Revisiting Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate EditionJust before New Year, I gave in to a huge temptation that was bugging me for roughly a month or so: I bought Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition for Xbox 360.

I actually didn’t want to get DA:O for Xbox 360 because I figured would have difficulty adjusting to the controls, which were easy as pie on PC (especially for someone like me, who played Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2). I honestly had no idea how that was going to translate to the console version of the game.

I was right about it being difficult, but it wasn’t so bad… though I did start playing on “Casual” mode just to get a feel of things first. The number of skills you can dish out is more limited thanks to the fewer shortcut keys, but other than that, it really wasn’t anything to worry about.

No matter how many times I’ve played DA:O, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. So many options to explore, so many memorable and amusing dialogues between the characters… it would only be better if the player characters were fully voiced and had more facial expressions than just 😐 and :-o.

Unfortunately, the expansions and DLCs were kind of… disappointing. A brief rundown of what I thought:

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

  • Warden’s Keep: Yay, new gear! Yeah, that was really all I got excited about for this one. It was interesting to find out more about the Grey Warden’s history, but it was both too short and too boring for me.
  • The Stone Prisoner: I love Shale, even though “it” would probably squash me like a bug if I said so in its face. I think this is a great addon because Shale makes for an awesome tank for my morally ambiguous (read: EVIL) Wardens who are definitely not on good terms with Alistair.
  • Return to Ostagar: Aaagh. I was in tears when I saw what the darkspawn did to King Cailan. And then I was in rage mode the whole way while slaughtering the darkspawn who stole his armor. Damn darkspawn. Setting my emotional distress aside, this DLC provides a wicked set of armor and arms for Alistair (or your Warrior player character, though I honestly didn’t have the heart to equip it on anyone else). In this DLC you also acquire Ducan’s dagger and sword, which I happily equipped onto my duelist rogue for maximum pwnage.
  • Leliana’s Song: I’m sorry, I don’t even think that that little mess involving Marjolaine even necessitated a separate DLC. If they had set it in Orlais, or had just a few bits of the story playing out in Orlais, then maybe I’d be more interested. I still think doing a DLC for Zevran’s last mission before getting assigned to kill the Warden would have been infinitely more interesting. Alas, I suppose this DLC was a way to keep the fanboys coming back for more (the suggestive lesbian scenes between Leliana and Marjolaine say it all).
  • Witch Hunt: That… that was it? I thought this DLC was meant to give some closure to everyone who wondered what happened to Morrigan and the baby, but that open-ended ending just gave me even more things to worry about. Where’s the kid? What happened to Finn and Ariane afterward? How did Morrigan manage to retain her figure after giving birth? I need answers, dammit.
  • Golems of Amgarrak: I’m definitely not fond of this one. It’s amusing to have a freaking bronto in your party, sure, but an all-brawn party composed of two dwarves, a bronto, a golem, and my city elf rogue? No magic? Are you kidding me? Oh sure, I can easily import one of my mages to use as a healer/magic damager, but come on!
  • Darkspawn Chronicles: I haven’t tried this out yet, but I can’t say I’m that excited about playing as a darkspawn. Especially after that rage they put me in when I was playing retrieving King Cailan’s armor.
  • Feastday Gifts/Pranks: I totally abused the +50 approval Feastday gifts from this DLC pack, but haven’t attempted to use the Feastday pranks yet. I’ll probably do so with my psycho-mage who hates everyone except Zevran, Shale, Morrigan, and the Dog.
  • Awakening: Ahh. This expansion was fun. It was great to have a new party and a whole arsenal of new subclasses and skills to fling at those damned darkspawn. I wish it could’ve lasted longer, to be completely honest. Also, I wish that they made Nathaniel Howe look… I don’t know, a little less like his dad? His voice is awesome and he’s definitely my favorite companion for this expansion, but his face…yikes. He reminds me of so much of his dad that I was turning away from the screen when his face was show up close at some point.

So all in all, is the Ultimate Edition worth it’s price? Yes, I can say it is, especially since I’d have spent more if I had purchased all the add-ons and the Awakening expansion separately. This edition has a lot of content in one package, regardless of how disappointed I was with most of the add-ons.

And it was nice to romance Alistair and Zevran (separately, of course!) once more. ♄

 

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