Format: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: August 2, (PS3 TBA)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
ESRB Rating: M
I know that I'm a little party when it comes to Dawnguard, but after around 80 hours of Skyrim, I wanted to take a little break from the world of Tamriel. After all the anticipation for new content, I was pretty excited when I finally got the DLC installed and ready to go.
Presentation and Story:
The story of Dawnguard is centered around vampires, and its a fascinating one at that. This 10-12 hour campaign shows the sheer amount of imaginative stories the folks at Bethesda can conjure up in their labs. After the disappointing ending to the main story of Skyrim, I was happy to get another epic storyline to play out. As you get recruited by the ancient vampire hunters, or the Dawnguard, you have two options. You can choose to become a vamper, or choose fight against them. The great thing hear is that the big choice you have to make, offers a lot of replayability. The visuals in Dawnguard is pretty much the same as Skyrim, but you'll venture through new territories. From stormy castles, to snowy frozen lakes, the environments have done nothing but improve on the already vast and diverse locales. There are a number of problems that hinder the experience, the biggest being the frequent framerate issues. Whether you're transforming into a hulking vampire or battling hordes of enemies, the framerate will take a huge drop off. That's the biggest drawback, but a number of minimal bugs get into the fray as well. Seeing how I've played through Skyrim thoroughly, you kind of expect at least a few bugs in the game.
Core Gameplay:The core gameplay in Dawnguard is similar to the core game, other than a few additions. The DLC features loads of intense fights, some of the more epic battles that have been featured in a Elder Scrolls game. A lot of the quests feel similar to the base game, fetch quests and cave exploring will feel right at home for you. The one good thing is that the new areas you'll be exploring are very cool and unique, including a purple colored netherworld filled with mystery. The crossbow is a big addition, in terms of gameplay, its cool and offers a bit of a change if you're using to using a bow and arrow. If you're a high level warrior, the expansion can feel like a bit of breeze. You'll want to turn the difficulty up if you still want a challenge. I have to mention as well that the ability to fight while on horseback is appreciated, even though it should have been an option when the game first came out.
Dawnguard is the first of hopefully many more expansions for Skyrim, this was a great starter for the imagination, you can only ponder what the guys are working on now. If you're holding off, you shouldn't be. PS3 exclusive owners are still in the dark, in terms of release, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.
S&S Rating 8/10