Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Certain things should not be rushed27 Mar. 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Dragon Age: Origins is a fantastic RPG with a fresh, challenging, vibrant new world to journey in. With that said... Awakenings is more glorified DLC (with flaws) than an a quality expansion.
The story, perhaps understandably, is rather direct. For the type of game this is, it fits. This is pretty much hack 'n' slash with some dialogue thrown in. The whole interpersonal aspect of the original is mostly gone. My wife misses the tales and long nights with Alistair & Zevron; I tend to run around just killing things; but I miss the choice of interacting with NPCs. It lacks ambience, but again, that owes a bit more to flavor of Origins than a failing of Awakenings. Some nice things are thrown in, like runes and very sweet weapons. Graphics, although not earth shattering, are very alluring.
What does fail about awakenings is the lack of difficulty. I brought in a level 25 character (level 35 cap is a joke) and ran around with my 3 NPCs almost naked (Velanna smacks a mean punch) on nightmare and tore through grunts & bosses. The boss battles lasted literally under two minutes each. The frame drops and slowness during battles & using stealth is discouraging. Also, some of the quests are insanely short. And the ending (and one of the main quests) is as anti-climatic of any ending in any book, movie or game I have come across. Ever.
Overall, it is an enjoyable, low difficulty hack 'n' slash; but not close to memorable. With such high standards in Origins, this seems rushed, done for profit and amateurish in a sense. Like Bioware let relatively promising interns take over the project while they work on DA2. All the best.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Acceptable for the Dragon Age Lover18 Mar. 2010
J. C. Myers
- Published on Amazon.com
I have to say enjoyed this expansion and personally feel it was worth the money. I am a self-professed Dragon Age obsessee. The new spells and abilities are fun to play around with, and I like the new characters.
I imported my old character (a female human noble) and was happy to see Alistair's reaction to her, as she married him at the end of DA:O. Seeing old characters again was also fun, and I love the one they chose to return as a companion/follower.
Also, since I didn't have her equipped with anything from the DLC, she had all of her armor and everything, including some odds and ends she'd still had in her inventory I hadn't bothered to sell before the final battle. [I've read that armor loss is a problem for those with DLC armor equipped at the end of the game, but I am hopeful there will eventually be a free patch for this.]
However, I do have a few tiny issues. You can't talk to your companions to have actual dialogues with them, just a pop-up sentence or two when you select them, and your returning companion loses all of his affection for you so you have to win it all over again.
And...the new spells and abilities weren't terribly useful to me. They're great. I mean, who doesn't want to raise the dead? But I could do just as well in the battles, it seems, without them and just using the ability boosts. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade them, but I am slightly disappointed.
I love Dragon Age, and for me, this expansion was worth the money. I don't know that every Dragon Age player would agree, however. It isn't an epic adventure, being only an expansion, and it doesn't cost much less than the original.
I can recommend it for those who really love the game and want more of it, in any form. If that isn't you, I think you should look into this expansion before buying it, particularly if you don't have $40 to burn.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Doesn't even feel like Dragon Age: Origins.29 Mar. 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I bought this game for the PS3. I love Dragon Age: Origins and was insanely excited to get my hands on this expansion. My husband and I played Origins together, made several characters, and have gone through the story half a dozen times over the past few months. We got tired of this expansion in one weekend. The expansion just feels rushed and incomplete, and it doesn't fit well with Origins for me. It doesn't feel at all like the same game that I loved.
The storyline here seems to be more linear than in the original Origins, but it's also more vague. I wasn't sure what exactly was going on half the time that I was playing, and just seemed to be rushing aimlessly from one dot on the map to another.
Also, the game seems to have a lot of glitches. I lost interest pretty quickly during one of the first main quests when everyone in town got angry at my character for "choosing the other side," when I hadn't even done anything yet. The entire quest just glitched and I couldn't do anything in the town after that.
Another favorite glitch would be clicking on an item that I want to pick up, suddenly having a party member try to talk to me instead, and then the game blacks out and my character winds up on a part of the map that isn't even accessible (such as behind a cliff, enveloped in blackness, or stuck in the middle of a swamp).
In Origins, I really felt like my characters were defining themselves, growing in their own unique way, and forming unique relationships based on their choices. In Awakening, I feel like my character is wandering aimlessly, easily hacking and slashing down weak enemies, and it's all pointless and linear.
I loved talking to party members, having conversations, and giving out gifts in Origins. In this game, you can still talk to the party members at certain times and can still give them gifts, but I find myself wondering what the point even is. The whole thing just seems more shallow. Even with my imported characters, I found myself unable to care about the characters on the screen, and they seemed so boring and unfamiliar.
