Skyrim: Hearthfire (Xbox 360) Review
Rachel Gray / Sep 5th, 2012 11 Comments
Skyrim: Hearthfire was released yesterday on the Xbox 360 and will be exclusive to the console for 30 days.
Hearthfire is the second DLC released for Skyrim and is available on Xbox Live for 400 Microsoft Points ($5). PS3 and PC players are still in the dark for their Hearthfire release date and, as Gaming Illustrated reported last month, PS3 players are concerned they may not receive any DLC for Skyrim at all. Being an Xbox 360 owner I was able to immediately access this new content and spent an entire day of my real life building my cooler fake life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed playing house in Hearthfire. Before this DLC I was a lonely nomad roaming the forests of Skyrim and routinely launching arrows into the throats of my enemies. I was without purpose and since the death of my friend Kharjo, without companionship. It wasn’t until I made my weekly visit to Solitude that I received a letter from the Jarl of Falkreath requesting my audience. It’s the letters from jarls that activate the Hearthfire content. Depending on where you travel or how you encounter a courier, your letter from a Jarl may differ. My letter came from Falkreath and after I met with Jarl Siddgeir I purchased a plot of land and began to build. Other players have reported buying land in The Pale and Hjaalmarch regions as well.
[adsense250itp]So what does a Dovahkiin do once he or she has bought land? A word from the wise, prepare to stock up on a lot of iron ingots. Hearthfire is all about accumulating and implementing resources and the major resource is iron. From smithing nails, locks, hinges, and iron fittings, your Dovahkiin is sure to go through a heinous amount of iron. Building your Hearthfire home is also incredibly expensive. If you haven’t already secured infinite amounts of wealth through treasure hunting or thievery, you’re going to want to save up your coins. What resources you can’t get yourself (lumber, glass, etc) quickly become expensive, especially if you’re wanting to design a decorative Dovahkiin dwelling. With the money issue addressed, there are many different ways to construct your home. If you’re like me and prefer the quiet, inconspicuous life you can build a small, one room home with pleasant amenities. My unparalleled archer resides in a quaint home that is surrounded by my garden, stable, and apiary (for bees!). Or, for you grandiose folk, you can build a monstrous mansion with a main hall and (if you so desire) three additional wings. There are nine room additions to choose from, including a library, an alchemy laboratory, an enchanter’s tower, a greenhouse, an armory, and more. I suspect a popular wing addition will be the trophy room where Dragonborns can showcase some taxidermied prizes. I chose to put a gigantic stuffed cow on display. Don’t worry, if you’re not into the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous you can choose a minimalist approach to your interior decorating. However, if you’re into opulence there are plenty of sabre tooth cat heads to be hung.
Once my heart and soul had laid the floors and secured the rafters, I decided to fill my humble abode with the sound of family. I married Balimund from Riften and adopted two unfortunate children wandering the snowy streets of distant towns. In Hearthfire you have the option to adopt two children. At first, I thought this “parenting” perk was pretty lame. However, I fell fast in love with my new husband and kids. My daughter is adorable and compliments my maternal practices and my son told me he collected goodies in a chest in his room and, because of my kindness, I was welcome to take any of his findings. He had collected some hawk feathers and laffy taffy. Awesome. I love my kids. I may shout dragons from the sky and slay their priests but I am a family woman at heart; a lethal leader-of-the-Dark-Brotherhood family woman. Not everything is perfect at home, however. My estate is accustomed to being attacked by giants, wolves, and bears. I also found a necromancer performing some dark arts on a skeleton while admiring my homestead’s “lake view.”
It’s obvious I found the gameplay of Hearthfire to be engaging, entertaining, and offering a new perspective in which to view my character. I was preoccupied with the DLC the entire day and did nothing but build, farm, and play hide-and-seek with my kids. Unfortunately, Hearthfire is not without its glitches. Objects in the house, even objects put there by the game, are liable to catapult out of their bookshelves or fly off of the table. It is not unusual to come home to find the bowl that you had spent 20 minutes filling with cheese had magically exploded across the room. This decorative defect was annoying because it made it difficult to personalize my home. I also frequently fell through the staircases in my main hall. I experienced a substantial glitch with Honorhall Orphanage. My previous Dark Brotherhood activities had made it impossible to adopt children from the orphanage as the current “administrator” wouldn’t quit running away from me. Other players have reported glitches in finding couriers to activate the DLC and finding the appropriate merchants for specific resources. Despite its downfalls Hearthfire was a lot of fun and certainly worth the $5.00.
We have all come to expect stellar graphics from Bethesda Softworks. Considering how expansive and diverse Skyrim gameplay can be, the graphics deserve high praise. Nothing about Hearthfire’s graphics are disappointing but instead deliver the same amount of tedious detail and creativity we love. From the tablecloths on the dining tables to the ridiculous looking goat-head wall dressings, Bethesda delivers again and again.
Hearthfire is Fus Ro FUN! Not only was constructing my perfect Tamriel hideaway exciting but filling the halls with family made it all worthwhile. Once, before I had furnished my cellar, my son informed me he was afraid of the basement and thought there “was something down there.” Naturally I ignored my 12 year old’s concerns because all 12 year olds are afraid of basements. However, when I later entered the cellar, I was attacked by a horde of rats. It’s small story pieces like that that really add to the quality of gameplay. I also appreciated having to protect my homestead from wandering vandals or hungry forest beasts. I even found a giant in my garden after returning from a lengthy cave cleansing.
Although it has its glitches, raising a family and pretending to be a domesticated Dragonborn in Hearthfire was terribly fun. This Skyrim DLC offers a lot of opportunity to customize your Tamriel lifestyle and make your character more unique. Without question, I feel like I got more than $5.00 worth of gameplay and don’t regret purchasing the content. Try out Hearthfire today and let us know how you handled home life in the comment section below!
tags: review , skyrim