Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The Elder Scrolls Dawnguard Review
So I finally beat the Dawnguard expansion the other day and I thought I'd share some thoughts! Dawnguard cost about 20 bucks and I think I probably clocked in about 15 to 20 hours of gameplay. I also completed a few random quests as well. You start the quest by talking to any Skyrim guard who then mentions the ancient order of the Dawnguard to you. After traveling to Fort Dawnguard you meet Isran the leader of the Dawnguard. Isran tasks you with investigating an ancient sarcophagus. Upon opening the sarcophagus you meet Serana the daughter of the Vampire Lord Harken. This is when you get the chance to travel with Serana and either stay with the Dawnguard, or side with Lord Harken the Vampire Lord.
I decided to go with the Dawnguard mostly because I wanted the crossbow and I had heard that the controls for the Vampire Lord were pretty rough. There were some new weapon and companion additions that come with siding with the Dawnguard. First of all we have the crossbow which is a two-handed weapon that fires bolts. Throughout the game you can upgrade your bolts by completing quests. Fire bolts, frost bolts, and electrical bolts are a few of the upgrades. I liked the crossbow, but in the end I resorted back to my "bound bow" because it was stronger. The Dawnguard also offer an "Armored Troll" as a companion which was pretty cool. The troll grunts and growls and can travel the depths of Skyrim right by your side. For most of the expansion though you are accompanied my Serana, and if you have the armored troll as well then there doesn't leave much combat for you to participate in.
The lore within Dawnguard is refreshing and it was more entertaining than I thought it would be. You get to sneak into Lord Harkon's court which is littered with dead bodies and has walls covered in blood. There was a true eerie feeling while traversing that place! You also get to meet a Snow Elf who gives you some interesting insight into the Snow Elf culture before they descended the depths to become Falmer. There is also a large portion of the game that takes place in an underworld filled with ghosts and mistmen. The mistmen were a cool creature addition to the game. It's essentially a skeleton with mist where it's legs would be, and eventually you gain a spell to summon these creatures to fight by your side.
After completing the main quest for the Dawnguard in which you defeat Lord Harkon, I decided to replay the expansion as a Vampire. The Vampire Lord perk was kind of a letdown. It felt to me that they rushed the elements that make up the Vampire Lord, and the player is left with a feeling that it just could have been better. You can change into bats, you can feed on humans, shoot spells, summon gargoyles, slow time, and even fight with your claws in a melee style gameplay. Unfortunately it is hard to aim and control said spells when you transform into the Vampire Lord. The story is essentially the same as well which is kind of a bummer.
Overall I thought the Dawnguard expansion was well worth the 20 bucks. I had finished all of the main quests before starting the Dawnguard story which I would recommend. It allows you to focus on the main quest at hand instead of getting distracted with prior quests. Gargoyles, ghosts, a land filled with the dead, an ancient vampire castle, and a load of new weapons and upgrades, Dawnguard is a worthy addition to the Skyrim world especially to fans of fantasy who like their worlds dark and creepy! Go download it and dive back into Skyrim, it's well worth it!