DLC Report- Dawnguard
Updated: Jul 21
The final DLC report is here, at long last, it is time to talk about vampires. Furthermore, let’s talk about werewolves, the manliest of all the monsters.
Dawnguard offers quite a lot at content, a new faction, two skill trees and a new unique companion among others. However I will be focusing on the werewolf skill tree, as that was the tree I chose. I do regret picking the werewolf line. Precisely because looking back, the powers seemed to be more inspired then the werewolf skill line.
The Dragonborn finds himself drawn into a secret war between vampire hunters (Dawnguard) and vampires, and quickly uncovers a sinister plot by the vampires to snuff out the light. Please keep in mind that I sided with the Dawnguard, which might have been a mistake in hindsight. Because, the more think back, the more interesting it seems. But there is no way to change it now; I would talk about how Dawnguard expands on ESlore. That is to say, you meet Snow Elves. Yes, you meet the thought to be extinct race of Snow Elves.
It is not as exciting as it sounds, if anything the event comes across as rather sombre. For example, Knight-Paladin Gelebor glumly tells you to kill his power hungry brother, the only other Snow Elf left. He takes it in his stride but you can tell that there is a sorrow, a nihilism that is really heart-breaking. Speaking of which, the Soul Cain is one of the more interesting locations. It is a place filled with lost souls of centuries past.
Regardless of the map being somewhat uninsured (just one massive flat slice of ground), it has a great sense of atmosphere. The lush use of magenta and wide open space successfully being the idea of aliening isolation, not to mention the undercurrent of something sinister lurking (The Ideal Masters). It is a fascinating place that I will properly go back to.
Beware the wolf
The vampire skill tree grants you assess to a number of skills, the end point allowing you to transform into a vampire lord. The warewolf skill tree sadly only allows you to summon two ice wolves and prolong the warewolf form. As a result I would highly recommend grabbing the vampire skill when you can. It will be a hell of a lot more fun. I did play as the warewolf for a bit, I won’t deny there is some fun to be had, hacking and slashing through minions. But with Skyrim’s clunky melee combat, it is not as fun as it otherwise could be.
The final boss
In keeping with Skyrim’s DLC practice, the final boss is an actual boss fight instead of hype inflated minion. Most importantly, it is a very tricky boss fight-multistaged with certain weaknesses. For the first time I was forced to use a bow, in order to take advantage of it’s weakness. In other words I needed to use Auriel's Bow to whittle down the boss. It was fun, challenging and had me at the edge of my seat sometimes (which I cannot say for Alduin).
Bethesda was able to overcome the fantasy- terminator problem, by forcing the player to always be on their feet, adapting on the fly and making the boss very resistant to a majority of attacks. On the other hand, it is a cheap means of difficulty, but it does work.
The new companion
Serana on paper is a really interesting character, having spent centuries entombed she is completely out of sorts with the rest of the world. Above all, she barely left the house before her entombment. I love how she muses about the world, asking to go indoors when the sun is out or simply marvelling at the majesty of Solitude. Out of all the companions, she is the most dynamic and personality driven.
However, I wish the voice actress Bethesda picked for Serana had more emotion then a wooden doll. She speaks in a dull monotone that simply saps her scenes of spice; it damages what could have been a memorable character. Instead Serana is regulated to a bored teenager, a teenager with an interesting history. But is ultimately disinterested in events.
Dawnguard is a perfectly fine DLC. A nice amount of content that will add an additional 13 hours to the monster that is Skyrim. However I wish that Bethesda got a better voice actress for Serana. At least one that was engaged in the story she was a part of. Otherwise it is a pretty great DLC (play vampire).