Skyrim: Dawnguard

So, anyone who has seen the Simpsons, or at least the one where Mr. Burns tries to block out the sun, will instantly be brought back to giggles by the plot of this impressively large DLC. I sat down to play this DLC, wondering how it would be integrated and equally excited to see how I would find out about the Dawnguard group. 2 seconds in, literally, a guard walks up to me like "hey, just heard about some Dawnguard recruitment. well.. bye!", this already has me questioning how this DLC will go.

I went along to my recruitment and found that they have not only released a brand new DLC, but made some brand new locations to go along with it! At this point I'm 10 minutes into the game and found whole new places to explore, which I find, as an avid Skyrim fan and devoted player, fantastic.

There is, of course, a plot for a Skyrim take-over and you are our to save the day. You are given a crossbow and sent to a vampire lair to go and take down some vamps and get some revenge. Upon arriving you can fight a few vamps, nothing special, and fight off a whole new breed of vampire dog. Terrifying, to say the least. I shan't spoil anything for you but once you kill them you basically save someone of value to the vampires. 

As you progress through this DLC you encounter new allies, new enemies and new breeds all across the land, but this isn't why you're reading the review. You want all the dirt on the vampire action, so let me cut to the part where you become nothing short of the most powerful thing in Skyrim. You have the choice to decline the vampire ability, but who honestly got the DLC to turn down the super powers? 

You start off with some cool powers, such as teleportation as a bat cloud and some pretty slick energy balls that consume blood and energy from your enemies, living or dead, and even the wildlife around Skyrim. Hunting deer is a little more awesome now! You are insanely powerful, and you can absorb health from enemies you kill. When you don't feed you get stronger, but it will begin to take effect on you after a while so you will need to feed, but they have people you can feed on without actually killing innocent villagers, if that ain't your thing. 

You can fly, sort of. You can fly along the ground and the bats can teleport you a short distance away to save you from an imminent death. So far I haven't actually died, though. I'm wiping out caves without breaking a sweat. Defeating dragons and the bigger monsters wandering around is certainly easier, too. 

You get a whole new skill tree for your abilities, and points are earned a little differently. Each kill you make, by way of absorption, adds a little bit of XP to your vampire skill tree and eventually this XP will manifest into a skill point to add to your tree, as apposed to getting 1 point per level up, as this would prove insanely difficult for those on level 50 or 60. Skills include more life/stamia/magic and a pretty slick force grip, plus much more.

Overall the DLC is proving to be quite long, which is a great thing. I love the vampire abilities and I love the plot to block out the sun, even if Mr. Burns tried it in the early 90s. I honestly can't put the game down. Bethesda outdid themselves with this one. There are no bugs, not that i've come accross at least. The overall game is running smoother and I love that I have new castles and locations to explore. My only complaint is the price tag. Running at 1600MSP has put this in the catagory of most I've spend on DLC. I don't know if they priced themselves out of the market, but they certainly will of lost some fans over this. Paying roughly 50-60 on a game then paying another 20 for for an add on seems a bit crazy to me. Either way, it's worth getting if you have an extra 1600 laying around and you love Skyrim. This will certainly add a lot of hours to your overall game time! It is all worth it, get this DLC or take an arrow to the knee.

Overall Score: 9/10

- Ken Seiler