Review by unclehosh

Reviewed: 06/28/12

A great, if small, addition to an already great game.

The Elder Scrolls Skyrim has been dominating the leader boards for some time now, proving that Bethesda really has created a game that is larger than life. The release of Skyrim's first DLC is finally here, and it was worth the wait. While I wish there was more content added, it does not disappoint in the least.

Graphics- 10/10
The graphics in Dawnguard are exactly the same as they were in the original game, which is not a bad thing. However, the level of detail on some of the newer creatures and areas is impressive. Vampire lords are large and menacing, new caves are vast and beautiful, and the Soul Cairn, a new realm of oblivion, is both beautiful and depressing with its vibrant blue and purple colors. Bethesda still has the ability to craft some unbelievable landscapes.

Story- 10/10
While Bethesda has struggled with storytelling in video games, Dawnguard is one of their best attempts to date. Harkon, an ancient and powerful vampire, makes his return to Skyrim. His presence attracts the attention of the Dawnguard, an old group of vampire hunters determined to prevent Harkon from regaining power. He is planning on using the Elder Scrolls to end the sun's rule and give vampires an endless night. As the player, you can join the Dawnguard and fight to protect the land, or join Harkon and become a vampire lord. Well-written dialogue helps build a connection with Harkon's daughter, Serana, who proves to be a very useful partner. Dozens of new side quests and achievements also flesh out the already hefty story.

Music- 0/0 (This will not affect the score)
I am unaware of any new musical pieces that were added to the game with this DLC. However, the same beautiful tunes are still present in abundance.

Game play- 10/10
Joining up with the Dawnguard gives you the option to purchase powerful trolls that will aid you during your quest to kill the vampires. They prove to be powerful allies who will send enemies flying. In addition, you will get the crossbow if you side with the vampire hunters. It is much more accurate and deadly than the regular bow, but it takes slightly longer to reload. Powerful upgrades can turn the crossbow into a very deadly weapon, especially with the double damage bonus while sneaking. There are also some new weapons and armor that can be fatal if used properly against the vampires. If you side with Harkon, you gain the ability to become a vampire lord. This powerful beast can glide over water, cast ridiculously powerful spells, and swipe with sharp claws. It is very fun to play as, and as long as you remain alive, there is no limit to how long you can play as him. Harkon's castle also has an endless supply of humans to feed on (to avoid the the fear of being caught), as well as blood potions that reduce sun and fire damage. There are powerful incentives to joining either faction, and the main quest in Dawnguard is long and enjoyable. There are also several new side quests to complete and areas to explore. New dragon bone weapons are extremely powerful, and when complete with the right armor, you will become basically unstoppable. There is also the addition of a few new shouts, spells, and summons that can make the game just a little easier. Lastly, the addition of werewolf or vampire lord perk trees provides a greater incentive to play as these powerful beasts. Dawnguard never made me angry or confused from clunky controls or glitches. Bethesda clearly put more effort into making a better quality game.

Dawnguard is a fantastic addition to The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. With great additions to combat, tons of new missions, and a gripping story, it stands as one of Bethesda's best efforts. I do wish there was a little more available to justify the $20.00 price, but I found that I did not care. Dawnguard should not be missed by anyone who enjoyed Skyrim.

Final Score: 10/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard (US, 06/26/12)

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