Spoilers for the first couple hours maybe under the cut. Basically I'll discuss the stuff the.. first area, and the main city, but not any of the stuff that you can then go do in various orders, because I don't want to be all spoilypants for that if people are taking them in different orders. K? K. And I'll try to be at least somewhat vague about quests and stuff in case some people haven't found/finished them yet.
First off: I still miss my damn dog! I cannot fathom why they do not let you bring him! And even his codex entry is screwed up - checking under characters, there's just a blank spot in the spot where "dog" would fall alphabetically, and it has his info if you select it, but it doesn't have his name! Oops?
I also still miss Zevran. Damnit. I mean, even if they wanted to be all lazy and not figure out a way to bring your romantic interests along and yet not have them be crucial to the plot, they could have at least mentioned *something* about wtf is going on with all these suddenly-missing nookie-providers!
On the bright side, the new characters in this early part are interesting enough, even if it's a total sausage-fest. Although I got off to a bit of a rocky start with Nathaniel, he's quickly becoming one of my favorites, and we're actually getting along well now. I just pictured him as a more melee fighter type though (I guess it was that talk of taking four Wardens to subdue him, I mean, you just don't picture that from an archer! Plus it was like mage mage offensive fighter at that point, blah) So I screwed up his spec a bit, and should probably go back through and re-do it.
Anders is just cool. And his "special" gift (I don't know if you can get more than one in this game or not) just is Made Of Awesome. Seriously. But I like his personality. He's sorta like Alistair, but a bit more twisted.
And Oghren is... himself. Yeah. Good for some laughs, I would have rather had Zev or my dog back, but he's better than some of the other options! And I'll admit, he's actually made me laugh out loud a few times.
Hrm, let's see. The city is... maybe a bit disappointing, since at least Denerim had a few sections. Not horrible, though. Everything just seems.. compressed though. The city, the quests, the character-getting-to-knowing... makes sense I guess since it's an expansion, but I just hate actually *feeling* it.
Also not liking that we can't just talk to our characters whenever, but the character interaction is still better than just about any other game, so... I guess I can't complain too much? The party banter rocks again, anyhow.
Oh, and it's good to see Herren and Wade again. I expected Herren to be much pissier about seeing me as Commander of the Grey! (That is an *awesome* title to have, by the way. I just love the sound of it for some reason!) I mean, considering that he refused to even take my money by the end of the main game. But now he's... still slightly bitchy, but otherwise OK with me, so... whatever! I will totally miss "Enchantment!" for enchanting, though!
Also enjoying that I'm actually having to, y'know, do some governing-of-a-province type stuff since I *am* a noble now, technically. (An elf *and* mage *and* Grey Warden as a noble, with an assassin as her consort, I bet the bannorn just LOVE that!) And it's even better than there are cases where there's no one real "right" answer! This is the sorta meaty stuff I like, Bioware!
Anyhow, I think I've blathered on enough, and I don't want to continue on until I take the train into Spoiler Station, so... I'll jump off now!
Anyhow, my non-spoilery semi-review opinion thingy so far: Pretty good so far! Don't know if it'll be worth the money altogether (since it's an expansion priced almost as much as a normal game), but... it's fun! Not *quite* as good as Dragon Age itself so far, but then, what is?