load up the original game first. Once that was done, I simply mounted the old drive with a USB enclosure, located the game configurations in the documents directory and copied on top of the new install’s setting directory. Once that was done, I loaded up the expansion pack and sure enough, it had all my character settings and progress restored correctly. Kudos to EA/Bioware for allowing this to work!  With that concern dispensed with, all that was left was to start killing darkspawn.

Hit the jump to see the rest of the screen caps from Dragon Age Awakening.

There I am in all my kickass armor and lethal weaponry.  As an archer I do not outfit the heavy armor.  I need to stay nimble and my range allows me to generally stay out of the heat of the battle.  That is just the opposite of others in my gang.  The dwarf below is pretty much the tip of the spear.  I send him in to the middle of the baddies and let them wail on his armor while I pick them off from the outside.  What do you  mean cruel?  He loves the battles and he can defend himself with those big war hammers.  By the way, the lady in the back ended up being a casualty of the campaign.  She should have thought a little more before agreeing to become a Gray Warden.

Oh, by the way, I was able to find some pretty cool high end armor for the dwarf by the end of the expansion pack.  Here he is showing off his chainmail complete with glowing red highlights.  Note, without any other references he doesn’t look like he only stands about 4 feet tall.

This was the makeup of the squad through most of the expansion pack.  The character to the right was my mage and critical to cast health spells during our battles.  If I lost him, I usually lost the battle pretty quickly.  He usually hung around in the back with me picking off the creatures attacking my warriors.  Along the way I picked up the other dwarf warrior.  She kept my main dwarf company at the tip of the spear, but tended to take a beating since she was not as skilled as the other one.

As with the first, the game was filled with its share of eye candy although it seemed toned down a tad from the first one and the clothing was slightly more conservative.

I ended up dismissing this woman pretty quickly.  She wasn’t exactly the most trustworthy of the group and since we already had a mage I figured it was not worth the risk.  There was an interesting collection of evil bosses along the way.  I missed the Werewolves from the first campaign (and their leader!) Here is one of the characters that we encountered along the way who got to meet his maker rather abruptly.

Hey Bioware, what’s up with the conservative clothing on your witch boss?  Her companions were fairly interesting but proved to be no match for our skills and special powers.

Now this dude was pretty interesting.  Although he looks pretty creepy and worthy of a run through with my blade, he ended up being vital to our success.  I won’t give away any secrets, but be careful about the decisions you make during the dialog sequences.

Another shot of the Darkspawn leader.  I think the graphic artists responsible for this character watched a little too much Land of the Lost growing up (think Sleestaks).

Now time to comment on the arch nemesis of this campaign.  As the campaign progresses, you learn about the “Mother” who is apparently leading the darkspawn’s emergence into the world.   The three boobed character in Total Recall has NOTHING on this creature.  How about 4 times the amount of nurturing capabilities!  It does appear age is starting to catch up to her and this just might be a good time to look into Botox.

or possibly a putty knife and a whole bunch of foundation.  If you are a fan of the Blade series, you might notice something familiar in her face.  Let me give you a slight hint.  It is very symmetrical and implies a parting of sorts.  Give up?  Check the next image.

Does this look familiar to you (or at least to the Blade series watchers)?  I don’t think she appreciated my gang disturbing her nest.  This one is going to take some time boys, prepare to use all your spare health potions.

This battle took me a couple of restarts to get through.  Even with all the special character capabilities I’d gathered from both campaigns and all the upgraded armor everyone was wearing wasn’t enough to take the mother and all her spawn head on.  I do not want to spoil the fun for you, but think about being a little more selective on how you attack all the creatures in this nest area.  There also might be some spells and such that will work to keep the mother busy while you dispense with some lower creatures.

After a lengthy battle, it was time to finish this mammary fantasy off.  Just look at that fearless leap right into the face of absolute evil. Time to bury my sting deep into the soul of death and rid the world of this oppressive evil.

The sword finds it’s home.  Buried almost to the hilt, the blade begins to drain the life out of the creature allowing us to stand back and watch our handiwork.

and there she died along with her plans for world domination.  All in all the expansion pack was not that bad.  Definitely less time invested with this expansion pack than the first release.  Admittedly there was one point where it said I had completed all the main tasks and I was left to wander all over the place looking for something to do.  This went on for a couple of days to the point I was just about ready to give up, but I looked back at the journal and noticed there was a backstory with another Warden.  In desperation I went to a specific area in the world which resulted in a cut scene that triggered the rest of the story.  It is probably my fault for not paying close attention to the storyline, but if it has an essential step to completing the campaign they should have put it on the main storyline.  The game did crash 3 times but l did not lose that much progress as it generally occurred right after a cut scene or after a personal save.  I also noticed something they left off of the expansion pack that was in the original version.  After the first campaign, the game told me how many hours I had consumed playing it and what percentage I had made it through (cannot remember the details from that but something like 60 hours and 85% coverage).  This version did not give me any of those statistics which was disappointing (although probably better that I do not know).

The good news is Dragon Age 2 is due out in a couple of months.

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