Dragon Age Expansion: Dragon Age Awakenings
I must admit that usually I really hate when a company creates multiple expansions to get more of your money, however as this is such a great game and I really want to see more, then I am actually excited about it.
From Bioware’s website:
From the Makers of the Best RPG of 2009, Dragon Age: Origins, comes the first official expansion pack.
For centuries, the Grey Wardens ”the ancient order of guardians, sworn to unite and defend the landsâ€”have been battling the darkspawn forces. Legend spoke that slaying the Archdemon would have put an end to the darkspawn threat for centuries to come, but somehow they remain.
You are the Grey Warden Commander and have been entrusted with the duty of rebuilding the order of Grey Wardens and uncovering the secrets of the darkspawn and how they managed to remain.
How you choose to rebuild your order, how you resolve the conflict with “The Architect”, and how you determine the fate of the darkspawn will be but some of the many complex choices that await and shape your journey as you venture to the new land of Amaranthine.
Quick Review: this add-on is very good; not only does it give you far more places to explore it also makes you make many choices in the running of the Grey Wardens; you will face many tough choices as you try and manage different factions within your subjects. This part is interesting and you get additional encounters based on your choices – for instance, in one part a baroness decided to try and have me killed, simply because I supported some farmers.
This added diversity to the game makes it extremely fun to play; the expansion does have a lot of gameplay and a pretty decent plot itself – and with the continued excellent graphics and sound, it is well worth the additional $40 – it’s like having a new game in an old familiar ‘play ground’.
Dragon Age – The Game
**Note: Extensive Dragon Age Cheats are available – look on the right for a link to the Dragon Age Cheats site – you have been warned**
Ive played most of the Roleplaying Games that are available for the PC, from the original simple AD&D games to the excellent, more recent games like The Witcher. Iâ€™ve watched the games grow from simple hack and slay games into games that require thought and strategy in order to win.
Dragon Age is probably one of the best games Iâ€™ve played in this genre; from the makers of the highly successful game Baldurâ€™s Gate, this game really takes the whole genre to another level as it adds many elements not seen in other games. Some of the highlights for me are:
Graphics â€“ the graphics are simply stunning. Aside from a few glitches here and there (for instance, I fought one dragon who had his head stuck in a wall for the whole battle!), the graphics are very atmospheric and in many case simply breathtaking. The animation of the characters and people you meet in the game is excellent and comes very close to being natural.
Sound â€“ the sound is superlative, with atmospheric music, great voice acting and wonderful battle sounds, the sound really adds an extra element to the game.
Strategy“ most of the RPG games Ive played have had simple strategy; concentrate on one enemy and â€?chargeâ€™. Dragon Age takes the strategy element to a whole new level; not only can you set predetermined (and very complex) strategies for your group, but you also have to take into account the surroundings. Place your archer on the hill to get the best advantage; attack from behind for added surprise bonuses etc; setup an ambush. There are so many different strategy elements involved in the game â€“ and rather than just being â€?something elseâ€™ you can do if you want, they really are important. Without using decent strategy in some battles you will lose â€“ this game is tough and often you are overwhelmed â€“ proper strategy is very important.
Quests “ many RPG games have quests, but most of these are simply â€?Pick up items and deliver to Xâ€™. The quests and side quests in Dragon age are often diverse and complex â€“ for instance you could have a quest to visit several apprentice wizards and tell them that they are no longer required to be an apprentice â€“ the way in which you approach these apprentices can have different results to the quest.
Choices what I love about this game is that sometimes the choices are not black and white. For example, when assisting the Dwarves you effectively have to help choose a new king. There is no simple choice here, both choices have their good sides and bad sides, you have to use your judgment to choose the new king; your choice ultimately effects the rest of the game. There are many instances where you must make hard choices, and this makes the game very intriguing.
General Hints and Tips
I am sure you can find a whole boat load of hints and tips on the web; these tips are my own tips as a veteran RPG player â€“ they may not be the best, but they work for me.
In a lot of RPG games party selection is irrelevant as quite often you can make your main character a jack of all trades, however Dragon Age is different; itâ€™s essential that you get the right balance of your party, and at times this balance will change depending on the quest you are on.
