Really, it was just about perfect.
Sadly, I have to assume that this is all we will see of Alistair in Awakening. But that's okay. It will hold me for now. The story is interesting, and I am reasonably intrigued by the new characters so far. Speaking of whom...
Anders: Well, I don't know. It's probably unfair of me, since I started DA:A immediately after wrapping up my DA:O replay, but within five minutes of meeting Anders, I already missed Alistair. Maybe he isn't quite meant to be Alistair-light, but it's hard not to make comparisons: a handsome blond outsider, saved from the templars by Conscription into the Wardens, with a penchant for sarcasm and answering serious questions with jokes? What else am I supposed to think? On the other hand, I am a sucker for a man who likes cats, and he seems to hint at a much darker personality than Alistair's, so I'm content to see what direction his character takes.
Nathanial: The character I find most intriguing so far, particularly his conflict between anger at his family's downfall and being uncomfortable with what his father actually did. He seems pretty unclear on the details of Rendon Howe's treachery, so I suspect a hard reveal is coming up soon. I like the parallels between him and Aeducan, in terms of the family issues they've dealt with, and if romance were a factor in Awakening (I can't actually tell yet whether the game is going to go there), I think he's the one I'd find most interesting. Although I also find it kind of funny -- dialogue options for my Warden to flirt with people keep popping up (including a pretty obvious one with Anders almost right away), and yet she's already involved with someone. You remember him, the king of Ferelden? There's a plot bunny brewing in there somewhere...
Oghren: I hadn't expected to care about having him back -- he wasn't exactly my favorite character in Origins. On the other hand, the familiar face in Vigil's Keep was a welcome sight at that particular moment, and his choice to join the Wardens brings him some interesting depth.
Mhairi: It bothers me that the only female companion -- and the only pure fighter female companion in either game, to this point -- died almost right away. From a storytelling perspective, it made a lot of sense that not all of the initial recruits would survive the Joining, and it adds poignancy that the one who was most dedicated to the idea of serving is the one who died. Still, if my Warden weren't female, I'd have no option but to run an all-male party for what seems, so far, to be a pretty significant chunk of the story. I'm assuming more companions will be along once I'm out of the city, so let's hope this gets rectified soon. My thoughts on the women of Dragon Age are complicated, and still brewing; look for a post on that someday, I hope.
As for the story, it feels like it's just getting started. For half an RPG (reports are that Awakening takes about 20 hours to finish), there are an awful lot of moving pieces. So maybe it'll be more complex than I expected. We shall see.
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