In the eleventh hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, my group must find a way to escape the Fade and deal with the Baroness. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.
I am in The Blackmarsh Undying, and everything is so fucked up.
I think it’s fantastic that the gamemakers found a way to bring the game back into the Fade, especially in such a fascinating way. More so than ever before, I’m in awe of the story behind Awakening. It’s not that Origins wasn’t engaging or entertaining. I obviously loved the game! And all the little plot twists and worldbuilding in the codex updates made it a rewarding experience. But I still have NO FUCKING CLUE where Awakening is headed, and I’ve been playing this game for eleven hours. I’m getting hints of The Mother’s plan, and I’m seeing how her influence has spread throughout this part of Ferelden. Somehow, each location I’ve traveled to is connected to whatever she’s got in store for me. And I still don’t even know how there are intelligent darkspawn hanging around! What the fuck, y’all?
A lot of the Blackmarsh Undying involves wandering. You wander about, you find something to interact with, and you get attacked by creatures of the fade. This little section in particular wasn’t hard to activate, but my god, did it burn the fuck out of my party. Velanna and Nathaniel died because of all the fire. WHOOPS. Oghren and I, however, outlasted them all. We are awesome.
This was the first sign that something was deeply, deeply wrong with this version of the Fade. WHY IS THERE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING HERE??? I took a screenshot of this moment because the mere presence of this woman shocked me. I remember my last experience in the Fade during Origins, and I knew this place was populated only with beings, spirits, and demons that belong to the Fade. So how the fuck was it even possible that another human could just end up here?
Wait, is that boat floating in the air?
WHY ARE THERE PEOPLE HUNG FROM THAT… THING?
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU, AND WHY ARE YOU HERE? How can a woman just travel to the Fade to visit her grandfather’s grave??? And why would you do this? But before I can interrogate her further, a bunch of skeletons come back to life, and she begs me to follow her to find her.
Nope, there’s nothing creepy about a place named SHADOWY CRYPT. That’s definitely a place I want to explore.
AWAKENING, ARE YOU DRUNK. YOU ARE SO DRUNK I SWEAR.
Can we talk about this??? I’m usually quite good at checking the vitals of my companions, since I save the game every 3-5 minutes out of paranoia. I spend a lot of time in the menu making sure my characters are okay, that I’m managing my inventory well, and reading shit in the codex/quest area. But after a few battles with Fade demons, a couple of my companions needed Injury Kits. Here’s the thing: I have not once in this game ever gone to this menu to see what those injuries were. I just see the red warning boxes above their little health/stamina bars when I switch to control them, and I give them Injury Kits. So this made me laugh for a full thirty seconds because… oh my god, if you are walking around with a torn jugular, I’m pretty sure that means you are dying. Like for real, you’re dead. You don’t just lose a point from your stamina or constitution. You die. Bless the absurdity of this game.
So I took my party down into the shadowy crypt, fought tons of skeletons, yelled at this mysterious woman as she ran away from me yet again (STAY IN ONE SPOT, FOR REAL), and then groaned very loudly when I discovered THIS WAS A TRAP. Oh, great. Whomever this demon was, though, I intimidated them and they stood down from the impending fight. However, I was perplexed when it said they’d just leave me to “the Baroness.”
Okay, no, NO. Who the fuck is the Baroness??? You can’t just introduce another ambiguously named character while I’m still trying to figure out who The Mother is! ONE AT A TIME, PLEASE.
I headed back outside and found myself within the walls of the village I couldn’t get in before. And then there’s a knight. A human knight. And then he tells me that he’s stuck here, too. WITH THE WHOLE VILLAGE. Whomever this “Baroness” is, she sent an entire village to the Fade!!! Holy shit, why? Why would you do that??? I set out to discover why, and in the process I met Justice, a rather noble spirit who has been watching over all the people stuck in the Fade. Yeah, this was already fucked up, and then one woman revealed that these people had been here years. THEY DIDN’T KNOW THAT THEIR VILLAGE WAS ACTUALLY ABANDONED IN THE REAL WORLD. Oh my god, that’s why this place has been “haunted” for so long, right? THIS IS SUCH GOOD STORYTELLING.
Justice, you know there’s someone on the other side of the gate, right? Either this Fade world is truly whimsical and nonsensical, or Awakening is full of bugs. I like to imagine it’s the former.
You know, I’d never really seen one of those Shade demons in a cutscene. Their bodies are big mouths! That’s kind of awesome. Well, terrifying, really, but totally awesome.
OH, FUCK YOU, WHY ARE YOU SIDING WITH THE FIRST? NO. NO! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT THING IS? Wait, you probably do, considering that you ruled this village by using the citizens’ children for BLOOD MAGIC. Oh god.
So I fought The First and his minions, and I got this from him. THIS TOTALLY RULES. As does this:
I LOVE FINDING GOOD SHIT IN THIS GAME. But guess what really made this trip through the Fade worth it? JUSTICE. You can imagine my surprise when we were all suddenly snapped back out of the Fade and KRISTOFF STOOD UP. He was dead what the fuck!!!! When the Baroness escaped the Fade and returned us to the real world, Justice’s spirit entered Kristoff’s body. He insisted that we needed to repair the tears in the Veil and destroy the Baroness, lest she get more powerful, AND THEN HE GOT TO BE MY COMPANION!!!! holy shit THIS RULES.
I immediately looked to see if there was anything in my inventory to raise his approval of me, and I took a guess and gave him the Lyrium Ring I’d been holding onto for Anders. HOLY SHIT, +21 TO MY APPROVAL RATING. Knowing that Sigrun liked things from aboveground, I gave her the spyglass I’d found, and my approval with her went up +14, too! THIS IS AWESOME. Okay, someone fall in love with me now. THANKS.
Before my hour ran up, I got the chance to fight a couple Revenants. Revenants! Remember them? Remember when they used to utterly destroy me, and their very existence terrified me? Those were the days.
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