|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BioWare||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 16, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Awakening also provides players with an increased level cap as well as more than 50 new spells and talents and even two new specializations per class. The new specializations become active at level 22 (when a third specialization point is awarded - they're supposed to unlock at 20 but don't) and include Spirit Warrior and Guardian (Warriors), Keeper and Battlemage (Mages), and Legionnaire Scout and Shadow (Rogues). These new specializations add nice bonuses and open up cool new powers so you'll be able to further customize your PCs to the higher level of play. What's more, weapons have become more powerful too; an additional two tiers of equipment quality have been included. Additionally, there are new consumables, coatings, traps, recipes, grenades, etc. that can be found and fabricated.
In terms of presentation, Awakening is every bit as good as Dragon Age Origins. While one would expect this to be the case graphically (because they use the same engine), it was nice that the care was taken for both the voice acting and the storytelling aspects; I enjoyed the new recruits as well as the new plot as much or more as I did the predecessor's.
When it comes right down to it, you're going to have to decide whether it's worth it to you to extend the Dragon Age experience out another 20+ hours per play-through for $40 and change. After all, you're essentially getting the exact same game you already put 60-80 hours into, with a new story and only a few extra bells and whistles to keep things fresh. For me, I really felt Awakening helped the game come into its own. I've had enough of a pause in between play sessions that my interest was instantly rekindled. Also, the higher tier of play made things feel a bit more epic.
BioWare makes great games; there's no doubt about it. Their games are so compelling, in fact, that gamers are willing to shell out a significant amount of extra cash to extend the experience. I think if BioWare can continually put out expansions of this quality, players will likely buy at least one or two more of them. That being said, I'm not sure how many more expansions we'll see in the near future; a teaser card emblazoned with the now iconic blood dragon was included within the expansion case, hinting at a date of February 1, 2011. Whether this will be Dagon Age 2 or simply another massive expansion remains to be seen, but whatever it is, we're anxious for more.
CCC Editor / News Director