There's no question that Dragon Age Origins was one of the best releases in 2009. It was a much needed game for an ailing RPG genre, and the ailing fans that come with it. Granted it was a western RPG, it didn't stop people from enjoying it. Besides, with a combat system that was very reminiscent of Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Age just managed to push all the right buttons with gamers, and so we're glad to see BioWare giving us an expansion pack. Due out on March 16th, Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is the first of many expansions to come.
In Awakening, you can take on the role of either your already created character by importing him/her, hopefully complete with your stats and such. Or you can start a fresh campaign with a new face, the choice is yours, as you don't need to have a copy of Origins in order to play Awakening – so in a way, despite being an expansion, it does work as a game on its own. The story revolves around the darkspawn, and you will try to figure out why, after the slaying of Archdemon, they have not disappeared. Your character is now the Grey Warden Commander, and you will rebuild the order of the Grey Wardens as a measure of finding out why the darkspawn remain.
Of course rebuilding means you're given freedom, and Bioware says that it's up to you on how you want to rebuild the order. Furthermore, it's also up to you on how you want to approach the inevitable conflict with The Architect. All of this is shaped based on the choices you make throughout the game, which is what you should come to expect out of a Bioware game. And don't forget, this time you'll get to visit an all new and expansive location called Amaranthine, so you won't feel like you're playing a rehash of the same game with a different story.
Your moral choices here are just as complex as they were before, perhaps more so in some cases. Once again your choices will directly influence the direction and path of your story, and that means multiple replays of the game are in store for a unique gameplay experience. For your imported or all new character, you can now add all new spells, abilities, specializations, and items created specifically for Awakening. Of course, all of these extras can also be applied to the rest of the fighters in your party.
And speaking of your party, there will be five all new members to embark on a journey with, in addition an unknown favorite sixth party member from the first game. Lastly, because this is, technically, an all new game with a new environment to explore, expect to see and battle against all new enemies.
Our only request for Awakening is that it boasts an improved framerate, as the PlayStation 3 version was sometimes difficult to play thanks to its often poor framerate. Look for Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening to arrive this March.