Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: 8/2/2012
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The Good: Playing as a vampire feels powerful, new quests are fun to do, a lot of new vast areas to explore
The Bad: Disappointing loot, not enough new enemies, can get lost in some of these new areas, story makes you feel like a middle man rather than a hero
It took quite a while for a DLC to come out for Skyrim, but here it is. Vampirism is where this one will take you and while it is a fun ride, it is quite short and a bit lacking in content. You can choose to side with the vampires or Dawnguard, but the main story line is the same. I found all the quests fun, with some beautiful new locales, but I really wish this DLC was more.
You start about by hearing about a rumor of a castle off near Solitude. Once you arrive you are greeted by vampires and the lord of them all asks if you want the gift or not. I of course chose to and am glad I did. The new vampire form has its own set of perks and skills. Using melee to attack or magic spells is fun, plus the bat teleportation spell is great to use. The vampire design in Dawnguard is fantastic and strays away from cliché looks. They look like beasts rather than the typical Hollywood vampires. I chose to side with the vampires, so I can’t tell you how the Dawnguard quests went. The side quests are fun and vary greatly on what to do. Same goes for the mains quests, but I have one major complaint about a particular main quest.
One quest has you trying to figure out how to get Auriel’s Bow from the Snow Elves, yes Snow elves, and this is one confusing quest. You have to pass through 5 different portals that take you to new areas, but the quest marker doesn’t point to them all like most quests. You really have to figure out where to go and this quest will take almost 2 hours to complete. It takes you through vast areas such as icy caverns, phosphorescent caves, and falmer territory. Because these areas are so vast (probably more vast than any other interior area in Skyrim) you will get lost easily. I spent most of my time trying to figure out where to go because there were so many branching confusing paths. Some people may like this, but at least make the quest marker point in the right direction.
The DLC is also extremely buggy with quests that you can’t complete, items that won’t appear or drop, and many other things. I had to advance some quests using the command console because a bug prevented me from moving on. The story is a disappointment as well because you feel like you’re just the middle man in some family dispute. Serana is a great companion, but the other characters are hard to like because you don’t visit them very often except to get quests. There weren’t any crazy plot twists or anything like that. I honestly felt like this is something that could have just been kept in the main game as a faction quest. For the high price point ($20) there isn’t much loot that you can walk away with and feel satisfied about. The biggest loot is Auriel’s Bow which is useless for people who aren’t using archery. There are a couple new enemies thrown in, but overall this DLC doesn’t feel like it is worth $20.
The most important thing is that it is more Skyrim which is what people want. It is more quests that are fun and allow you to continue leveling up your character and looting. Skyrim may not ever have a Shivering Isles type expansion, but let’s hope that the future DLC will be more enjoyable than Dawnguard.