The Dragonborn Comes!
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There is always that one DLC package in every Bethesda First Person RPG that is worth the price of admission. One that provides tons more to explore and do in addition to the main campaign, with the rewards being well worth the experience. Oblivion had the Shivering Isles, Fallout 3 had Broken Steel, and now Skyrim has the excellent Dragonborn expansion.
Don't get me wrong, Dawnguard was an impressive campaign against vampires, and to an extent I enjoyed building my own house with the Hearthfire expansion, but Dragonborn is the expansion I wanted all along for Skyrim.
The campaign begins when the player is attacked by a set of cultists with assassination orders. The orders come from Miraak, who we eventually learn is the first Dragonborn/Dovahkiin. With this information, the player sails off to Solstheim, a region first shown in the Bloodmoon expansion of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The land is a half ashen wasteland, as result of the eruption of Red Mountain, while the rest of Solstheim is similar to the Nordic lands of Skyrim.
A majority of the quest involves learning the words of a new Thu'um, Bend Will, which is used to control the minds of those who are corrupted by Miraak's will.
The player also ventures to another dimension called Apocrypha. Using a Black Book as a transfer medium, we are introduced to Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora who gives you the offer to learn the final parts of Bend Will and use it to defeat Miraak.
Dragonborn introduces the ability to ride dragons, a great idea in theory, though unfortunately the execution is pretty weak. It feels like you have no true control over your dragon. In fact, it's like the winged beasts are set on autopilot and all you do is tell them when and where to attack or land. I really wish more control was involved, because exploring both Solstheim and Skyrim via dragon would be amazing. I really hope that this will be an option in the next DLC.
I finished the main Dragonborn campaign in about 10 hours, a respectable length for an expansion DLC. Of course there are tons of sidequests available that will make your trip to Solstheim even more enjoyable.
Dragonborn is the Skyrim expansion I have been waiting for and I'm happy to say I was not disappointed by it. At 1,600 Microsoft Points on the 360, the overall experience is well worth the price of admission and then some. I might have finished the main campaign, but I will be more than happy to return to Solstheim anytime.
Pros: Setting the DLC on a new continent opens up tons to uncover. Decent 10 hour campaign for the price. New Shouts. The ability to ride dragons.
Cons: However riding dragons can be very cumbersome and confusing. Not a very satisfying ending.
Todd Hargosh is GiN's Product Testing Manager. He enjoys any game that gets his adrenaline pumping. Todd can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org.