In the twelfth hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, may I never play another game with anything like the Baroness in it ever again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.
Unfortunately, this review won’t be very long, despite that I actually played fifteen minutes over my allotted hour entirely out of spite. The reason for this is simple:
The goddamn Baroness.
Apparently, I stopped my last hour of gameplay just outside the gate that triggers the cutscene for this part of the game. “How bad can this be?” I thought. Surely the game wouldn’t stick the most difficult foe yet in the middle of the game!
My first attempt lasted fifteen frustrating, enraging minutes. The Baroness has powers that are just unfair. She’s got a Fire Bolt, and Ice Bolt, and she can SUMMON FADE PORTALS. So she’d burn my whole party, freeze us one after another, and then open a portal next to us to distract us. But the absolute worst thing? Whatever fucking power that is where she grabs you, drains you of health, and REGENERATES HER OWN HEALTH. This made all of my attacks have diminishing returns, made even worse when she’d jump up and stun/knock down my whole party at once. It’s as if she had unlimited stamina and mana, too, because there were no breaks between any of these attacks that were longer than a second or two. But you know what? I was not going to give up. My complete party lasted ten minutes before Sigrun was the first to die, and that was only because I couldn’t get a health poultice to her fast enough after the Baroness held her in that awful draining death grip. One down, sure, but that wasn’t so bad!
And then Velenna died.
And then Justice died.
And then I was by myself with four demons, more coming out of the Fade, and this asshole who kept regenerating health.
BUT I WAS NOT TO BE DISCOURAGED! I decided to focus a lot of attacks and healing efforts through Velenna. That was her purpose! The other characters could certainly handle themselves well. My only problem was staying alive, so as long as I did that, I’d be fine!
Dead in sex minutes. On attempt three, I mostly controlled Velenna, but switched more often to the other characters to focus on taking out all the Fade Portals before things got too overwhelming. I lasted ten minutes before I wanted to turn into a puddle of shame and melt away into my couch. WHY. WHY WAS THIS SO HARD.
Oh. Right. I could just change the difficulty to Casual. I knew this.
Five minutes later, the Baroness was dead before me, and no one knew my shame because this game technically re-writes time. (Wouldn’t it be amazing if a game took into account how many attempts you made to beat something? THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, SOMEONE RIP IT OFF AND MAKE SOMETHING WITH IT.) I emerged victorious!
YES. YES, PLEASE. YOU ARE GLORIOUS.
There was a key on the body of the Baroness (who, I might add, is Onebarff in rot13) that opened the gate behind the village, and THERE WAS SO MUCH STUFF BACK HERE. Lots of sovereings, a dragon bone piece, Sir Alvord’s sword… this was well worth the embarrassment of spending over thirty minutes trying to beat one Big Bad. I had two last quests to complete in the Blackmarsh before I headed back to Vigil’s Keep. Corin’s bizarre set of clues weren’t that hard to figure out, and I was happy to find this at the end of this scavenger hunt:
On my way out, I decided to drop all the dragon bones into the remains, which opened that weird Veil doorway. A set of stone stairs led up to the mountaintop and –
OH SHIT. IS THIS A GHOST DRAGON? What the fuck is this??? Please don’t let this thing be harder than the Baroness. I HAVEN’T FAIRED WELL AGAINST DRAGONS IN THIS GAME. Thankfully, while the ghost dragon was a challenge, it wasn’t the worst thing ever. Those Charged Wisps were fucking weird, though. One time, I tried to kill them all before they reached the center. Does that do anything? I have no idea.
HELL YES, THIS RULES. My god, the loot in Awakening is so fantastic.
So I had a lot to turn in at Vigil’s Keep from my travels in the Wending Wood and the Blackmarsh, and I figured I’d do that and get some enchanting done before I went back to Amaranthine to talk to the Dark Wolf. My arrival in Vigil’s Keep spawned two cutscenes, though. The first?
SON OF A BOOT, WHAT ARE YOU? WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? WHY WON’T YOU LEAVE US ALONE? I don’t get The Mother, y’all. I DON’T UNDERSTAND HER OR HER PURPOSE. IT FREAKS ME OUT.
On top of that, remember that conspiracy that Ser Tamra warned me about? Well, it’s in full swing. I returned to Vigil’s Keep to find that the commoners were ready to revolt, and in particular, they refused to listen to my promises. For real, one guy said that I spoke with “empty words.” You asshole, DIDN’T I SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD FROM THE ARCHDEMON? CAN’T YOU CUT ME SOME SLACK? It’s not like I’m some morally ambiguous force for selfishness! I CONSTANTLY HELP PEOPLE. GOSH. Still, I didn’t want to be violent with them, so I tried to persuade them I was on their side AND THEY RIOTED AGAINST ME. What the fuck????? I had to kill like ten people! UGH THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO DO.
And then a woman named Aura, who turns out to be Kristoff’s wife, flips the fuck out because… well, this one is totally understandable. Justice is in her husband’s body. So now we’ve got to go find her in Amaranthine and… I don’t even know, y’all. How do you convince someone to be okay with this???
Master Wade was rather ecstatic that I brought back dragonbone and heartwood, and he asked for a set of items to make me a dragonbone blade and a heartwood bow. More quests! At the very least, the Heart of the Forest quest FINALLY EXPLAINS WHAT THE CATGUT IS FOR. Herren was actually happy, too! I am pleasing people. THIS IS GREAT.
I finally decided that I needed to end things since I was already way over time. Spite only lasts so long. God, that goddamn Onebarff. I HATE YOU.
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