The 24 Hour Review - Skyrim's DLC Dawnguard - Vampires and Gargoyles
Yesterday morning Skyrim’s long awaited DLC Dawnguard was released for the Xbox (sorry PC and PS3 users). After 24 hours of playing it I have a quick review on some of the components and the game in general. To breakdown the game in a few simple words; it is pretty epic. The game has definitely undergone some upgrades. Not only did they bring in some new gameplay additions they also brought around a lot of upgrades to the graphics. The game looks absolutely beautiful. The storyline takes you to some very different places in Skyrim that haven’t previously been explored. And the new add-ons give a whole new feel to the game. It took me roughly 7 hours to beat both the Dawnguard and Vampire storylines (I am a level 70 Nord so I just ran through the levels though), so 14 new hours of gameplay plus all kinds of new add-ons and side stories.
I am trying to not release any information about the game because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but Bethesda has outdone themselves this time. The simple premise is that, Harkon, the vampire lord became a vampire through his worship of the Daedra Lord Molag Bal. Molag Bal is considered the father of the vampires. Only true pure-blood vampires come from the Daedra Lord, half breeds are what you usually face through the game. Harkon was once a rich and powerful King but his greatest enemy was his mortality. He seeked a way to escape death and he found it through Molag Bal. He is not believed to be the first vampire ever created by Molag Bal but he is probably the oldest.
Along with other updates to the game I have noticed that there are new killing moves involved with each weapon. The combat system itself has a new feel to it, don’t know if it’s just me but it seems new. Within the first 30 minutes of playing I had to fight 2 of the new creatures, the death hound and the gargoyle. It took me a little bit longer to run into the stone troll and a new creature, the frost giant, but each of these creatures brought new challenges to the game. You can expect lots of vampires in this expansion, no matter what side you choose. The vampires are a lot like the Sith Lords in the Star Wars series. It’s a constant battle of betrayal to become the ruler. Then once you are ruler you are constantly paranoid about being betrayed by all the people below you. So even if you’re on the vampire side, you still have to do some killing to make your way to the top.
The only aspect of this game that I didn’t enjoy is that discovering the Dawnguard and beginning the DLC is difficult, as well as choosing which path you want to take. It can be very confusing in the beginning where to start. Just to give you a hint, stick to the bottom part of Skrim. Almost everyone you talk to will steer you in the right direction once you reach the right city. Then once you find the Dawnguard you are sent on a mission for them. There is no vampire beginning mission. You find them through the Dawnguard. So after the first mission you are given a choice to side with the Dawnguard or to side with the vampires (again I’m trying not to reveal anything about the story). My only problem here is that I wanted to side with the Dawnguard but I unknowingly chose the Vampires through my dialogue. Just be really careful about what you say. If you want to side with the Dawnguard just deny everything. And even if you want to side with the Dawnguard you still have to help other people out along the way. It makes the campaign really confusing.
Also, be aware that it doesn't matter which side you choose. You will have the same storyline either way and you will learn the same information, it all just matters on how you want the story presented to you, who you want to side with, and whether you want a fort or a castle as your new home. Don't feel that you need to play both sides to get the full story. Just like the main storyline you get all the information one way or another. I've played both sides of both storylines so you can trust me on that one.
All in all though this DLC was worth the wait, and it was definitely worth the $20. I have no remorse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And for those still waiting to get it because you have a PS3 or PC, consider buying an Xbox! They’re great!!