So yesterday was a pretty big day for Awakening news with 2 gameplay videos and another character revealed.  Once again, we see more shots of Oghren (the dwarf from Origins) included in these videos so there are theories that he’s the character who rolls over from Origins.  I really hope it is not him and that they’re just teasing us, but we shall see.  Overall, I really don’t think there’s a bad choice (other then maybe Sten) for the returning character but my favorites would be Morrigan, Alistair, Leliana, or Zevran.  Heck, even having the dog return would be fun :)  Whatever they decide, I do hope there’s some tie in a codex (their version of a deed log) entry or some other in-game mechanism to learn about our previous companions.

First off, 2 new reviews are up as both Destructoid.com and Gamespot.com were given a chance to play through some of the game.  Both reviews are somewhat similar and mention that Awakenings really isn’t about any specific feature but more amping up what we all loved about Origins.  There’s some discussion on some of the new surprises from the various mobs as well as some new tricks up the sleeves of our characters.  But overall, there really isn’t all that much new information coming out of these reviews.

For me the real exciting new things were out of the gameplay footage.  You can find the videos over on GreyWardens.com and while there is some footage we’ve already seen there’s some really interesting new pieces.  Mixed in with the gameplay is some more shots of the new areas which do look very cool – not that I’d expect anything different as I quite enjoyed the look and feel of Origins.  So far, the two main classes we’ve seen announced have been mage-types so it was cool to see some of the new spells in all their glory.  There’s a number of AoE spells and I’m curious how that will impact your party as Dragon Age has the concept of friendly fire.  Many of the AoE spells I’m real careful with as my party members aren’t always out of range ;)  The is also a bit at the start of the 1st video with some melee action and a skill that reminds me of the warrior skill from drinking the blood that’s an AoE knockback.

And finally we get introduced to Sigrun who’s a member of the Legion of the Dead.  Some interesting back-story as well as some more cool footage in the videos.  We do get to see her in battle, but nothing new or exciting from a skill perspective other then she’s a dual-wielding warrior type.

So far, I’m pretty happy with the direction they’ve taken our new companions as it really has opened up the expanse of this world.  Instead of just bringing in new Grey Warden recruits from Ferelden we’re gathering people from a much broader area.  Also, the new skills and spells are looking pretty cool such that we will truly feel like we’re getting more powerful!  I am curious to see if they’ll balance things out a bit more such that magic isn’t as overpowered as it is in Origins.

I haven’t pre-ordered this, but certainly am planning on buying this expansion as it really is shaping up to be pretty impressive!  Now granted, if they toss out some deals or incentives to pre-order I might change my mind but there really is no driver to buy now as opposed to waiting till the release.  Especially since their previous update was delayed by over 3 months.

And yes, I’ll be back to more LOTRO news – but I was pretty excited about this news :)