For over a year we’ve been addicted and re-addicted and re-addicted to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The latest large-scale DLC for Skyrim is Dragonborn, which takes players to the island of Solstheim, located off the north coast of Morrowind, previously visited in the Bloodmoon expansion of The Elder Scrolls III. The player’s main task is to track down Miraak, another dragonborn who is out to collect your soul. But like vanilla Skyrim, the greater fun of Dragonborn is not the main quest, but the culmination of its side quests and exploration.
Hunting down Miraak is perhaps the least satisfying experience of the entire Dragonborn DLC. The story is a little weak and Miraak doesn’t feel like much of a threat. But that doesn’t mean the journey itself isn’t worth taking. On the contrary—the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora makes another appearance, but this time you meet him face to face in his own realm of Oblivion. Though the Daedric royalty are all considered evil, with this performance Hermaeus Mora earns a twisted seat in our hearts as one of the most nefarious, and because of his vocal delivery, he’s one of the most frightening as well. His realm of Oblivion is no Shivering Isles, but is still incredibly well designed and contains a true feeling of malfeasance as you wander through the dark mazes and fight off its sinuous protectors.
Another low point of the DLC are the dragon mounts. On paper, it sounds fantastic, but in practice, it boils down to a canned flight circle with no real control over where the beast goes. You can cast magic, but you cannot use other ranged methods of attack which turns the dragon rides more into a travelling carnival attraction, and less like a practical means of delivering death from above.
On the flipside, the rest of the Dragonborn DLC is fantastic. The weapons, clothing, and armor found and made within the island are welcomed additions to the vanilla Skyrim experience, some of which have been seen in past Elder Scrolls titles, some are brand new to the series. They look better and feel more balanced than a lot of what you’ll find within the modding community, and most come with some pretty outstanding lore as well.
The island itself is fun to explore, featuring some fauna and flora of Morrowind, and if you look to the south, you’ll see Morrowind’s volcano erupting, which has resulted in a lot of volcanic fog and ash settlement on Solstheim.
Dragonborn’s sidequests are where you’ll squeeze most of the enjoyment out of the island, resulting in some of the best armor, and of course, a nice house in Raven Rock. They’re a good change of pace as you uncover assassination plots, fund excavations, and stop a minor uprising of the undead. Most of the caves and temples within the island have stories to go along with them, which is a really nice touch.
You also learn a few new dragon shouts which are, by and large, more useful than most of the ones you learn within vanilla Skyrim.
Sure, the story isn’t as good as Dawnguard, it might not be as thought provoking as Shivering Isles, and we wish we the dragons weren’t on rails, but the side missions, the new weapons and armor, and the island of Solstheim itself are great.
If you’re a fan of Skryim and you’re in the market for more territory to explore, we can definitely recommend picking up Dragonborn.
- Name: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn Video Review
- Reviewed on: PC
- Available on: PC (Windows), PS3, Xbox 360
- Developed by: Bethesda Game Studios
- Published by: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: December 4, 2012 (Xbox 360), February 5, 2013 (PC), February 12, 2013 (PlayStation 3)
- Price: $19.99
- Elder-Geek Score: 4 out of 5 / Worth Buying