Had it been a book, I’d have read it in one sitting. Had it been a movie, I’d have watched it without blinking. As a role-playing game, the story was infused with a sense of immediacy unique to the medium, gaining much and losing nothing. There are very, very few games in my not so modest gaming experience for which I could say the same. Even in the face of considerable expectations I had, based on the surprisingly positive reactions of the RPG community, Mask of the Betrayer stood its ground as a rare and superb experience.
Awakening is an expansion for Dragon Age: Origins (DAO), a single-player fantasy RPG released by Bioware in 2009. DAO takes place in the imaginary world of Thedas, a medieval and highly magical setting with a long and bloody history, where humans, dwarves and elves find themselves united before the threat of a Blight – an invasion of Darkspawn, creatures corrupted by the disease called the Taint, who emerge from underground in massive numbers following the telepathic summons of the Archdemon Urthemiel, a tainted dragon-god of old. The game follows a small group of Gray Wardens, who are an ancient order dedicated to eradicating the Darkspawn, through their efforts to stop the Blight before it reaches catastrophic proportions.
The main qualities of DAO are its engaging, tightly written and well executed story, the cast of interesting and believable characters and exceptional quest design, offering meaningful choices and delivering significant consequences. The game has been well received by both hard-core and casual players and has gained a large fan community, whose hunger for more stories about the Blight, Thedas, the Gray Wardens and the characters of DAO has been amply sated with numerous downloadable extensions, fan-made mods, and a recent announcement of a sequel.
I enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins very much. So much, in fact, that I played it twice in a row, which has never happened to me before. The game has its share of faults; but for me, they don’t come even close to overshadowing its many virtues.