Review by BigReed

"Another good reason to keep playing Skryim"

The Good:
More stuff to do for those still playing Skyrim, engaging story, throwback to Morrowind, new armor sets, feels like an extension of the main game

The Bad:
Dragon riding sounds way more fun than what it is, short storyline

With the release of Dragonborn, Bethesda has continued to support one of the best games this generation with more story, armor, areas, and reasons to continue playing long after Skyrim's initial release. Like Dawnguard, Dragonborn is a pleasant addition to an already phenomenal experience. Dragonborn takes place on an island located outside of Morrowind, which is the location of the third entry into the Elder Scrolls series. With just the location, you can see the attention to the fan base expressed by Bethesda. Who knows? Maybe one day we will see Morrowind fully in a high definition rerelease or remake.

DLC in the gaming community is a touchy subject. Most companies are fine removing portions of the main game to sell the day of release, bringing the full price of the game at launch to about seventy dollars. So pricing is already an issue down it comes to downloading content, and while Bethesda does so many good things with their content, their pricing is still a bit high. Dragonborn is 1600 Microsoft points, which is equivalent to twenty dollars. Looking at this price alone does not seem like much, but adding that with all of the other available DLC for Skyrim and you are almost buying the game all over again. Rather than feeling tacked on however, Dragonborn feels like an extension of the main game, much like Dawnguard does. The price might be a bit high, but once again Bethesda is offering quality content to support those adventurers who still have a craving to explore.

For Skyrim, the main theme has always been centered on dragons. Epic, and often spontaneous, dragon “boss” battles were promised to constantly engage the player and make him or her rethink traveling outside for long distances. Everyone remembers their first battle with a dragon in Skyrim, but the novelty of fighting a dragon anywhere, anytime soon wore off. Rather than being a dangerous treat, dealing with dragons soon become an annoyance to the player, and dragons often glitched. With Dragonborn, the player is now allowed to tame and ride dragons in an effort to shake things up a bit. Dragon riding sadly sounds much better on paper or in a description than what it really is. Generally, Bethesda is king at allowing players to freely choose how to play their game. This time though, with dragon riding, the experience is very limited, boring, and actually slows combat down. The concept is neat, the novelty is there, but riding needs to be a bit tweaked before it can be fully realized.

Although dragon riding is a bit of a letdown, the story of Dragonborn is another piece of Elder Scrolls lore that hooks you in. With Fallout 3, Oblivion, and now Skyrim, Bethesda has expertly crafted interesting people, places, set pieces, and conversations. The lore of Elder Scrolls is heavily dissected and debated in the gaming community, and this is a sign of strong writing. Anytime story based missions are discovered and important NPCs begin to speak, my eyes and ears are fixated on my television. Even though I am not even a fan of the fantasy style (elves, orcs, etc) Bethesda is able to write storylines that reach out to many different types of people. The only drawback to these storylines is their length. The main storyline in any Bethesda game is always short, and players must experience the plethora of side content to get full exposure to what is being offered. This is also true for Dragonborn. The story keep you interested the entire way through, but then drop off and feel as though it is ending abruptly. Players may be inclined to rush through to the end of Dragonborn though because of the option to spend dragon souls to wipe and reassign your perks. This may have been a mod available already on the computer version of Skyrim, but being able to redo all of your skill trees is long overdue for the console versions. Allowing players to recraft their characters is a good way to reward them by allowing them to try multiple different character types without having to start a new save. Also, players will be able to correct any mistakes they made while leveling their character. I started off playing as a destruction mage, and by the time I was level fifty, I was an archer with high sneak.

Recommendation: Buy it
Dragonborn accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: extend the life of Skyrim for those out there still playing it. Heading back to the Morrowind area, new armor, and the heavily engaging story are all big reasons to fire up Skryim again. Dragon riding and the length of the story slightly take away from a good experience, but this is still an experience that anybody still playing Skyrim needs to have.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/15/13

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn (US, 12/04/12)

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