In the ninth hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, everything is messed up, and I get really mad. At a video game. Shush. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.
What is happening???
That’s the general theme of this review. Despite that I did get some answers, I largely feel like I’m stumbling into a horrible trap without any of the knowledge to get out of it. Well, wait. I did fall victim to a trap, but I’ll get there in a second.
I found out fairly quickly that the darkspawn were responsible for that abandoned camp, and it really brings out the sheer brilliance of Awakening. Origins wasn’t a very mysterious game, and the plot of that story was always laid out before me: gather allies for a giant fight against the archdemon. Sure, there was some fucked up shit along the way, plenty to discover, and a ton of plot twists, so I don’t want to criticize or insult Origins. As I’m sure you can tell, I REALLY LIKE THIS GAME. While I thought the set-up for Awakening was fairly basic, I can now tell that I have no clue what I’ve gotten into. This is not a simple case of keeping the Grey Wardens together. I’m discovering that the very nature of the Big Bads from the original game has been twisted, and that means I’m in for one hell of a shock when I figure out what’s behind these intelligent darkspawn. I mean, the whole point of them in Origins is that they can’t communicate with one another in any meaningful way. You can trick them and fool them. They are a mindless horde, and that’s the point. There’s no reason, there’s no morality, they are literally a thoughtless enemy meant to represent the most base form of evil. And now, not only can they talk, but they can frame humans. They can cause civil wars! What the fuck is going on?
And it doesn’t help that this elf REFUSES TO BELIEVE ME! So she attacks me:
I SWEAR, I’M NOT LYING TO YOU. PLEASE STOP SENDING SYLVANS MY WAY. After defeating them by yelling at them, I – wait, let me explain that. For some reason, every Sylvan I came across decided I was their biggest threat because they’d encase me in thorns first and then repeatedly. Every time. EVERY TIME. So, in actuality, I never killed a single Sylvan. That was the rest of my party. I was basically useless. AWESOME. Thanks, though, to my lovely party!
I followed the elf up the hill and discovered that she was at that camp that I’d found earlier. It’s actually kind of a depressing scene. I learn that her name is Velanna and that the darkspawn took her sister, Seranni. Consumed by grief, it was hard for her to accept that she’d fallen for their sleight of hand. Who could blame her? Sure, the details might not have added up, but she wasn’t thinking clearly. Using my excellent persuasion skills, I got Velanna to calm down and SHE TOTALLY JOINED MY PARTY. Holy shit, a super gorgeous elf mage is in my party. PLEASE LET ROSLIN BE ABLE TO ROMANCE HER. I knew that I really wanted to do this, and I’m already super close to doing so with Anders. Anyone? Please? CAN SOMEONE LIKE MY CHARACTER?
Oh. Great. We have to go in a mine. I don’t like the sound of that. So I chose to go find Ines! Along the way, I found this:
Two brothers, encased in stone, who used to be Avvar warriors. One wants revenge on the mage who made him this way, the other wants peace of mind. So what do I choose? I knew I could take on a mage, but Roslin was feeling diplomatic. Plus, her persuasion is pretty much perfect, so I gave it a try and VICTORY. I earned some XP and a few pretty sweet herbalism recipes. Victory is sweet.
I also gave Velanna a ring I’d found earlier, and it turns out it belongs to Seranni, so her approval of me went up +8. That got me thinking: WHY DOESN’T THE WORLD WORK LIKE THIS? Like, could you imagine? You’d always know if a person liked you. You could just check their approval rating. You’d know if a gift was shitty for them, you’d know if you were friends, and life would be great. I’m speaking as someone with horrific social anxieties, so understand that I’m the kind of person who is convinced everyone hates me and is annoyed by me despite any evidence to the contrary. Someone go invent this.
So, I found Ines! And she doesn’t like Wynne. At all. In fact, I may have found someone more hateful than Morrigan. My god, she is snappy. But all I have to do is find some Northern Pricklewood Seeds because apparently Ines is incredibly lazy. How much do you want to bet that they’re like twenty feet from her? GOD, MAYBE IF YOU LEFT YOUR LITTLE HILL YOU COULD FIND THEM. I say that because I was immediately attacked by a Sylvan near her, and she just stood there. Thanks for the help.
On my way back, I decided to check out that weird circle thing that I’d seen from the hill. Using that Scholar’s Journal I’d found, I set about to link all the stones in a single line. It took me two attempts, and then:
WELL SHIT. I got Illumination, WHICH TOTALLY RULES. And I only wish I’d gotten to use it for more than five minutes. See, here’s the thing: I headed into the mine. Things were fine. I was excited. I walked down those wooden stairs to the open area at the bottom, and then:
Cue this bizarre cut scene where my entire party fell asleep, and I woke up in a jail cell with Seranni standing outside of it. She informs us that all our stuff was stolen, but that if we’re clever enough, we can get it all back! I leveled up after this scene, and was finally able to get the Talent I had been aching to use for this entire game:
YES. SO EXCITED, Y’ALL.
Except I’m not. Ugh, look, I get it, it’s the point, but I then discovered that I had truly lost everything. Well, I’ll just go find the chest that has it or something. Except the game also reset all of my tactics and talents on my radial menu to what they were BACK IN THE BEGINNING OF ORIGINS. This was the case for my ENTIRE PARTY. All the hard work I’d put into our Tactics menus? GONE. Not only that, but my party’s property is scattered amongst the many corpses left behind. It’s completely random, and I hate it. I hate it so much. I have four characters I’m controlling, each with 10-12 different items equipped, and now I’m suddenly expected to have memorized who had what in what order and at what time? This is the first time in Dragon Age that I outright despise something. It’s frustrating because I’ve put hours of work into these characters, and it was all erased. What the fuck, y’all? I mean, I can deal with us losing our weapons and armor. But resetting the Tactics menu? That’s just cruel.
I made it through perhaps a third of this part of the mine and I’m doing okay, but I’m annoyed. That just means I’m going to take it out on every bad thing I find.
Also, who are all these Experiments running around??? I’m frustrated and nervous about what I’m going to find down here.
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