Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Distributor: Bethesda Softworks
Unique Elements: Single Player RPG
Series: The Elder Scrolls
Systems: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 5, 2013 (PC Release)
Estimated Play Length: 20+ hours
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Reviewed by: Chris Young
Final Score: 4.5 Moons (Out of 5)
Skyrim ‘s Dragonborn is the third and final DLC planned for the 2011 Game of the Year. Once again players take the role of the Dragonborn–or “Dovahkiin”–in a battle against an ancient evil to secure the future of Skyrim. So grab your Imperial Sword and tighten that Stormcloak Cuirass because we’re headed back to Tamriel.
An ancient evil has arisen on the island of Solsthiem. Strange monuments have begun to ensnare the native people, controlling their minds, forcing them to construct mysterious structures across the island. The first Dragonborn, Miraak, has returned and seeks to escape the Daedric realm of Apocrypha and enter the mortal plane. Only you, the last Dragonborn, can defeat him.
To do so you will have to traverse Solsthiem. There are dozens of caves, ruins, tombs and forts to quest in or just explore;in addition, there are three villages that serve as primary points to find work. After spending hours upon hours playing, I have still not seen everything Solsthiem has to offer. The main quest will take you from the ash falls and forests in the south to the high mountain peaks in the far north.Other new quests will thrust you into the heart of a murder plot in Raven Rock or lead the Dragonborn to the source of the icy ore Stalhrim–enabling skilled Blacksmiths to forge weapons and armor from the exceedingly rare substance.
In addition to questing and exploring Solsthiem, there are a plethora of new items, abilities and shouts to discover. Smiths will be able to craft new armor sets and weapons including Bonemold and Stalhrim. Dragon slayers will find new dragon temples and word walls across the island to complete the potent Dragon Aspect shout. Gem veins litter the landscape and pop up frequently in caves and fortress basements. Dwemer technology makes an appearance as well, including a Dwemer robot companion
There are some quests and enemies exclusively for higher level players, as well, including a treasure hunt that unlocks starting at level 36. Fans of Morrowind will be pleased to discover several familiar creatures and items including the Netch, who will float benignly until attacked, and the miniature Reiklings–goblins who ride boars into battle.
Despite all the amazing things that this expansion does right, one of the most iconic and anticipated features of this DLC is, unfortunately, the most underwhelming. I found myself rather disappointed in the Dragon Riding feature. Sure, it sounds awesome on paper, the ability to fly your own dragon ala the Dragonriders of Pern, but, for me, the implementation fell on its face. One of the largest reasons for this is because dragon attacks are very weak. In the time it takes to clear out a small group of enemies with my flying firework fountain of a dragon, the Dragonborn could ‘ve cleared an entire camp with only a sword and still had time to spare. Further, you don ‘t so much fly the dragon as give it vague orders and watch it (sometimes) do what you intended. You can use magic and shouts from the dragon’s back (but not bows for some reason), which did me little good as a melee character.
The Lovecraftian influences of the Daedric realm of Apocrypha will resonate well with our audience. A small sect of Werewolves make an appearance in the northern caves as well. If you chose that path earlier in the game, you can augment beast mode further in their camp. Most of all, everyone here at DGM should love the amazing amount of customization that goes into every character. No two are alike and you can be whatever you want to be.
Dragonborn is by far the best of the DLC packs that Skyrim has to offer. Having a whole new landmass to explore is wonderfully refreshing and is more than enough reason to return to Tamriel. I fell in love with Skyrim all over again playing this expansion and I guarantee any other fan of the series will as well.
Presentation: 4.5 Moons (out of Five)
Gameplay: 4.5 Moons (out of Five)
Gothic Fit: 5.0 Moons (out of Five)
Final Score: 4.5 Moons (out of Five)