Awakening – Architect and Mother

Well here it is, the last Dragon Age: Origins game review article on the expansion pack Awakening. I can’t believe I’m already finished it, I was expecting it to last just as long as I was on the main game. It even said on Origin that it would be 80 more hours… LIES! Anyway, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy this DLC, in fact I did. Once I sat down to write about it however, I had no idea how I was going to do it because I felt like this was a mini version of the main story with new characters and a major plot.

So, why not review it the same way I did for the main game? It just won’t be as lengthy this time, so let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns!)

Taking place six months after the battle of Denerim, we return now Commander of the Grey Wardens. Once again, I was able to import my elven mage Warden one last time. You’d think that with the Archdemon dead, the remaining darkspawn would have gone back underground, but nope. Instead they continue to attack cities and now there are reports of darkspawn that have somehow become sentient and they can talk. That is obviously not new to me since I’ve already met Corypheus! Basically the darkspawn are now smarter thanks to the ones that talk and are still a grave threat.

We take command of Vigil’s Keep and recruit new companions to join us plus find out what the darkspawn are up to. Nothing has changed, but there are a few new characters like Sigrun, Velanna, Anders, Nathaniel, and Justice. I didn’t like how Anders kept running away from the Circle, but I gave him a kitten which he named Ser Pounce-a-Lot which was the cutest moment in this DLC. When you select the kitty, Anders talks to him and he meows but also has a reviving effect in combat. Oghren also returns too and I briefly saw Wynne in Amaranthine.

Justice was another interesting character as while in the Blackmarsh, we get briefly stuck in the Fade and meet him as a spirit. After helping him, he inhabits the body of the dead Kristoff in the physical world. After the battle is won, he approaches Kristoff’s wife and departs the body returning to the Fade so she can now leave her husband to rest. He was a useful warrior who helped me in the final battle.

When I decided to go to the Wending Wood first, I eventually met this sentient darkspawn, the Architect and I was instantly reminded of Corypheus. He was also a high priest, but of a different Old God: Urthemiel who also went to enter the Golden City with the other priests, including Sethius (who Corypheus used to be called), but when they were both tainted and cast back, the Architect forgot about his previous life. There appears to be a civil war between the sides: the Architect and the Mother: a sentient broodmother. The Architect wishes to free darkspawn in a process similar to the Joining, only this time they drink blood of the Grey Wardens. I had my sympathy for him at first how unlike Corypheus, he wasn’t as arrogant and experimented on Urthemiel in hopes to carry out his plan. Unfortunately, that experiment failed, Urthemiel became tainted and the Fifth Blight began.
I chose to kill him and he certainly didn’t go down without a fight, but now that I look back at it while writing this, I kind of wish I let him live. He sounded clearly apologetic that he never meant to start the Blight so next time I will spare him!

Amaranthine was a big city with a lot of things to do, and for some reason, when I was tracking down a bunch of thugs, the guards got mad at me for getting involved with smugglers which I don’t even recall doing anything for them. I prepared Vigil’s Keep as best as I could for any invasion, including sealing off the underground and then I realized that I should have recruited Justice last, because after helping Sigrun, I couldn’t get her Joining done because already the Keep was under attack! I chose to protect it and Amaranthine unfortunately burned to the ground.

Having twelve boobs does not make you beautiful.

I’ve seen broodmothers before, but this is what sentient ones look like. Unlike the Architect, the Mother as they call her wishes to return to the call of the Old Gods after the Architect freed her. From that release, she suddenly remembered all the pain she went through that led to her mutation which drove her mad. She seemingly desired to return the Calling perhaps to forget about it again. Unlike most broodmothers, she also births these grubby creatures known as the Children, and even though they are small, I hated fighting them as they can easily swarm, knock you down, and try to eat you. I couldn’t wait to kill her but then again, I have bad memories fighting broodmothers since the Dead Trenches.

Once again I was in panic mode fighting her. If there is one thing I’ve learned with fighting broodmothers, is that it’s harder to used ranged attackers. When I had to kill the high dragon outside the nest, I had to keep moving myself, and the other two ranged fighters to keep them spread out while Justice had to stay away from the mouth. But here, oh no, it’s harder to spread out your team with broodmothers, especially this one due to all the tentacles popping up everywhere along with her Children. I thought I was going to lose this battle: her tentacles kept knocking us down and her Children surrounding us. But surprisingly, when I kept taking both those things out, I was eventually able to direct my team to focus on her until she fell.
The moment she died, the game immediately cut to the epilogue texts. There was no cutscene of my Warden returning to the Keep. So, it turns out most of my companions were never seen or heard from again, and like I said, I thought it was sad but sweet what happened to Justice. He was true to his word on vengeance and promised not to inhabit Kristoff’s body forever. The final fate of my Warden appears to be that she was Commander for quite some time, but with the remainder of the darkspawn going back underground, it is assumed that she left and reunited with her lover Alistair. After that, no one knows. Although, I do imagine the two of them eventually settling down if that’s what they want to do.
So that’s it, I’m done with Origins, well, for now at least. Still considerably darker and gorier than Inquisition and now Origins is my second favourite in this trilogy. Challenging but definitely worthy of replay. Next time, I think I’ll try a rogue or warrior and romance Zevran, but for now, it’s time to move on to Dragon Age II. Of all the game reviews I’ve done here, I’m enjoying the ones of this franchise the most. Normally what I have done is reflect back on the game I’ve played, even if I haven’t played in a while, and write my thoughts from what I know. But here, instead I’m playing each game and then writing about it. It’s much more fun that way!
I think I’ll start the next game this weekend and I have no idea what I’ll build, so we’ll see what can be done!

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