It’s hard to believe that anyone could get bored with Skyrim’s hundreds of quests and adventures. But rather than sit on their laurels, Bethesda Game Studios has finally released the first highly-anticipated DLC pack for the game, “Dawnguard.”
The main attraction is the ability to turn into a full-fledged Vampire Lord, a welcome upgrade to the somewhat underwhelming vampires in vanilla Skyrim. The new class is fleshed out with a perk tree and a deadly arsenal of abilities. As a Vampire Lord, players can slash and claw at enemies from the ground or float above them while casting life draining spells out of their right hand and raising the dead with their left. Also, by feeding on enemies and stealing their life force players can unlock new powers in the perk tree, giving the vampire lord a welcome but slightly over-powered feel to it.
Bethesda also made sure to provide for the lycan lovers, as they upgraded the werewolf class with a new perk tree. However, it’s apparent that Bethesda really expected most players to fall more to the vampire side of the choice.
With “Dawnguard,” Bethesda didn’t add any new areas to the map of Skyrim, but rather squeezed the new locations into the original map. As a result, the DLC feels more like an update than a full addition, and doesn’t really take advantages of the games strengths in exploration and discovery. Instead, players are shuffled back and force across the map which breaks up the already somewhat flimsy storyline of the new content.
In “Dawnguard,” the player is given the choice to line up with one of two factions: the vampires of the Volkihar Clan or the Dawnguard — a legendary group of vampire hunters. The vampires, led by the particularly nasty Lord Harkan, have a vendetta against the sun and are attempting to destroy it using the power of a set of elder scrolls the mythical Auriel’s Bow. In turn, the Dawnguard are trying to end the vampirism threat once and for all. It gives everyone a good reason to fight, but the pace feels a little forced, as the player is thrown into the thick of things without very much warning.
If you’re looking for another faction storyline and a new way to kill things as a vampire, “Dawnguard” is a good buy. For $20 on Xbox Live and PSN, the DLC adds new depth to the game. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have vampires to slay.