Well, I've gotten through the first four parts of this review and now it's time for the expansion to Origins. Now this one will contain spoilers for Origins as it takes place after the events of Origins so consider this your spoiler alert. It's time for the Illusive One's Review of Dragon Age: Origins Part Five, Awakening.
The game takes place about six months after the end of Origins. At the end of Origins, whoever is the ruler of Ferelden gives a land in the north of the country, known as the Arling of Amaranthine, to the Gray Wardens as new base of operations. As the new Warden Commander of Ferelden, it is up to you to eliminate the last vestiges of the Blight and restore order to the poorly governed arling. Things, however, are not as they seem as the darkspawn seem more intelligent and seem to be split into different factions that war against each other as well as the other races.
For the most part the gameplay was the same. The only thing Awakening added were additional sets of skills, spells, talents, weapons and armor for the characters. On the grander scale, it was more or less up to you to rebuild the arling and the fortress of Vigil's Keep. In addition, you have to make governing choices for the land, root out opposing factions, restore law and order, and make choices that will affect the arling for years to come.
Awakening did have a decent cast of characters but unfortunately they weren't as compelling as those from Origins, mainly due to limited time with them. Like the companions from Origins, you have to build on their approval meters either through your actions, your dialoged choices, or through gifts and this affects how well they fight for you.
Strangely enough, the only companion character to return as one is Oghren who is still just as hilarious as ever and just as useful in combat.
Another noteworthy character is Nathaniel Howe, son of the treacherous Rendon Howe. Having been in a land north of, Ferelden known as the Free Marches, Nathaniel Howe returns home trying to enact vengeance against you but is drafted into the Wardens after he proves his skills.
Other noteworthy characters include Anders, the wise-cracking human apostate mage, Velanna the bigoted, Dalish Elf, Justice the Fade Spirit who inhabits the dead body of the Grey Warden Kristoff, (play the game for further explanation), and Sigrun the strangely chipper and suicidal Dwarf and former member of the Legion of the Dead.
Last of the characters to note are the villains. First there was the Mother, a kind of mutated Broodmother Darkspawn who is intent on destroying everything the way darkspawn usually do. Then there is the Architect. While he is a leader of the darkspawn, he doesn’t seem to want to fight against the Gray Wardens and people strangely join with him willingly and his position on things makes for a few great endgame twists.
All around the characters weren’t as good as those in Origins but were still good.
All around, Awakening was better than I expected but worse then I hoped. I think I was expecting a sequel and not an expansion and that's why it was worse than I hoped. If you liked Origins then I would absolutely recommend playing it.