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Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC Review: Fus Ro Fun

/ Jul 6th, 2012 3 Comments

Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC

Let’s be real, Dawnguard, the downloadable content expansion for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim on XBox 360, is worth the money. It offers multiple hours of new gameplay, new characters, new perks, new everything. It’s not a surprise Bethesda just produced another fantastic story and game add-on, but I really recommend readers check this game out (assuming you aren’t playing it now!).

Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC

I know PS3 and PC gamers aren’t getting the opportunity to play this yet, thus I’ve tried my best to leave out major perks in this review. But take my word for it, this DLC rules and I had a lot of fun being a villain vampire and eating humans. I also increased my overall villainy by reloading an old save point and slaying all of the vampires I’d just befriended. Does this sound fun? Yeah, it’s “FUS RO FUUUN!”

Story

Believe it or not, more chaos has erupted in Skryim. Amidst a civil war and killer ancient dragons, inconsiderate vampires have begun scouring the mountains for human blood. In retaliation, a group of common men and warriors called the Dawnguard have pledged to eviscerate these blood fiends from their Nordic lands. The Dawnguard is led by Isran, a rogue Vigilant of Stendarr recruiting anyone to help end the vampiric threat. But their immortal enemy, the vampire clan of Volkihar, has uncovered a dastardly plan to not only stop the Dawnguard, but eat everyone they know. Without spoiling awesome plot twists, the player’s choices summarize like so: fight alongside your human companions to save Skyrim or help the nightstalkers acquire formidable, world-ending strengths. Be aware, the Lord vampire Harkon will tempt your Skyrim hero to join his cause by offering some considerably badass perks. Meanwhile, diva Isran gives you and everyone else a sassy attitude. Simply put, the Dawnguard DLC is a classic tale of good versus evil with great story surprises and cool additions.

Gameplay

In my personal experience, Dawnguard gameplay was awesome. There were no game glitches and only light lagging in my gameplay. However, some major glitches have been reported by other players. I’ve read multiple forum posts about glitches preventing quest completion or gameplay. Dawnguard is a new DLC and glitches should be anticipated but I suspect Bethesda will release updates and patches for the glitches reported on their forums. Aside from glitches hampering Dawnguard, there are a ton of new additions with the DLC: places, companions, monsters, weapons, armors, shouts. A few personal favorites were Castle Volkihar, gargoyles, and crossbows. Obviously, the crossbow add-on is for ranged combat and caters to people who want to stay the hell away from that giant, angry gargoyle. The crossbow was stronger than my traditional bow, the reload time was faster, and my Dovahkiin looked awesome with it. Archery perks are carried over to the crossbow too, so you’re still just as badass with either bow. Painfully, my bow badassery claimed the life of my longtime and faithful friend, Kharjo. One night while I was clumsily learning how to wield my new weapon and Kharjo was defending us from hungry vampire heathens, the unspeakable happened. On June 27, at 12:28am, my courageous feline companion accidentally cross-stepped into my cross-hairs and was instantly killed by my sneak shot; a bow blow meant for the vampire behind him. After screaming to the heavens, I said my goodbyes and to this day wear his moon amulet around my neck. May Talos guide you, my dear friend Kharjo.

Awesome Dawnguard gargoyle

Anyway, even though the crossbow rules so hard it killed my friend, I’d be willing to bet that the most anticipated and appreciated addition was the face sculptor. The guys over at Bethesda created a character down in Riften’s Ragged Flagon who is capable of reconstructing your hero’s mug. So that heinous overbite that looked so good in pre-Helgen and so bad post-Helgen no longer has to embarrass you! And after spending 1k gold just to change my hair color, I felt lonely and replaced the void of Kharjo with my own personal armored battle troll! Personal battle trolls are new, cute companions but I’m confused as to why I can only tell my “Frank the Battletroll” to sit, come, and “get lost.” He may be a troll but he probably still has feelings. Regardless, I don’t want to spoil too many perks of the DLC for all you PS3 and PC players. Let me just say that Castle Volkihar is really metal on the inside and, if I could, I would have romanced Harkon if he wasn’t 1) evil and 2) crazy.

