In the fifth hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, I head to Knotwood Hills to investigate a rift of darkspawn, and I get hints of the unholy horrors that await me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.
Oh my god, I AM TERRIFIED OF WHAT I AM GOING TO FIND.
- Before I left Amaranthine, I had two last things I wanted to take care of. I was determined to figure out what these Blight Orfans missions were for, despite that I strongly suspected it was just the bar patrons pulling an elaborate prank on me. So, I went to go look for a scarecrow.
- This game wasn’t kidding. There was a real scarecrow, and I had to go place it outside Melisse’s house. OMG.
- The final two quests were just as silly. I had to put special herbs in Mother Leanna’s bed, and then “apologize” to Melisse by leaving her flowers on her doorstep. This is what the game made me do oh my god.
- Guess what I got from all of this? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No more messages, no quests, and no thanks at all. What the hell??? I better come back to Amaranthine and find more ridiculous quests to complete, I swear! You can’t leave me hanging!
- The last big mission I needed to accomplish was dealing with Anders’ phylactery. I entered the Abandoned Warehouse to find it… unguarded? Oh, that’s not good. So what was the surprise going to be? I totally fell for it, by the way, and was shocked to find Rylock hiding in the next room. She wanted Anders, but I refused to give him up. He was a Grey Warden now, and an extremely helpful one at that. It’s unfortunate that I had to fight and kill her, though. She didn’t deserve that! She was just doing her job. But Anders’s phylactery was nowhere to be found, and the quest said I’d completed it. Huh. I guess that’s it?
- It was time for Knotwood Hills! I’m going to start in the west and head east as I visit the three major places for the main plot of Awakening. Knotwood Hills looks REALLY GODDAMN BRIGHT. Is this place located right next to the sun?
- Is there a reason it looks like this? Huh.
- I found some dudes called “Hangman” who had apparently just hung someone for being a “filthy adulterer.” Oh god, what am I about to discover?
- I found some rashvine! I have no idea what this does. Is this what gave Oghren a rash earlier?
- Oh god, I GOT ANOTHER FUCKING QUEST. This is ridiculous. Apparently, someone named Darran Lyle found something, and I’m supposed to go back to the Chantry to read up on it.
- Guess what happened thirty seconds later? NEW QUEST ADDED. I don’t even want to count how many I have. I’m just going to complete them by region and assume that one day, in the distant future, I’ll get close to finishing them. This quest involves me returning some of Micah’s belongings to him! That’s easy.
- So I was nervous about this place, especially when this stretched before me:
- I got to the end of the lengthy hallway, turned to the right, and –
- OH MY GOD, WHO ARE YOU??? Holy shit, she’s escaping from some darkspawn, so my party joined in on the fight to get rid of them and save her life. It’s through this that I meet the lovely Sigrun! She’s a member of the Legion of the Dead, but she’s the only survivor after an attack by these weird, super smart darkspawn. The place below us is called Kal’Hirol, and she wants us to go down to take out the threat. Um, of course I’m going to agree! I had to swap Nathaniel out for her, since I didn’t need THREE rogues in the same party, and Anders had to stay because we’re basically in love. Really! I have a perfect approval rating with him. I RULE.
- And it’s not long after entering Kal’Hirol that I discover just how unprepared I am for this entire part of the game:
- I just started yelling, “NO. NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. NO,” at the screen. NO, I HATED THE ORIGINAL BROODMOTHER, AND NOW I HAVE TO FIGHT MULTIPLE OF THEM? FUCK NO. And what the fuck are the “Children”??? I don’t like this at all.
- Sigrun had leveled up at around this point, just after the conversation with Jakun. So I gave her the option to summon animals, and fuck it: WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BEAR WITH US.
- shit yeah THIS IS SO AWESOME! So we made our way down these narrow roads, taking out darkspawn as we came across them. Sigrun was a FANTASTIC addition to my party, and she’s super quick to attack, often running far ahead of me to start battles. I love it because most enemies would focus on Oghren or me, and her Legionnaire specialization works best for what we’re doing. So, we’re slaying, slaughtering, and otherwise making sure that the darkspawn know they’re powerless against us, and we arrive in this giant courtyard with a huge staircase looming in front of us and –
- NO, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING??? NO, TAKE IT BACK, DRAGON AGE, TAKE IT BACK! If these are merely “grubs” of the Children, I don’t want to fucking see what the Children are. No, why does this game insist on tormenting me with these creatures????
- My group headed through the side entrance into the depths of Kal’Hirol, and holy god, the design for this place is unreal. It’s got a deep, almost bruise-colored scheme to it. It’s labyrinthine in design, and WHY ARE THERE TORTURE DEVICES ALL OVER THE WALLS? Once I headed downstairs, it was a trap nightmare. There were pressure plates spread liberally about, so I set to disarming them while the rest of my party took care of the baddies. And that’s actually really awesome that I can focus on something else while my party, programmed by the tactics menu, can fight off the darkspawn. Meanwhile, they earn XP in real time relative to what they do and who they kill, and I HAVE NEVER PLAYED ANYTHING LIKE THIS. It’s so satisfying!
- AHAHAHA SHIT YEAH, A GOLEM CONTROL ROD. You better bet your buttstabs that I used this just thirty seconds later to send a stone golem ahead of me to utterly annihilate a pack of darkspawn hiding in a lower level. Bless this game, bless the continuity, and bless the absolute joy it is giving me.
- Just after this, I ran into my first talking darkspawn since The Withering. This “Disciple Scout” was totally cut down by yours truly, and I imagine Roslin was laughing as she used Heartseeker to land a 463 damage hit. I love it!
- I ended this hour completely confused, as the ghost of dwarves past began to appear and act out a part of the history of this place. Honestly, given what I’ve already seen, this only makes me feel more bewildered.
I am 100000000% unprepared. Damn it!
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