Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC Review

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A vampire expansion pack to sink your teeth in

“The problem with Skyrim, is that there’s just not enough to do” is a quote that has never been said and never will be. This is due to the almost endless amount of missions spread across a huge map – you’re unlikely to ever run out of things to do in this epic RPG. So a hefty chunk of DLC with even more things to do and places to explore may seem a little daunting, even to seasoned Skyrim folk. Thankfully, Dawnguard is worth the inital panic.

It can be activated like many other Skyrim missions – listening in on guard conversations, a note from a courier or speaking to the local innkeeper.  The main plot here is thus: Vampires are attacking cities in Skyrim under the command of Lord Harkon who’s aim is to fulfil an ancient prophecy told in an Elder Scroll to destroy the sun. This in turn would unleash an unstoppable vampire hoard. On the other side of this are the Dawnguard, whose job it is to stop Lord Harkon at all costs. You? Well you get to decide which side wins.

New missions consist mainly of fights through dungeons and caves that you’re probably used to by now. The twist is that there  are new enemies lurking behind every turn. Gargoyles, frost giants and the insect-like chaurus hunters will keep the combat fresh.

  • As a vampire you become very powerful, but you can’t open chests or even doors

Additonal areas are kind of hit and miss though. The Soul Cairn, a realm of oblivion, is a decent sized landscape, but much of it’s rather barren. You’ll find a small amount of NPCs to chat to, but fights are too few and far between in this place.  It barely has anything of interest, which is disappointing considering how large it is and it’s a damn pain to traverse. However, The Forgotten Vale is beautiful and filled with wintry forests, crashing waterfalls and a huge frozen lake where you’ll have a pretty spectacular battle.

The biggest change in Dawnguard is the opportunity to turn into a vampire lord. Alas, the blood sucker guise is unique, but it comes with a set of problems too. As a vampire you become very powerful, but you can’t open chests or even doors so you’ll sometimes get stuck in corridors. That’s quite the oversight by Bethesda.

There are new perk trees for vampires and werewolves to complete, which should make being either creature more rewarding. Add to this the ability to finally be able to craft dragon bone weapons, the horse mounted combat system and a host of new followers, spells, weapons and dragon shouts and you’ve got a very worthy addition to your Skyrim experience. Panic over, just enjoy this tasty add-on.