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Forums - PC Discussion - Skyrim: Dragonborn review

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Probably a little bit late for a review, but the game is only a couple of months old now.

Just finished playing The Elder Scrolls Dragonborn, and it is a decent expansion on Skyrim, I do have quite a number of gripes with the game itself.  

Story Summary: in order to investigate why you were attacked in Skyrim by a mysterious cult claiming you to be a false Dragonborn, you head out to Solsteim.  

Background on Solsteim: This is the second time that Solsteim has been used in an Elder Scrolls expansion, and to be honest, Bloodmoon was my favorite Elder Scrolls expansion of all time.  So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the new expansion.  Bloodmoon introduced the Werewolves to The Elder Scrolls 3 and the setting was really dark and the game had a significant mood to it.  New enemies were introduced which were significantly more powerful than the ones I fought in Morrowind.  

Value: Did they add enough content to make the game worth your 20 dollars?  There are of course new enemies, new NPC only factions, ONE new type of dungeon.  The added map is significantly smaller than Skyrim.  I would expect that for 20 dollars I should be getting at least 1/3 of the size of Skyrim, if not more.  The way I see it, the tools and the engine is already finished, they can churn levels out for nothing now, and I think they can expect significant sales for something like an Elder Scrolls expansion.  Considering the amount of NPC reuse the bang for your buck crap... 

Value - 5/10 not worth your money

Gameplay: The game drew people in with promises of a new mysterious villain with powers similar to the Dragonborn, the abillity to ride dragons, and the promise of a new island filled with original content.  So did they keep their promises?  

The new villain is certainly interesting, I have always liked using cults for storylines.  They set the bad guy up to be brilliant regardless of whos doing it.  However the main quest line was far too short.  Had I not been doing side quests, I probably could have done the whole thing in one sitting.  

The Dragon riding is a joke, a complete gimmick to get people to buy the game.  You have no control over the dragon at all and the dragon is usually weaker than most of the mobs you fight with anyways.  I played for 5 minutes trying to figure out the controls and ordered the dragon to attack some enemies and after a long time on the dragons part, the enemies were winning.  I finally said to hell with it and ordered the dragon to land so I could just fight myself.  

The island itself is loaded with a combination of reused and original content.  You can now enchant staffs, and there are new smithing options, new dragon shouts, books, npcs which build off of Skyrim's NPCs, new species, and lots and lots of nods to morrowind.  Most people would judge the skill additions harshly at first, but if you know enough about it, this is probably where the best additions in the expansion can be found.  There's only one new armor which will catch anyones interest, and that's the Stalrhim armor which is just as powerful as Dragon armor, while improving any enchantments used on it.  The shouts also fill in a lot of gaps in what Skyrim had to offer.  Most notably a shout that improves your allies.  They also told a lot of new history on what happened to Morrowind now that 200 years have passed since we've last stepped foot on it.  

So with all said and done the villain was short but sweet, the new Dragon Riding gimmick was a gimmick, and the new content was fairly clever.  

Gameplay 8/10

Enjoyabillity: I've played since Morrowind, I'm hardcore that way and a free roam fantasy game is right up my alley, Did I enjoy it?

I definitely enjoyed a great deal of the expansion, from the nods to morrowind, to the new enemy npcs, my spirit though was significantly dampened by the dungeon reuse and lack of a mood like the one Bloodmoon had to offer.  I loved the history and lore they added onto morrowind.  They did a great job ellaborating on morrowind's history.  The one and only new dungeon type they added I do love, it's probably the most interesting dungeon type i've come across in Skyrim.  

Dragonborn was certainly fun, but significant content reuse where it wasn't appropriate caused me facepalm quite often.  The new characters and quests though I love.  One thing I trust Bethesda to do well is NPC interactions.  I love the stories they come up with, and the quests they have me do.  Since its an expansion they took the chance to pack it more with a lot quests with far more detail.  I would like it if they added another tier of enemies to challenge me, but all the enemies, even the new ones are still no more challenging than Draugr Death Knights.  

Enjoyabillity: 8/10

Overall: Does the sum of its parts make up for anything lacking?

I would recommend buying it only if you are a hardcore skyrim fan who wants more but has run out of content.  There isn't anything in the game which I would say is "must see" or "must play".  From storyline to gameplay mechanics, its all too mediocre to be worth the time of anyone who isn't dying for more Skyrim.  

Overall: 7/10