Probably the biggest complaint I have with Dawnguard is a lack of new areas. While it does offer many new dungeons, if you were expecting something on the scale of Shivering Isles from Oblivion, you’ll be disappointed. Dawnguard does add a couple of larger areas, but a few of them feel rather empty as if they were made larger just for the sake of it. Most of them do expand Skyrim’s color pallet, offering something new and colorful to look at which is a plus.

Since Dawnguard takes place within Skyrim, it gives you a reason to revisit the world, and the new dungeons are carefully placed around sections most players probably haven’t explored. This not only reveals more points of interest from the original game, it even opened up more quests after 180+ hours of play. For me, it was yet another reason to continue playing Skyrim (not that I really needed one). Players that feel they did everything the game has to offer now have a new incentive.

*Warning: The information below may contain slight spoilers.*

I did find the main story in Dawnguard to be quite interesting. At some points, it felt rushed, but the quests themselves were rather entertaining and offered a great sense of variety. That cannot be said about the side quests unfortunately. They started off great, but you’ll quickly realize they’re the same tasks over and over with very slight differences. For example, one side quest was to kill a specific vampire. The catch is that the town guards don’t believe this person is actually who you say they are. Your goal is to come up with a creative way to kill your target. That’s about as interesting as the side quests come.

Out of the 15-20 quests I completed, only a couple offered interesting gameplay that switches things up. The rest were; “Collect X” or “Kill Y”. Those same quest were nearly identical every single time, except for the location. That’s not to say they weren’t entertaining to complete, but I couldn’t help but feel Bethesda got a little lazy. Thankfully, the main quest will take nearly 10+ hours to complete on each side. Assuming you have multiple characters, you’re looking at around 20+ hours of gameplay for your buck.

*End of slight spoilers*

All in all, Dawnguard is a great first expansion. It adds many features players have been begging for, along with some new ones. From the amount of new enhancements like crossbows, new enemy types, shouts, perks for vampires and werewolves, tons of new weapons and armor and more crafting abilities. There’s something here for everyone’s play style, and it will likely make you fall in love with Skyrim all over again. That is, unless your still in love with it like me.

If you’re a die hard Skyrim fan wanting more of the same experience with a couple of game changers, Dawnguard is easy to recommend. If you’re a fan who’s been waiting for some epic huge adventure similar to Shivering Isles, you might end up with quite a bit of disappointment. Dawnguard isn’t bad, it just doesn’t do anything new.

 

Here’s the Rundown:
+ Great amount of new content and features
+ Vampire Lord is bad ass
+ Around 20+ hours for your buck
+ Being able to fall in love with Skyrim all over again
+ More of the same you know and love
– Lack of new areas
– Gaining Werewolf perks is a boring chore 
– More of the same you know and love

8 and 8.5 represent a game that is a good experience overall. While there may be some issues that prevent it from being fantastic, these scores are for games that you feel would easily be worth a purchase.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard was developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released for Xbox 360 on June 26th of 2012 with a future PS3 and PC release. It currently retails for $19.99. A copy of the downloadable content was provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.