Some characters will have knowledge of a certain area and therefore can be useful when exploring that area.
You really have to look at the abilities of each character and decide if they will be useful. For example, in some of the dungeons there are a lot of traps; if you donâ€™t have a decent rogue in your party then you will be in trouble.
I tended to have a core party for most quests and then shuffled in other characters when required. I set my main character up as a warrior, and then used a healer, a rogue (or mage) and another fighter. It worked a lot of times, but at times I did change the balance.
Talk to your characters.
It is very important to constantly talk to your characters. Not only will it reveal important information and often improve â€?relationsâ€™ with the character, but as you get to know them you will also get additional side quests from these characters. This therefore gives you more opportunity to gain experience before tackling some of the more difficult major quests.
What is interesting is that often by talking to one character youâ€™ll learn something about a different character, or youâ€™ll get some advice or warnings about a character if they feel you are getting to close to them. This is an important aspect of the game as the relationship within the party can have a profound effect with the whole group â€“ sometimes characters will leave the group if they cannot abide another character.
Talk to everyone
Even though there are a lot of characters that play no part in the game, such as guards or townspeople, sometimes you can pick up some useful gossip by â€?chattingâ€™. Additionally, itâ€™s useful to constantly talk to NPCs, even though you may think youâ€™ve done everything you can with them â€“ sometimes, depending on your actions, additional quests or information becomes available as you progress.
I mentioned this in my introduction, but as this game is very difficult (even on easy setting) then strategy is very important. You may want to charge in to the battle in real-time, but some battles require a level head and a great deal of strategy. Setting up the strategy of each character is very important; it allows you to understand exactly what will be happening in the battle.
It is also essential that you use the battleground. Placing archers on hills will make them most effective; planning the fight in a narrow area so that only one or two enemies can surround you is important.
The landscape will provide you with a lot of help, and use of barriers etc will help to control the battle.
Donâ€™t be afraid to run from battle, or set up your own ambushes â€“ every advantage you get will enhance your chances of winning.
Know your enemy
As you progress through the game you will begin to understand your enemy. This is hugely important, as quite often it is very important to eliminate an enemy before all others â€“ for instance, if they have a mage casting healing or defensive spells, eliminating this mage will make the battle easier to complete.
Often in games like this I allowed the computer to auto-level-up characters, however in this game it is important that you take the time to level up each character. This allows you to concentrate on elements of skills that will enhance your own personal strategy. You might want to concentrate on trap detection and elimination skills for your rogue, or concentrate on healing skills with one character.
Iâ€™ve always enjoyed having the ability to zoom in and out while playing RPG games, however for the first time I actually use this for tactics. Having the ability to zoom out and have a â€?top downâ€™ view assists me greatly, allowing me to look at the terrain, the position of enemies and the best places to put my archers and wizards.
Weapons and Enchantments
In other RPG games I used to get one weapon, and enchant it to make it the most powerful. What I am finding with Dragon Age is that I need to have several weapons with different enchantments, and then chose which weapon is suitable against which enemy. Pairing the right weapon with the right enchantment is important, and can make the difference when fighting some of the larger enemies. Thereâ€™s a lot of trial and error involved, working out which enchantment is most effective against which enemy, but the effort really pays off.
Herbs, Potions etc.
Due to the intensity of some of the battles, having sufficient potions (magical and health) is important. It is therefore very important not only to spend efficiently to get the best potions, but also have someone with herb lore so that you can use herb skills to create potions. While some monsters will have potions on them when you loot them, there never seems to be enough.
With many games I usually zoom through the main quest so I can finish the game quickly. While this may work for some in Dragon Age (they must be cleverer that Napoleon) this simply doesnâ€™t work in this game as the lack of experience really makes a difference in some of the bigger battles in the main quests â€“ I therefore spend a lot of time doing the smaller sub-quests in each location, trying to finish all the â€?locationâ€™ oriented quests first, and then going on to the multiple location quests. The game seems to be setup so that each locationâ€™s sub-quests get more difficult, so this strategy works well.
A great way to gain extra experience is to travel from one location to another â€“ youâ€™ll get plenty of random encounters â€“ this may get a little boring but experience and leveling up is very important in this game â€“ even when your characters are high level, the game is still very challenging.