Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Previews

EA and BioWare have apparently begun their PR push for Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, as four hands-on previews of the expansion pack hit the Internet earlier today.

First up is IGN:
How much content can you expect in Awakening? It seems like everything is getting an upgrade. You'll find new class specializations, new skills, an increased level cap, plenty of new items, and obviously new quests, enemies to kill, and areas to explore. It's also firmly rooted in the fiction of the game world, as Fernando Melo, online producer for Dragon Age, explained. "We spent a lot of years developing the world of Dragon Age, and Awakening has a very defined place of what it's trying to reveal both geographically but also in terms of storytelling and timeline it fits into. Awakening is something that is a massive way to add not just a chapter to the story, but a volume, like a new book to the world. But each of the downloadable content types, even down to the really small items, will usually be very rich with lore or they'll foreshadow other things that are to come. Eventually these things converge and paint a much bigger picture."

Then we head over to GameSpot:
After hacking our way through several alpha genlocks and hurlocks, we managed to rescue Sigurd, a bitter dwarf burglar who had been part of a previous war party sent to curtail the darkspawn threat. Apparently, her comrades were overwhelmed and she fled. As the only survivor, she was captured and was in the process of being dragged away--as she suggested, perhaps as part of a sinister plot to seize women to breed more darkspawn--when we cut down her captors. Despite her earlier act of cowardice, she was eager to join our party and seek revenge. We were given the chance to change our party by adding her, but we declined in favor of using both mages to blast our foes to bits, and we descended further into the city. A dying dwarf warned us about the "children," one of the expansion's new types of enemy--slimy creatures that spawn from darkspawn brood mothers--though sadly we weren't able to tangle with them, since we had another engagement with the Queen of the Blackmarsh.

Before stopping by 1UP:
In the meantime, the Warrior possesses abilities with catchy names like "Massacre" ("spin in an arc of death," the description reads) while seemingly becoming much better at tanking. The Warrior I'm using sports a wicked-looking set of armor, and is able to lock down a horde of Darkspawn basically on his own. When the rest of my party accidentally wipe in a later section of the demo, he is able to stay on his feet and crush a pack of foes with his new abilities. By contrast, Alistair always seemed to be the first to go down while playing through Origins.

And then we finish things up at Destructoid:
In my hands-on time with the game, I played as the new Grey Warden, Velanna and Anders. The preview build was about six hours into the game, and I found myself in a dungeon where some Darkspawn creatures were ganging up on a female warrior. After my team saved her, she tells of how her group of warriors were obliterated when they tried to invade the castle the Darkspawn are holed up in nearby. You're given the choice to bring her to your team, but seeing as how this was literally the first time I ever played Dragon Age, I made the mistake of leaving her behind and went on my merry way.