Alright, another year, another Skyrim expansion. How I’m still playing this game WITHOUT these expansions coming out is insane enough. But we’ll get to that another time.
So yes, Dragonborn. Now I know this is basically an expected feature at this point for Bethesda, but I really do have to say it.
BUGGY. AS. FUCK.
Alright so let’s start from the start. After installing the new files and whatnot (and turning off basically all of my mods because lol compatibility), I jumped right into the game. Not finding anything obvious, I thought back to my experience with Dawnguard and headed over to Whiterun. And as with Dawnguard, the event kicking off Dragonborn happens basically right as you get in the town.
Though instead of a greeting and invitation, two guys try to beat the shit out of you.
Anyway looting the corpses of these assholes gets you a note saying that they need to kill PLAYERNAMEHERE before he/she finds out about Miraak (of whom I had no knowledge of BEFORE finding these guys showed up), and that there’s a ship in Windhelm that will take me to Solstheim.
Solstheim. There’s the beauty of Dragonborn right there. Now, you may know Solstheim already from Morrowind: Bloodmoon. And luckily it’s pretty much the same (some precise positioning is off, etc). The major change this time is that the entire bottom, non-icy half is covered in volcanic ash due to a certain incident some many years ago.
Now, the main plot of Dragonborn revolves around you, the “Last Dragonborn” as you are now known (instead of just “Dragonborn”), versus Miraak, the “First Dragonborn”. There’s also this bunch of ritualistic Nords hanging out that play a big part in the main story, and the Daedric Lord of choice for this one is Hermaeus Mora, who as usual proceeds to just screw with everyone. And that’s great and all and etc etc.
IT’S ELDER SCROLLS MAN. So naturally, the real source of entertainment here is going “Fuck you story, I’m going over there”.
There’s a shitload of stuff to do, heaps of new enemies and ingredients and places and shit. Unlike Dragonborn, there’s like… four or five new Shouts instead of just one. Of course it didn’t add any cool overhauls like it did to Vampire/Werewolf, but it more than makes up for that.
Now, along the story and during the side-quests, there are these objects called “Black Books”. These are actually portals to Hermaeus Mora’s Daedric Plane, ‘Apocrypha’. It’s like a crazy fucked up really cool library. Naturally there are puzzles and switches and annoying enemies with lots of HP for no obvious reason, but it’s really cool. It’s definitely my favourite Daedric Plane at the moment.
But this is where it get’s interesting. Reaching the end of the final “chapter” (area) of each Black Book gives you a selection of buffs and abilities you can swap out, kind of like the three abilities you get at the end of the Thieves Guild/Nightingale quest line. This includes stuff like not doing damage to followers, making your Fus Ro Dah into a SUPER Fus Ro Dah, and various other cool shit. The one you get upon finishing the main questline is removing Perks and getting those points back. It’s really cool.
Now, the bugs.
Tons of animations are missing. Black Books (the items, not the Apocrypha realms) don’t let you leave. The final battle is broken in so many different possible ways, I’ve done it six times (it’s a fun fight, admittedly) and I still have yet to properly finish it due to some problem or other. There’s also that weird bug where a house model goes down into the ground and you can’t get inside, and I still have no idea what causes that.
Pros: Shitloads of new stuff to do and new places to explore
Cons: It doesn’t all work properly.
All in all, I give Dragonborn a “Pretty awesome but wait for a patch or ten”. Like I said, most of it was very enjoyable but the bugs made it hard to appreciate it all.