Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is an expansion pack for Dragon Age: Originsthat follows on from the events in the first game, placing the player in the role of a Grey Warden seeking to rebuild the Warden order while also dealing with responsibilities of being the Arl of Amaranthine. The player can either decide to import their character from the original or, if one is new to the game, create a new lead character, which allows the game to either function as a stand-alone title or add-on.
However, being an expansion pack, Awakeningis definitely designed for players of the original game, and players thirsty for more action and story from the Dragon Ageuniverse will not be disappointed. The game essentially functions as an extra 10-15 hours of the first game, and is presented and handled in a similar manner. Those experienced with the universe should feel right at home, with Awakeningallowing them to explore the new area of Amaranthine and uncover more of the secrets of the Darkspawn and their origins.
As a newcomer to Dragon Age, I would not recommend picking up this title before playing the first game. It feels a little strange and hollow walking into a story and role where so much has already happened. With little introduction you are thrown into events largely without context, something that dilutes the experience of a game that feels like it could be incredibly epic and engrossing if only you’d been there from the start. The controls and inventory systems, while intuitive and well set out for experienced hands, are difficult to get used to right away. There are no tutorials available, and the control scheme is understandably set up for someone who has been playing the game for a while. This makes it even harder for new players to get into a game that already feels like it is made for players other than themselves.
Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is a game that is intended for experienced players of the original game and should largely be avoided by players who have not yet experienced the first chapter in this series. However, for its intended audience, Awakeningserves as a tasty and well-tweaked morsel that should sate their Dragon Age hunger until the next expansion pack and BioWare’s heavily-anticipated sequel, rumoured for February 1st, 2011.