Graphics

If you’ve been playing Skryim, you’ll see the continuation of its art and mechanics in Dawnguard. For as large and as diverse as Skyrim is, the engine and graphics of Dawnguard are superb. The world Bethesda has created never ceases to amaze me. At some point, every Elder Scrolls player has stopped running through the woods to look up at the breathtaking stars and moons. We’ve all climbed the peaks of mountains to survey the glory of Skyrim and fussed with camera angles to get the perfect view of our characters. We’ve all spent at least 20 minutes picking the meanest face scar for our heroes, only to decide we really can’t decide. The amount of creativity and meticulous detail in Dawnguard is beautifully and intelligently presented. From massive underground cathedrals to the little dangling legs of torchbugs, Bethesda may be the king of bringing art to life. Whenever my Skryim companion gasps at the scenery, quipping he has never seen anything so remarkable, I audibly agree from the front of my television, my eyes glued to the screen. Graphics are gorgeous, smooth, and make me wish Tamriel were real. I think it’s important to appreciate the beauty of Skyrim and the artistic minds who created it for us. There is a real talent embedded in this game and its worth deep admiration. I mean it, the graphics are badass. You have got to play this DLC. My vampire form is siiiick!

Beautiful Dawnguard scenery

Sound

Sound can really make or break a game but it’s no surprise the sound in Dawnguard rules. The instrumental soundtrack is gorgeous as you wander, battle, and shoot fireballs at deer. I think it’s important the art matches the music and both are marvelous in Dawnguard. I heard a few new voices and recognized beloved old ones from previous games. Gargoyles sound super spooky but they’re so cool I would dip into sneak mode, seek one out, and just watch it sulk. The nature sounds are realistic and very calming. Although I’m a deadly, sexy archer I really love sitting by a brook or waterfall to reminisce about my adventures with Kharjo. If I haven’t mentioned this exactly 4 times already, you should definitely invest time and money into this DLC.

Overall

This DLC is expansive and chock full of surprises. Fans and newcomers can feel good paying for this expansion because you can tell Bethesda cares about its gamers. With the story and graphics it’s obvious Bethesda is concerned about making quality, creative, exciting games in which I can lose myself. I feel like Bethesda cares about me and my expectations for their game. What I’m saying is Dawnguard delivers. If you’re hesitant about spending $20 on a DLC, just know that this content gives you a lot more than $20 worth of adventure. I highly recommend Dawnguard and am proud to be racking up its Xbox360 achievements. Thanks and awesome job, Bethesda.

Dedicated to Kharjo, the best friend I ever had and ever accidentally murdered.

Overall Ratings – Skryim Dawnguard DLC (Xbox 360)

Story:

8/10

Gameplay:

7/10

Graphics:

10/10

Sounds:

10/10

OVERALL SCORE:

88%

 

Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray

Content Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Rachel is a game aficionada who lives with her tuxedo cat, Ernest. Some of her favorite things include bears, Chik-fil-a chick-n-minis, White Russians, and Silent Hill 2. When jogging, Rachel attaches her mp3 arm attachment to her wrist and pretends it is a Pip-Boy.
Rachel Gray
Rachel Gray

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  • Laura

    PERSONAL BATTLE TROLL??????? gimme gimme gimme.

  • Alapama

    I accidentally killed my battle troll and have to get a new one! It too stepped in front of my crossbow shot. I had one glitch but was able to fast travel to clear it up. Overall I am very happy with this DLC and agree that Bethesda really put some time and thought into this game. The story does not feel rushed and some of the new armor you can get is awesome! I would have rated the game a little higher but agree with most of your comments, especially about bringing the art to life. The game is unquestionable beautiful. I am also loving the detailed little torch bug legs….so funny.

  • James

    For some reason i got bored with Skyrim, but reading this makes me want to buy it and continue playing. Battle Troll here i come!

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