So, you’ve saved Skyrim from those pesky vampires, you’ve helped the Dawnguard finish their pretty castle or you’ve become the most powerful vampire lord in Tamriel, and you’ve finally built your dream house. What now? Well, have no fear, Bethesda has you covered with their third chunk of DLC, Dragonborn.
It was getting awfully lonely being the only Dragonborn in the joint; even the toughest of opponents seemed slightly trivial once you’d mastered the majority of the dragon shouts and owned almost every daedric weapon imaginable. The Dragonborn DLC introduces a new, more impressive threat to Tamriel, and with it, a new island called Solstheim. The people of Solstheim are being controlled by a strange power and, under the direction of a new cult, are re-building relics and temples in the name of Miraak, a former Dragon Priest. Miraak is no normal Dragon Priest, however; with the help of Hermaeus Mora, Daedric Prince of forbidden knowledge, and a healthy dose of Dragon Blood, he is threatening to return to Solstheim and conquer the island.
Of course, the job of defeating this evil scourge has fallen to, you guessed it, the Dragonborn, and with the help of some new characters, you’ll be traversing Solstheim in the quest to stop this ancient power. Much like the Dawnguard expansion is split between Skyrim and the Soul Cairn, Dragonborn will not just be centered around Solstheim. In the quest to defeat Miraak, you will be forced to travel to Apocrypha through the acquisition of Black Books, and the dwelling place of Hermaeus and Miraak is not some summer home. Apocrypha is possibly one of the most intense visual experiences that Bethesda has thrown into the Elder Scrolls series. From the moment that you set eyes on a wonderfully enticing Black Book, you will literally be sucked into the new world of Apocrypha; and I mean literally, by tentacles. With spiraling staircases, stretching corridors, false walls, and maze-type locations, Apocrypha will have you on the edge of your seat whilst you fight your way through this labyrinth of twists and turns.
The main quest alone will entertain the least dedicated dragon-slayer for a solid six or seven hours. However, Dragonborn also offers a number of side quests that introduce new characters, new weapons, new armor, and new enemies. In your quest to find the Black Books, you will gain hidden knowledge from Hermaeus that give you new, useful abilities. You’ll discover hidden treasures and impressive new locations which, in some cases, are much more like the old scenery of Morrowind than the new, slightly icy, Skyrim. Dragonborn feels much more like an expansion than its predecessors, which, for some, could be considered add-ons rather than true expansions. With main quests, side quests, and exploration combined, Solstheim should give the dedicated adventurer at least fifteen hours of added gameplay, assuming you take no arrows to the knee, of course. This extra few hours is well worth the money, and by the end of the main quest, you’ll literally be flying around Tamriel. That’s because of the new dragon shout, Bend Will, that will give you the ability to pacify and ride those pesky dragons. Although you shouldn’t jump for joy just yet, as you’re much more of a passenger than you are a rider. It’s a shame, but flying dragons is a much more passive activity than first hoped.
Once again, the occasional laggy frame rate, strange spawning enemies, and poorly timed dragon attacks will rear their ugly heads in your play through. But, as usual, it’s not the end of the world. These are minor annoyances in what is otherwise a brilliantly well rounded addition to an already fantastic game.
This review is based on a retail copy of the XBOX 360 version of Skyrim: Dragonborn, developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.
- Solid Story Line
- Tons of Fun
- Laggy Frame Rate
- Strange Spawning Enemies
- Poorly Timed Dragon Attacks