As if there wasn’t enough to do in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda’s third piece of DLC (downloadable content) significantly adds to the already jam–packed experience. What Dragonborn lacks in narrative finesse, it makes up in stunning environments and bang-for-your-buck.
Dragonborn’s story is unfortunately it’s weakest point; as often hinted at in Skyrim’s lore, you’re not the original Dragonborn, but rather the successor to the Dragon Priest Miraak. Initially thought long dead, Miraak is making his return and is setting up his base of operations in the Morrowind owned island of Solstheim, where you will spend the majority of your time. Despite the interesting things Dragonborn does with a certain Daedric prince, it’s story is otherwise sub par the threat of Miraak’s return is never that convincing enough to really care about and when compared with even Alduin (the villain in Skyrim) Miraak doesn’t make much of an impression.
But fear not, Dragonborn still has much to offer, it’s quests are enjoyable, especially those set in an Oblivion-inspired netherworld called Apocrypha; with it’s unique visual style and feeling of isolation. In fact, the overall environmental style in Dragonborn is commendable, harkening back to The Elder Scroll’s III: Morrowind with ash-smothered wastlands, while still retaining the snowy tundra of Skyrim in some truly spectacular scenes of crystallised waterfalls and lonely mountaintops. Solstheim itself is Dragonborn’s greatest feature; a harsh, merciless land full of strange creatures simply waiting to ambush the player, in particular I was impressed by the hanar-like (mass effect reference) Netch and genuinely terrified by the disturbing Seekers.
In true Skyrim fashion, there are also a number of side-quests available to eat up even more hours of your life. Whether your just exploring dungeons, carrying out tasks or helping the locals, there is plenty to get up to on Solstheim. Other new editions include new armour and weaponry, such as pieces made from a material called Stalkhrim, and new dragon shouts; Dragon Aspect is especially good, if limited, with armour, strength and shout bonus, as well as awesome character visuals. Whereas the ability to ride dragons is disappointing, it remains limited to fast travel and lock-on air support, leaving me to mourn over all the unused potential.
However, in the long run Dragonborn is possibly the best DLC released for Skyrim yet and it’s well worth checking out.
The Elder Scroll’s V: Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC has been available since December 4th 2012 for Xbox 360 for 1,600 Microsoft points or £12.40, release date for PS3 is February 4th 2013 and PC is TBA.