All in all, this game is an incredible disappointment. I loved Origins, but this one doesn't have anywhere near the charm of Origins. I kept hoping that I'd get more into the game, but I found myself bored for the most part, and then frustrated whenever it glitched. It's a huge disappointment. I'm returning my copy...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A dud by any other name...26 Aug. 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
...would have been called a "dud," but stick "Dragon Age" in front of it, and people will like it.
At least that's what I thought before reading the reviews here. Critical response (at least that which I read) to this expansion was generally positive, and so after a few months and a long-awaited price drop, I decided to try this out. I wish I had read the reviews here first.
As it turns out, this is a weak and seemingly-hurried affair. Even for $25, it's not worth it (the quest is around 15 hours long the first time through with no guide, but significantly less after that).
Strangely, despite the fact that I can't find much good with the title, I still give it two stars. The fact is, the "Dragon Age" universe is interesting enough that even poorly-constructed storylines such as this still manage to hold a modicum of fascination. I will confess that I was interested more in the subtle differences in scenes depending on the character I imported than with anything that the story gave to me, but even THIS had problems. So anyway,
THE GOOD: 1) It's Dragon Age. You get to see another part of Ferelden. Sure, it looks like every other part of Ferelden you saw before, but it's something. I guess. Honestly, the coolest thing about the game was getting the armor and weapons that Master Wade created. The sword even gets its own ending sequence.
THE BAD: 1) What a glitch-filled mess. I have no idea if the downloaded version is better, but this version is just pathetic, technically speaking. First, you have to accept a patch to play it. For even, even though I had a LATER patch, the game (when played online) still prompted me to take the earlier patch. What a joke.
Hilariously, if you are using armor from other DLC, when starting up "Awakenings," you'll be in...your underwear. That's right - "Awakenings" doesn't like your earlier DLC. It's hilarious to see your hero of Ferelden in little more than a birthday suit to start his second quest.
In addition, many of your codex entries will be deleted. The game still seems to recognize that you have them, but you can't read them in "Awakenings" (the biggest offenders are the "quest-related" entries from the original "DA:O"). There are other glitches - lots of them, in fact, but you get the picture. More of the same from Bioware. <cue eyeroll>
2) One of the great things about this game should have been the ability to import previous characters. Unfortunately, this is screwed up as well. The manual clearly states that you can import dead characters and they will be alive. That's an...odd design decision (particularly given Bioware's stance on their "Mass Effect" franchise), but whatever.
What is even stranger is that many of the decisions you've made won't even register in the new expansion. For example, I imported a rogue who allied with Loghain and sided with Anora in "DA:O". Yet, who came to greet me in "Awakenings"? King Alistair, of course. When last I left Alistair, he was presumed to be a derelict living out his remaining days in drunken misery. Apparently, he's now king. Good one.
3) Who thought up this ridiculous story? It literally makes my head hurt. In what world would the Grey Wardens even CONSIDER teaming up with the Darkspawn? This crap is weak for a JRPG, for crying out loud. I don't really want to say more, for fear of spoiling the story, but honestly, you WANT to have this nonsense spoiled. Trust me.
It's always a bad idea to ask for someone to overact insanity, but whoever does the voice for "The Mother" (very original) really takes this to the nth degree. The Architect is slightly better, but enough of the calm tactician. These are Darkspawn, people.
