The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Previews and Video Interview

With E3 officially concluded, we've taken the chance to round up some more coverage for Skyrim's first DLC (or maybe we should call it expansions?) Dawnguard, in the form of two previews and one video interview with art director Matt Carofano.

Vampires play a little bit differently than regular characters; you'll obviously get more powerful at night, and there's no access to your human inventory or your dragon shouts. To compensate, vampires have quite a few abilities, both magic and melee attacks are available, and swapping between the modes is as simple as clicking your analog stick. There are abilities like Mist Form, which makes you temporarily invulnerable as you regenerate health, magic, and stamina, as well as abilities like life drain and vampiric grip, which allows you to grab enemies telekinetically and throw them quite a ways away. It ends up being a great ability for crowd control, even if it doesn't do much damage.

We didn't get to dig deep into the story of Dawnguard, but the combat is certainly entertaining with the new additions. Alongside the new abilities is everything you'd expect in an expansion pack more environments, more armor, and even an entirely new weapon type: the crossbow. New content in Dawnguard will seamlessly integrate into Skyrim, and you'll see new vampiric creatures as you explore the core world of Skyrim.

Destructoid seems fairly negative about it and worries about balance:
The third-person view of Skyrim was a vast improvement over previous Bethesda games, but you'd still be hard-pressed to find players who prefer it to first-person. It's baffling to me, then, why the vampire form restricts the player to third-person combat. When I asked the developers about the decision-making process behind this, they sheepishly replied, (Well ... it's what we did for the werewolf in Morrowind.) Making the same mistake twice is a defining trait of Bethesda, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.

No matter what, third-person will be less immersive than first-person, but that doesn't mean it has to be bad. Dawnguard is bad because the animation, combat, and movement of the vampire is incredibly awkward -- a few steps back from what Bethesda achieved in Skyrim. The vampire shuffles forward with his hulking body obscuring most of your view; his hand-to-hand combat has a considerable amount of lag on it; and transforming in and out of vampire form is awkward. Then there are other annoyances, like losing the ability to check out your map or manage inventory in the form. Because, you know, vampires are just too evil to stop and read maps.

Finally, GameSpot has a "stage demo" (essentially a community interview with footage being played) with the title's art director, who delves into the newly introduced mechanics and content. Among other thing we learn that Bethesda has apparently went back to touch up on all the vampires already present in Skyrim with this DLC, giving them new abilities and changing their look. Nice.