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Thankless Answers: Statement 19 Sam's avatar
Dragon Age: Awakenings is a strange one. Containing too many new quests to be offered as downloadable content but lacking the scope to be released as a full sequel, Bioware's latest instalment of role playing action is probably best described as an expansion pack. Providing owners of Dragon Age: Origins with a host of new specialisations, spells and talents, players will again venture into the world of Tedas in order to aid with the revival of the Grey Wardens and their investigation into why the Darkspawn weren't on the first bus home.

Regardless of whether you are a PC devotee, a Xbox 360 aficionado or a PlayStation 3 fanatic, any true Dragon Age stalwarts will be interested in the subject matter of today's Thankless Answer as it's a topic close to everyone's heart. Money money money.

Question: How Should I Purchase Dragon Age: Awakenings?

Answer: At the store, unless you have more money than sense.

Although on the surface this doesn't seem particularly controversial, if you have a look at the exact differential in pricing, there's definitely something a bit suspect going on here.

Store: £14.99 ~ $23.00
Digital Download: £19.99 ~ $30.00

Xbox 360
Store: £24.99 ~ $38.00
Digital Download: 3200 MS Points ~ £27.00 ~ £40.00

PlayStation 3
Store: $39.99 (NTSC Regions Only)
Digital Download: £31.99 ~ $48.00

Yep, that's right, if you own the indisputably inferior console version of the game, you can expect to pay over 50% more for that privilege.

It's really quite amazing that in this day and age, publishers can think they will get away with fleecing their customers in such an transparent way. I just can't see any logic in having to pay so much for a version of the game where you don't need a disc to be burnt or a paper manual to be printed or a box to be assemble or a distribution network to get it to you. Are they really so short sighted that they assume that gamers, customarily one of the most computer and Internet savvy demographics, are not going to shop around, see the extent of the discrepancy and write angry articles on their web site about it?

In some ways, I am more forgiving towards Steam and PlayStation Network because at least they are being forward about the pricing of the expansion pack and it's a lot easier to make a comparison. These feelings do not extend to Xbox LIVE however as in situations such a these, the Microsoft points scheme feels like it has been put in place purposely to shroud price comparison in a air of mystery.

I recently heard about someone who is trying to take Microsoft to court over the way their points system encourages people to spend more than they need to, by selling games for strange denominations and I imagine scenarios such as this do little to help their case. I'm fully aware that at the end of the day, the aim of any company is to make money, I just wish that publishers would try and do so by building up brand loyalty rather than trying to convince poor old Granny to spend her savings on a stair lift for her bungalow.

Monetisation aside though, however you decide to get it, you should get it.

With God Of War 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Yakuza 3 and Heavy Raid now in stores, Dragon Age: Awakenings could be easily forgotten amid this barrage of 'Triple A' titles, but despite some heavy competition, Bioware's fantasy extravaganza shouldn't be overlooked. Despite sporting some flaws indicative of a rushed console port, Dragon Age: Origins oozed with charm in the story telling department and if this expansion pack is anywhere near the quality of its predecessor, it'll be worth every penny.

Well, if you buy it from that store that is.

Tags: bioware, dragon-age, dragon-age-awakenings, psn, sam, steam, thankless-answers, xbl
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