So Dawnguard suddenly popped up on the Steam Store last week (you might have seen me bitching on Twitter). Despite its annoying price, I went and bought it later that night anyway. The following day I woke up, got some food and a big drink, and sat down to launch into the land of Skyrim. What followed was probably one of my favourite stories in any Elder Scrolls game, and one of my favourite in any RPG ever.
I meant to do this last week but I had to recover from sitting there playing it for 17 hours with barely any stopping. So have it now.
Dawnguard is the first expansion to last years big hit The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (which I will not review only due to the fact I’m still playing and finding new things despite nearing the 200 hours played mark). The story focuses on a conflict between the new vampire menace and the recently revived Dawnguard. You, the player, are approached by some guy I forget the name of who points you towards Fort Dawnguard. There you meet their leader, and you go off to explore some dungeon. After smashing up baddies, you reach this really big chamber and move some torches around, which reveals a chamber in the floor and inside… a person. Well, vampire, but yeah. Serana here has been in this thing for aaaaggggeeessss, and asks you to escort her to her home, a really huge castle thats obviously evil as hell. From there the path splits, join the Vampires or side with the Dawnguard.
Leading my knight of the holy sword, the lovely Rhythmia (steam screens here), I sided with the Dawnguard in order to purge all vampiric threat from the lands of Skyrim. I won’t go into too much detail about how it plays since it’s basically just Skyrim.
New things though! Crossbows are cool. There’s only two crossbows in the game though, ‘Crossbow’ and ‘Enhanced Crossbow’. However you can get bolts for it that are elemented with fire ice or lightning damage. So you can shoot exploding flaming bolts! Also all the news and in-game explanations say it reloads very slow, but it’s not actually too bad.
Vampirism is cool too. I won’t spoil how it all came about but at one point I got the option to become a vampire during the questline, so I got to play around with that for a fair bit before getting cured. After turning into a Vampire Lord for the first time, I spent about twenty minutes working out the controls (Use the Favourites menu!) and then got into it, and it was pretty fun. The perk setup is nice, lots of different things and skills to try (like summoning a Gargoyle to fight for you). Apparently Werewolves got a setup like that but I haven’t done that because fuck werewolves.
Theres also a lot of new dungeons, quests, etc. Some of the new locations are great.
ACTUALLY SPEAKING OF THE LOCATIONS.
You’ve all seen the Soul Cairn in the trailer, and that is huge. There’s quests in there just for the Soul Cairn. It’s insane. I went in there and thought “Holy crap that’s why the expansion was so big”.
BUT NO. THERES AN ENTIRE OTHER HUGE LOCATION. HELL IT’S BIGGER. I don’t think there’s any quests there though outside of the parts of the Quest you go there for.
There’s also a lot of stuff in there that’s totally clueing in to The Elder Scrolls Online. There’s a lot of talk about Molag Bal and the Second Era. There’s also the um, Warpgates or whatever that the developers of Online have mentioned are the stand-in for Fast Travel in Online. So that was nice.
But yeah. It looks expensive for an expansion, but holy shit does it expand. You definitely get your money’s worth in it. Go buy itttt. Unless you’re on PS3. Then go wait for it.