Opinion: Is Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC Worth Your Money?
So then – it’s here. The first major DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. No, I’m not including the lackluster Dawnguard expansion, nor the follow-up that was the exciting ‘house building’ simulator Hearthfire. Dawnguard was nothing more than an extra set of missions that re-purposed familiar parts of Skyrim, and I actually found more use buying the $5 Hearthstone DLC and making a home for all my loot (a lot of books ) than I did with the Dawnguard missions.
Fortunately, the newly-released expansion Dragonborn is here to give players exactly what they want: and that is an epic story, new enemies, new shouts and an intriguing world to play around in.
Having played Skyrim on the PS3 for the past year, I decided to buy the Xbox 360 version of the game a couple of weeks ago so I could play Dragonborn ahead of its 2013 release on Sony’s console.
When I downloaded it I happened to be at the part of the main quest where you encounter the Greybeards for the first time. They set me off an a mission and, on my way to attend to it, I encountered three cultists. One of them muttered something about how I was not the true dragonborn, and “by Miraak you shall be put to death”! With my one-handed attacks and Morthal’s guards aiding me, I laid waste to them swiftly and found out they came from the island of Solstheim.
Now, those who have played the third Elder Scrolls game Morrowind will remember Solstheim as home to dark elves. Taking voyage on a ship with a reluctant captain to the destination I recognized some memorable areas from the third game, such as a House Redoran building and the mages tower far off in the distance. It was good to be home.
From there things got rapidly intense, as I made my way through to an old temple where worshipers of Miraak would gather. I won’t go into too many details about what happened in said temple, but you can be sure that by the time I left it I was filled with more dread than I had going in. Miraak is the first Dragonborn, and since he is the main antagonist of this new DLC, he is now gunning for you – so cue that old Highlander quote: “There can be only one!”
Miraak is one tough s.o.b., and so are the rest of the opponents you will encounter in the Dragonborn DLC . New foes come in the form of different varieties of dragons and serpent-like creatures called Lurkers. Be assured: the enemies here in Solstheim will knock you on your ass. Yes, you could lower the overall difficulty – but where is the fun in that?
Solstheim is a large island, with several towns and miles of wilderness to explore. The coast brings back memories of the Ashlands from Morrowind, and even the huge mushrooms from that game make an appearance here. Visually Solstheim looks good, but some of the architecture and dungeons will look quite familiar to Skyrim players.
It wasn’t until I got to the Dwemer ruins and their twisted environments that I thought it brought a fresh design to the Elder Scrolls universe. One thing I felt was lacking in the environments was that the unused areas between towns felt barren, and I only ran into bandits a handful of times before finishing the main quest. I also missed the aurora borealis that littered the skies above Skyrim’s mountain peaks.
The new shout that you will learn throughout Dragonborn’s 6-hour main quest is the ability to tame dragons, fly them (yes, fly them!) and wreak devastation upon your enemies. It is really fun to fly a dragon, and you can even give orders to the dragon while on the ground for about an of hour in-game time. Then it will go away. While mounted on the dragon you cannot use other shouts and are pretty much relying on the dragons abilities to defeat enemies, which is fine to be honest because the point is YOU’RE FLYING ON A DRAGON.
So is the Dragonborn DLC worth your hard-earned money? Yes it is, but only for the hardcore Elder Scrolls fan. For those whose first Elder Scrolls experience was Oblivion or even Skyrim, then you may not appreciate the references to the fantastic world of Morrowind. And I would certainly recommend playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind before delving into this Skyrim expansion.
With plenty of side quests to tackle and guilds to join you may want to purchase a house because you will be here for a while. So, if your copy of Skyrim has been sitting on your shelf for months now then pop the disc into the tray because Dragonborn is the best expansion yet.
The Dragonborn DLC is 1600 MS points on Xbox 360 and $19.99 on PC.