The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard DLC Review

Skyrim_Dawnguard
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Bethesda Game Studios logoMore than a year after the release of Skyrim, the game is still going strong, and it’s one of my favorite games. One of the ways Bethesda is keeping Skyrim fresh is through a batch of DLC, which has recently taken the form of Hearthfire and Dawnguard. I’ve prepared short reviews of both in anticipation that people will be interested in hearing about each of them. This is my Dawnguard DLC review; the Hearthfire review is located here.

Dawnguard is much more substantial add-on than Hearthfire, adding on a full storyline centered on a war between the vampires and the Dawnguard. You can choose which side you’re on, so I chose to join the titular Dawnguard to appease my Twilight-inspired distaste for vampires. In addition to the new main storyline, several other interesting side quests and new dungeons were added as well. In all honesty though, I was sold on one aspect of the DLC alone: YOU CAN SMITH ARROWS. SOLD!

Aside from the arrow smithing, Bethesda has also added in a new weapon: a crossbow. The crossbow, which falls under the Archery perk tree, is very satisfying to use, with a fast and hard-hitting first hit. The downside is that it takes longer to reload than the other archery sets.

Also, among the NPCs added from the Dawnguard DLC was a Face Sculptor. This creepily named NPC is found in Ragged Flagon, the hangout of the Thieves’ Guild, and exists if you want to change your character’s appearance. Honestly, I’m not sure how necessary this is, considering how little you actually see your character’s face. But hey, to each his own.

The Dawnguard quests also help to put the “scrolls” in “Elder Scrolls,” adding a few more to find such as one that you see on the back of Serana, a vampire who actually cooperates with you despite the fact that she’s the daughter of the vampire leader, Lord Harkon. I find her character interesting; meaning the effort into her character development is pleasantly noticed. However, at times when she is your follower, she talks just a little too much.

The world of Skyrim is also expanded through this DLC to show you the Soul Cairn, where souls that have been trapped tend to linger. In that dreary world you gain another named dragon to summon, Durnehviir. Without giving away too much more of this storyline, I’ll just say that as much as I love Skyrim (and my loss of sleep since November 2011 is a tribute to that love), the ending seemed a little, well, anti-climactic. So, adding in more quest lines, more random battles and more reason to wander around Skyrim is definitely a good thing.

Considering that the first year I played Skyrim I played the buggy PS3 version, it feels like a treat to play new Skyrim content without lag and constant glitches. I can’t speak for other players, but I haven’t had any major glitches with Dawnguard. And heck, even if there were some glitches, I tend to think that I would be able to overlook them due to the outstanding content Bethesda added to Skyrim via the Dawnguard DLC.

Score: 9.5

- Amber Taylor

Platform reviewed: Xbox 360

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