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A Game Review on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC "Dawnguard"
**This review was written by my younger brother Jimmy Perazzo and edited by me.**
Skyrim has more then just awed the gaming world, it has set the bar for any game like it. With Skyrim's first downloadable content the game has hit even greater heights, astonishing players beyond what they could have expected. Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC takes us into the cruel world of the vampires, Clan Volkihar and their leader, Lord Harkon. You can also follow the story of the Dawnguard, an ancient organization of vampire hunters. Whichever path you choose to take part in you're sure to have an in-depth storyline with plenty to do along the way, whether it be in search for Auriel's Bow or roaming ancient Nord Crypts.
The new quests take you to an old long forgotten castle, that used to be home to the notorious vampire hunters, or the Dawnguard. There you find a man who is trying to build up the Dawngaurd once more to stop the vampires devious plot to blot out the sun. The first quest you get is to search an burial tomb because of recent vampire activity, soon you will find a vampire who was incased in a large metal coffin. From there the quest continues to you realizing that she is the daughter of the vampire lord, Harkon. She takes you to her fathers castle where he invites you to become a vampire and help their cause. This is where you will be able to choose if you want to become a Dawnguard or a Vampire Lord. From there you will either join Dawnguard and help stop the vicious plot of the Vampires, or you will join the Vampire clan in plunging Nirn into eternal darkness.
Dawnguard adds 39 new quests all together including radiant quests, side quests and 14 main story quests. There are over 80 new NPC's that were also added, along with some new creatures, including a new Legendary Dragon, appearing at level 78, becoming the most difficult Dragon to defeat. The new Legendary Dragon challenges the skills of even the most hardcore gamers.
One of the new zones offered in Dawnguard is The Soul Cairn, a world for the souls that have been captured in soul gems. The Soul Cairn holds many mysteries as well as a few side quests. Part of the main story for Dawnguard takes place here, but you can't get in without being a Vampire or getting your soul trapped in a soul gem. Entry though soul gem is the option most people who don't want to become a vampire choose. If you wish to return to The Soul Cairn after the main quest line is over it is required to become a Vampire.
Another incredible area waiting to be explored is the Forgotten Vale. This area, like The Soul Cairn, plays a huge part in the Dawnguard story line when trying to acquire Auriel's Bow, a weapon that can destroy or save the Vampires. The Forgotten Vale is a huge area that has many monsters and even a epic dragon fight that has never been seen before in Skyrim. The Forgotten Vale is also riddled with Falmer villages. In the Forgotten Vale you are tasked with finding the Inner Sanctum, the last safe haven for Snowelfs in all of Skyrim. In the Forgotten Vale there are numerous caves and hidden treasure chests that are just waiting to be picked clean of their contents. On top of these two massive zones there are 20 additional, smaller areas to be explored around Skyrim.
In this DLC also comes some new armor sets, such as Dawnguard armor, Ancient Falmer armor, Vampire armor, and much more. Dawnguard adds a new weapon, the crossbow, which has a slow reload time but can be a very deadly sneak attack. The crossbow doesn't take regular arrows, but instead its ammunition is bolts, which are much harder to come by. Dawnguard also offers Dragonbone weapons, weapons that can be used by all classes. Dragonbone weaponry is the most damaging in the game, even surpassing Daedric, but as a downside they have the highest carry weight of any type of weapon. All you need to make these wonderful weapons is some leather strips, dragon bones, and ebony ingots. There are also Dawnguard weapons which do additional damage to Vampires as well as various types of crossbow bolts including Exploding Dwarvern bolts.
Four new Dragon Shouts were added, lending the ability to call another Dragon ally to the battlefield, ensuring more intense battles and bloody massacres. You are also given the option to alter your appearance, changing your face and/or markings, but race and gender cannot be changed. Dawngaurd also adds two new skill trees, Vampire Lord and Werewolf. To level up in these talent trees you must be transformed into the Vampire Lord or Werewolf and do specific things to level up and get even greater powers.
Dawnguard sports little to no bugs and graphical errors, looking just as good as the main game. It is not anymore complicated or difficult than the original game is, aside for the new Legendary Dragon. Dawnguard is an overall fun addition to the world of Skyrim with up to 15+ hours of additional gameplay. I would personally recommend this to anyone who has played Skyrim.
Dawnguard was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on June 26th 2012 for 1600 Microsoft Points, and was released on Steam for the PC on August 2nd costing $19.99. A release date for the Playstation 3 has yet to be announced.