Thursday, July 19, 2012

Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard

The first DLC for Skyrim!'s more Skyrim.

A majority of the reviews have been summing up Dawnguard simply as more Skyrim.  Which isn't a particularly bad thing considering how much fun I had until I discovered everything and couldn't restat my character and generally fell into boredom.  I started a new character, Crucifracture, who has turned out to be a fine character considering I know what skills I want and where to put points (I've actually been trying to save as many as possible) and what I can skimp on (and just get juiced on gear and performance enhancing drugs - e.g. Lockpicking).  I'm playing her as a summoner/destruction magic in one hand and shield in the other/heavy armor character which has been entertaining and frankly using magic in combat is a lot more natural than the suck ass melee system.

Dawnguard is centered around an infestation of vampires.  Do you join them or do you destroy them?  Does it even matter?  Fortunately there's not a lot of game breaking gear if you start a new character and begin the Dawnguard story arc.  The crossbows are pretty sweet.  You can use bows on horseback (which sounds awesome but is actually kind of lame and clunky).  There's some cool looking armor and some other gear you'll never see because you're always in first-person.  You can transform into a Vampire Lord (if you team up with the vampires) which is kind of cool and summon a gargoyle and you can force choke, sorry, use blood magic to choke enemies.  There are new enemies - I particularly like the Death Hounds.  Dawnguard is as much as an expansion as it is a new story arc.  In fact, Dawnguard might be one of my favorite Bethesda DLC (except for the fact I have problems with the whole DLC price gouging yadda yadda yadda). 

The reason why it might be my favorite is because the story is kind of awesome and there were a couple of set pieces that genuinely kicked ass.  It's much more a dark "gothic" fantasy - think Ravenloft (man, a Ravenloft game could potentially be a really good game) - and there were a number of areas that were a welcome change of pace from the now sadly over-familiar areas of Skyrim.  I finished one of the story arcs with Crucifracture.  I plan on going back and playing for the Dawnguard vampire hunters with Scoville. 

Worth $20?  Yes and no, considering the 8 to 10 hours it'll take you to get through the story (unless you're like me and have to explore everything and pick up every side quest - which put me at about twenty) and that's better than your average game length these days.  Then again for twenty bucks you could buy a whole shit ton of games during the Steam Summer Sale.  Plus, if you haven't picked up Skyrim, you can just wait until the GOTY edition comes out and save a bundle of cash. 

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