July 20, 2013

Skyrim: Dragonborn Review

I've finally finished the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim. Bethesda released it as the final DLC pack for Skyrim- citing they needed to work on the new Elder Scrolls MMO as to why they were ditching Skyrim. It left me very disappointed because I love the Skyrim world
and the adventures within. After all- Skyrim dethroned "Zelda: Majora's Mask" to be my third best game of all time.

The DLC has you journey to Solstheim- an island off the coast of Skyrim but also off the coast of Morrowind. It's a weird in-between- clearly you can see an erupting volcano, but there are still Nord influences across the island. The very first dragonborn, Miraak is attempting to return to Skyrim through mysterious means. I don't want to divulge his backstory, but he has corrupted the island of Solstheim in his bid to return to Tamriel.

I was a bit... disappointed with the DLC. Not because it was bad, but because it had so many expectations to live up to, and my perceptions of what the DLC was. When I got what the DLC actually was- I enjoyed it, but it didn't.... blow my mind so to speak. Well, the final boss fight did. I guess I can give the game some credit there. The story is solid and will give you around 8 to 9 hours of content. There are some new voice actors- which is a welcome change to the game.

The ruins and dungeons you explore are well done. If you've delved into Skyrim for as long as I have now, they shouldn't take you too long to figure out. There are new weapons and armor to be found, but honestly I didn't use anything new- my legendary crossbow, ebony armor set modified to the legendary status and a legendary ebony axe was all I needed. Solstheim felt a lot like Skyrim, but it felt a lot like Morrowind too- and since I haven't played the third Elder Scrolls game, it was nice to see a bit of differentiation in the landscape. Don't get me wrong I love the land of Skyrim- but it's nice to see a change once in a while after you've gained 300 plus hours of playing this game.

Like its predecessor Dawnguard, there were a few bugs I noticed in this game. There was the occasional clipping issues with some of the terrain, but the big beef came when I could sell items to vendors in Raven Rock but receive no gold. I reset the game and that didn't fix it- so I went to another town and sold the stuff without any problems. There was also an odd forward movement bug that kept me walking forward, and in a separate instance to the right- and I couldn't stop walking. I'm not sure what that was about but a reset of the game fixed the problem. In addition, at once point I had difficulty equipping items. I clicked on them in the inventory menu but they wouldn't equip or unequip. A reset of the game fixed the problem.

The dragon flying mechanic near the end of the game was... lackluster to be polite about it. I thought it was neat, but I never tried using it outside of Solstheim and I wonder if that is even possible. I was looking forward to controlling a dragon in flight- but it's all automatic, and that greatly disappointed me. If I can cheat and walk through midair and change my speed to the flash's speed, they can make a mod where I can properly control a dragon and fly it through Skyrim.

As for the value of this game- you will want to pick it up if you love Skyrim. I picked it up during a Steam sale for $13.19, so that comes out to about $1.65 an hour. For my standards that is disappointing- it should be around $1 an hour- so I figure for the content we got the DLC should have been cheaper. Again- that's my stringent standard when it comes to value in a video game. I've spent around $90 on Skyrim and all of it's DLC, which by the way is now available for $40 in the legendary edition, and got about 330 hours out of the game. That is a value of 27 cents per hour. THAT is fantastic. For that reason alone I recommend buying the legendary edition.

This is solid "B" material. Not a "B-movie", but definitely "B" material. It was good- but had so many high expectations to live up to. I'll give Skyrim Dragonborn a [90/100]. If ths game were unique from Skyrim then it would score pretty high on my list- but since it is a DLC, a remake of something on the list or a compilation it won't be placed. Worth picking up? in the legendary edition definitely. As separate DLC? don't pay more than the $13.19 I paid- unless you realllllllly need this DLC.

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