The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hey, Dragon Age nerds!

First of all, I know- you're like, "What, Dragon Age again? Why not just call this blog Dragon Age Sandwich! Ha ha ha- Dragon Age Sandwich, amirite?" But listen, this is not simply another excuse for me to talk about one of my favorite games- well, okay, maybe it is just a little bit. More so, however, this is a post in the interests of public service, or least in service of that portion of the Xbox 360-playing public that finds itself wanting more Dragon Age...which, in my dreams, is everyone in the whole wide world.

Here's the deal: until January 24th, EA is running a massive sale on Xbox Live downloadable content, including every chunk o' Dragon Age-y goodness (and, to be fair, some Dragon Age-y mediocreness) to get you pumped for the countdown to Dragon Age II. LIKE I NEED IT. Anyobsessed, all DA DLC is 50% off- for those of you who are bad at percentages, that's half off! Of everything! So you should get what you don't have! Don't you think so?! DLC for 200 points! Yelling!

What's up for grabs and my thoughts on the such (because you're dying to know):

The Golems of Amgarrak


Reviews of this slight chunk o' DLC weren't too kind, so I didn't intend to pick it up whatsoever...but then this sale happened and the next thing I know, I'm heading into a thaig in search of some missing dwarves and the remnants of Caridin's research on the manufacture of golems. Now that I've played it, "slight" still seems an appropriate word. You can import your high-level Grey Warden or create a new one; it doesn't much matter as conversations are few and your Origins gameplay has little bearing on events. Some cool new enemies to fight (and the battles are as tough as advertised) and a couple of new items, but in the end it's short and more than a bit "meh" as you spend your time running back and forth through the same rooms repeatedly. To my mind it's best left to the completionists like myself; at least now that nagging voice constantly whining "But there's content out there I haven't played!" will shut the hell up.

The Darkspawn Chronicles


This alt-history content is also fairly short, but it's also quite fun. Dudes, unleash your dork...err, dark side and play as Darkspawn! Chronicles tackles the age-old question "But what if the player's Warden recruit had died during the Joining and it was up to Alistair to save Ferelden?" The answer: mankind would be royally fucked. Control hurlocks, genlocks, ogres, and all the gross villains at the Archdemon's command and kill your way through the siege of Denerim that occurs during Origins's finale. I'll admit, it was a good time until I got to the market area and started laying waste to all those NPCs I'd befriended as a Warden...never mind the battle on the roof of Fort Drakon. I felt a twinge of sadness as I slashed away at Wynne and the dog- MY dog!, but it was just a twinge, I swear- and that's only because I'm one of those goody-goody, namby-pamby players.

Witch Hunt


Man, I was so looking forward to Witch Hunt, which promised to shed light on Morrigan's life post-Origins (and post-Old God baby). Hell, this DLC was to give a proper ending to your Grey Warden's story if your Warden was male and in a romance with everyone's my favorite Witch of the Wilds. I suppose it does all that, but not in a particularly satisfying fashion. Meet up with a few new peeps, travel to places you visited in Origins (like the Circle of Magi and Cadash Thaig), find Morrigan, and get one of a couple of abrupt endings that are, frankly, unworthy of the hours spent with these characters in the game proper. Worth it if you dig Morrigan (I honestly don't get why some people don't dig Morrigan, but it's my understanding that these people are out there), I guess, but don't be surprised if you bust out a "That's IT?" when it's all over.

Leliana's Song


Now, my friends, we're talking! Perhaps the best piece of Dragon Age DLC is Leliana's Song, a romp through the past that explores Leliana's time as a bard and just what the eff went down with Marjolaine. If you saw Leliana's companion quest through to its end, then surely a glimpse into events that transpired before you met her is a tantalizing prospect, no? Yes! Wait...yes or no. Whichever one means YES in regards to whether or not you should play this. In particular, Leliana's Song is a great example of what DLC can be: it expands greatly on a character we think we know, provides some satisfying gameplay (even if, again, we play through areas we've seen before), and colors our experiences in the main game. If you get one piece of cheap DA DLC, I recommend this one.