Anyway, that's it. I suppose any of the bad comments could double for ugly comments as well, but long story short, this might be worth $10 later on. More than that, and it just fails to satisfy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Missed Opportunity17 May 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Like many who thoroughly enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins, I was very excited when I heard that Bioware was releasing an expansion pack, and pre-ordered it along with a strategy guide. I think many would agree with me when I say that Bioware needed to give this one more time in development. In terms of glitches, I almost wasn't able to get the game to play at all--took FOREVER to load; I had to restart my system a few times. Also, there were instances when my character's arms froze in a "hands up" position and remained that way unless I reloaded the game. Other times, everything would freeze, and again, the only solution was reloading. As for importing DLC, I had none to bring in, so I can't comment on that. The gameplay was okay, but it felt too linear, and the emphasis was more on hack-and-slash rather than outwitting your opponents. The side quests were trivial and rarely did much to help your cause. The new specializations, abilities and items were nice, but did not make up for the disappointing storyline and characters. One of the things which Bioware's Mass Effect was known for was the carry-over of your actions into its expansion pack. I hardly saw any of that in Awakening. Aside from the major decisions made in Origins (i.e., who was left to rule Ferelden, whether you saved the Circle Tower), many of your actions in Origins are entirely ignored. Even if you are royalty, the fact is treated an an afterthought. I imported a human noble female who had become Alistair's queen in Origins, and was referred to as "Warden Commander" for the duration of the game and given no special treatment. At a minimum, you would think a royal character would at least have a few top-notch weapons and some extra security forces. Apparently, the "dark ritual" ending with Morrigan seems to be cannon based upon the fact that you have the option of importing a deceased character. Even if it is not, if you did opt for it, what became of Morrigan is not revealed (no mention of her is made during the game). In the origin story of my imported character, Anora was deposed and imprisoned in the tower, but what happened to her afterward is not mentioned in Awakening, either (frankly, she could have made a better antagonist than the actual ones, but I digress). There is no romance in Awakening (unless you count a good-bye kiss from Alistair at the beginning of the game if you imported a character that married him), whether you begin a new origin story or import a character from Origins. So the pleasure of fighting alongside your love (or finding a new one) is absent. The Joining ritual has been trivialized this time around; even though one minor character dies, its gravity has been diminished by virtue of the fact that so many can survive it during the game without incident. The game is brief and the story itself slow: it doesn't take long to complete the game itself, and just when the pace of events begins to pick up, you find yourself on a direct path to the final battle. I found the new characters to be, for the most part disappointing. My companion characters from Origins had their own unique personalities, depth, individual hopes and dreams, and I found myself sympathizing with and willing to do anything for them (well, not Oghren). The Origins characters gave the player a real sense of camaraderie. When asked to describe those from Awakening, words such as "bland", "generic", "filler" and "pedestrian" are all applicable. Anders occasionally has his moments and Nathaniel Howe provides at least some connection to Origins, particularly if you imported a human noble character. Sadly, the only companion who returns from Origins to join your party is Oghren. This time around, he's even more of a detestable drunken reprobate than before. Of all the original characters to bring back, Bioware had to give us the worst one! I HATED OGHREN!!! Most everyone I know who played Origins hated him as well. And from what I understand, even the people at Bioware who created him aren't too fond of him either. Bioware, please keep this in mind for next time! A better option would have been to include a feature that would have allowed the player to select one of their old companions to import along with their character, or to have allowed your love interest to come with an imported character. Unlike in Origins where you could have conversations with your companions almost any time, the conversations with your companions in Awakening occur almost exclusively in Vigil's Keep. The exception is when they are triggered by "random" objects, which are easy to miss. Remember how in Origins you could win over your companions through dialogue just as much (if not more so in some cases) as with gifts? It seems that for the most part in Awakening, getting on the good side of your companions stems more from gift giving rather than on building a rapport with them, making it feel more like you're buying them off. The personal quests are nowhere near as meaningful as they were in Origins, either. Instead of helping one of your friends restore their honor, or saving them from certain death, or find closure, about half of those in Awakening involve simply raising your companion's approval high enough that they open up to you or running some errand. During the latter stages of the game, you are forced to decide who to leave at Vigil's Keep while you and three others go to save the besieged city of Amaranthine. If you choose to save Amaranthine, those you left behind will be killed in a siege. My point in mentioning this is that when the time came, what should have been a decision that tugged at your heartstrings was not a big deal--the connection with this group just wasn't there. The ending was also a major let-down. One of the main antagonists, "The Architect" claims to be able to stop the Blights in the future if you side with him, destroy "The Mother", and allow him to continue his research. It just comes off as not being believable. Regardless of your choice, after you defeat the final boss, your "ending" consists of the main character stabbing The Mother through the skull with their sword. The group turns around and simply walks away, and you get about a dozen or so paragraphs detailing what happens to the characters in the aftermath. Even though it says that your character's story is not over, it's still a downer. Overall, I would give this game a two and a half out of five stars (personally, I think the game magazines and web sites have been too generous with it). Would I recommend it? I honestly can't say. It depends on how big a Dragon Age fan you are and what kind of story you've written for yourself in Origins. Again, the story could have been much better (and longer); I found myself wishing I had my old companions with me, and to be honest, the whole thing felt kind of soulless. The new abilities and action was OK, but it takes more than that to make a game great. As an expansion for Origins, this could have been a lot more than what it is Bioware had invested the time that it should have. An opportunity truly missed. Don't get me wrong--with Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware created one of the best games I've ever played, an almost impossible act to follow, and I appreciate what Bioware tried to do with Awakening. I understand that Bioware has something in the works for February 2011. Hopefully, Bioware will learn from this and give whatever they are working on the time it needs to be a worthy addition to the Dragon Age series, even if it means delaying the release.