Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Awakening’: Hour 11

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.

Hour Eleven

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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16 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Awakening’: Hour 11

  1. Sydney says:

    "Gamemakers", Mark? Those books really got in your head, huh. …I use the word now too.

  2. JUSTICE! That is all.

  3. adaptation says:

    ugh I just love Justice so much. He's a bamf.

    DA2 spoilers:

    Hagvy QN gjb, naljnl, ng juvpu cbvag ur pbzovarf jvgu nabgure bar bs zl snibhevgr punenpgref gb EHVA RIRELGUVAT.

    V arire xarj Njrfbzr cyhf Njrfbzr = Snvy.

    :c

    • Eliestav says:

      Vs V znl ercbfg fbzrguvat sebz n juvyr onpx….

      Whfgvpr: V haqrefgnaq gung lbh fgehttyr ntnvafg lbhe bccerffvba, zntr.
      Naqref: V nibvq zl bccerffvba. Gung'f abg dhvgr gur fnzr guvat, vf vg?
      Whfgvpr: Jul qb lbh abg fgevxr n oybj ntnvafg lbhe bccerffbef? Rafher gurl pna qb guvf gb ab bar ryfr?
      Naqref: Orpnhfr vg fbhaqf qvssvphyg?
      Whfgvpr: Ncngul vf n jrnxarff.
      Naqref: Fb vf qrngu. V'z whfg fnlvat.
      ───────
      Whfgvpr: V oryvrir lbh unir n erfcbafvovyvgl gb lbhe sryybj zntrf.
      Naqref: Gung ovg bs frys-evtugrbhfarff vf qverpgrq ng zr?
      Whfgvpr: Lbh unir frra bccerffvba naq ner abj serr. Lbh zhfg npg gb serr gubfr jub erznva bccerffrq.
      Naqref: Be V pbhyq zvaq zl ohfvarff, va pnfr gur Punagel pbzrf xabpxvat.
      Whfgvpr: Ohg guvf vf abg evtug. Lbh unir na boyvtngvba.
      Naqref: Lrf, jryy… jrypbzr gb gur jbeyq, fcvevg.
      _______
      Whfgvpr: Gb rafynir nabgure perngher qbrf abg frrz whfg.
      Naqref: Ur'f abg n fynir! Ur'f n sevraq. Naq ur'f nyfb n png.
      Whfgvpr: N png gung ynpxf serrqbz.

      Gurer ner uvagf.

      • The_Real_Lee says:

        Lrnu, pbzovavat Naqref, n zntr jub srryf bccerffrq ohg vf gbb fpnerq gb uryc bgure zntrf, jvgu Whfgvpr, n fcvevg jub unf irel yvggyr pbaprcg bs gvzr naq vf bs gur oryvrs gung rirelbar qrfreirf gb qrgrezvar gurve bja sngr gb gur cbvag gung ur vf haunccl gung Fre Cbhapr N Ybg qbrfa'g unir gung evtug, onq pbzob.

      • I have no idea at what stage of development DA2 was when this was written, but either way, OMG <3 I do so love the entire character arc of Naqref/Whfgvpr/Iratrnapr.

  4. Mark Does Stuff says:

    Do the images look GIGANTIC to y'all, too? WTF wordpress WHAT ARE YOU DOING

  5. celestineangel1 says:

    Hi, Justice! I love you!

    (DA2) V whfg qba'g ybir lbh naq Naqref gbtrgure FGBC. FGBC ABJ JUVYR LBH FGVYY PNA BA TBQF AB VG'F GBB YNGR NYERNQL.

  6. Peter says:

    !!!!! I have finally returned to regular internet access!

    And in time for my favorite part of Awakening, too! I absolutely loved the entire Blackmarsh section. As Mark said in the review, it's such good storytelling to see the tragedy of the Blackmarsh village unfold over time. Even after spending dozens of hours in Origins, I still wasn't prepared for just how fucked up it was that the Baroness did this to the villagers under her control. I mean, I remember playing this and thinking about just how labyrinthine and confusing it was to get all of the Fade done in the Circle Tower (and I LIKED it, but it was certainly tedious!), and about the idea that it is absolutely full of spirits, many of which are hostile demons, and I thought of how UTTERLY TERRIFYING it would be to be a perfectly normal person trapped there for years. My God, that is absolutely terrible. The whole Blackmarsh story is so fucked up, and yet that's why it's so great.

    Plus, Justice is awesome. And that is all.

  7. RadagastWiz says:

    "Who the fuck is the Baroness???"

    And has she been practicing her clarinets?

  8. Kaderie says:

    Justice! SQUEEEEE

    He is such a fascinating companion, and I really like the glimpse he offers into the denizens of the Fade.

    Completely related, a kind soul linked me awesome fanfiction the other day, which I devoured (Thank you <3) and I now come bearing cracktastic Justice fanfiction. Or should I say…Justice writing smutty fanfiction about DA2 companions in ALL CAPS GLORY. Spoilers ahead, obviously:
    http://dragonage-kink.livejournal.com/8832.html?t
    http://dragonage-kink.livejournal.com/7357.html?t

    (Yes, there's 2 of them. It's a genre apparently? A GLORIOUS GENRE)

    Naq nabgure bar jurer Whfgvpr gevrf gb cebgrpg Naqref' iveghr. TYBEVBHF, V FNL
    http://fizzysplosion.livejournal.com/1708.html

  9. xyliane27 says:

    Late post because holidays and traveling, so whoot!

    I love this part of Awakening, at the very least because it's where Justice comes in. I really like Justice in Awakening. Kristoff!Justice is a fascinating character for so many reasons and I have lots of feels for him.

    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.
    I saw one while making a screencap mid-fight my last playthrough, and it's like it tries to eat you with its entire body. With the traditional DA blood splatters everywhere. It's suitably fascinating. All of the monster designs are so much fun to look at in the Dragon Age universe, whether they're actual dragons or shades. Okay, the desire demons are a bit much, but all the worldbuilding and mythology that goes into every design is really amazing.

  10. Blackmarsh is either my most or least favourite part of the game, I can't decide which. But Justice is a really interesting character to have around (ng yrnfg hagvy QN gjb, jura ur trgf naablvatyl bar-abgr) and in my playthroughs after the first one I've always done Blackmash first to get the most out of him.

    Also, I didn't know you could use mods on PS3. I always thought that is PC only perk.

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