Dragon Age: Awakening


Not so much DLC as it is a lengthy (20+ hours!) expansion pack, Awakening is nonetheless on The Sale...so if you haven't played this before now, you no longer have excuses! Basically, this is Dragon Age: Junior- much like the experience of playing Origins, but truncated. The story takes place after the demise of the Archdemon, and you can import your Warden or start fresh playing a Warden from Orlais. Both have advantages- decisions your Warden made will have some repercussions felt in Awakening (it's particularly satisfying to play as a human noble), whereas a Warden from Orlais will experience all sorts of side-eye from citizens simply because he or she is Orlesian. You know how Orlesians are! My recommendation is to start a new character; I just found it a bit too weird to play my Warden with (almost all) new companions who really didn't compare to my companions of old. No matter how many jokes he cracks, Anders just ain't Alistair, and no matter how bitchy she is, Velanna ain't Morrigan. Some familiar faces pop up, but you simply may not give two shits about that sort of thing. No matter which character you choose to play, you're the new Warden Commander charged with finding out why the Darkspawn are at it again, even without an Archdemon commanding them- and why some of them now speak. Travel around Ferelden, recruit some friends, make some heavy decisions, fight some new enemies...it's pretty much more of what you dug about DA:O, plus some sweet new equipment.

So there you go, the big rundown on the cheap Dragon Age DLContent. Go forth, purchase, and play! I know what you're thinking- "Stacie, I will. But FFS, why don't you just marry Dragon Age already?" To which I reply "I would, but then what would Mass Effect say?"

10 comments:

Turnidoff Productions said...

I downloaded most of these and have yet to play them. I ran through Origins 3 times and Awakenings once before I moved on. I am eager to start up now before DA2 comes out.

I was a little dissapointed in Awakenings which did feel just like one huge downloadable story. I didn't like the fact that you couldn't interact as personally with the characters.(and no, not just bumpin' pixels!) I guess I was hoping for more of a sequel feel as opposed to just a little more story.

But I can proudly say I have MURDERED the 60 bucks out of this game. I dont think I have ever restarted a game after beating it until this one.

Enchantment indeed.

Stacie Ponder said...

"I have MURDERED the 60 bucks out of this game"

You and me both. I still fire it up frequently- I can't bear the idea of starting over in, say, Oblivion, but I'll play the hell out of DA and Mass Effect (& 2).

And I know what you mean about Awakening- it's not the full experience of Origins, nor even close. That's why I find it better to play with a new Warden, I think. The "companion quests" in Awakenings are a bit lame, but the rest of it is pretty enjoyable.

sean p belcher said...

Actually have a copy of Awakenings coming along with my Mass Effect II pre-order (I'm a PS3 guy), so I'm looking forward to both.
I had been warned against Witch Hunt so didn't bother with that, and I'm glad to see that was a wise decision. Morrigan is a great character and I'd rather see if she has any role in DAII.

Stacie Ponder said...

I wonder if she will as well. If they don't, then it's a huge can of worms that they opened and then threw away. Pretty sure Flemeth will be back, though- Morrigan talks about her as the REAL threat at the end of Witch Hunt, and it sounds like Flemeth narrating one of the DA2 trailers. I can't wait!!

sean p belcher said...

Me either. I read Flemeth might be appearing as well.
Too bad I can't import my Warden from DA:O though, so they could get all crazy when I see her and ramble "You can't be you! We killed you dead! There ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back...there ain't no coming back..."

sean p belcher said...

Wow, talk about some pronoun disagreement in that last comment. "when *they* see her." Sheesh.

Oh, and according to the always-reliable Wikipedia, Flemeth isn't the only confirmed returning NPC: Bodahn and Sandal seem to be returning in some capacity as well.

"Enchantment," indeed!

Stacie Ponder said...

That. Is awesome. Sandal made an appearance in Witch Hunt, too- I think everyone loves him.

I'm looking forward to the changes in DA2,and I hope Hawke is a cool character, but I got rather attached to my Warden and I have to admit, nerdy as it is, that I'm pretty bummed she won't be in the sequel. :(

Stacie Ponder said...

So I was just looking at a video for the corny-yet-cool Dead Space-inspired armor that will be available for DA 2, and on the page they've got listed a bunch of DA2 avatar outfits you can buy...including "Flemeth's Helm".

Now I'm REALLY intrigued!

Anonymous said...

I haven't played any of the expansions, but I liked DA:Origins a lot and am definitely going to try DA2. Unfortunately I am kind of a terrible gamer. I spent most of my time in DA trying to make Morrigan happy so she would sleep with me. All for nothing!!
I also want to try Mass Effect 2 (couldnt do 1 since im a PS3'er)
deb

CashBailey said...

The greatest game website of all time, GiantBomb.com, has one of their patented 'Quick Looks' of this game.

http://www.giantbomb.com/quick-look-road-show-dragon-age-ii/17-3772/

It's a look at the sure-to-be-half-assed console version of the game.

Suck it, non-PC players...