The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Reviews

We have rounded up quite a few reviews for the recently released Dawnguard DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and judging by them, there doesn't really seem to be a consensus on the quality of the DLC.

IGN seems generally satisfied with it, 8/10.
Dawnguard is neither as meaty nor as cohesive as Shivering Isles, its Oblivion expansion pack counterpart, but then again it's not as expensive either. The other issue, as with any Elder Scrolls add-on content, is usefulness. When you get 100-plus hours of gameplay out of the box, do you really want to spend another $20 for 20-or-so more? That's up to you, but Dawnguard is certainly worth the investment.

Official Xbox Magazine seems downright enthusiastic, 9.0/10.
In the end, the only thing that truly holds Dawnguard back is the same bugaboo that's always plagued the Elder Scrolls series to one degree or another: glitches. Over the course of the dozen or so hours it took us to complete the main tale, we got stuck in stealth mode, saw bears get trapped in a cave's ceiling, and had a favorite shield turn permanently invisible. It would be a terrible shame if this sort of nonsense prevented you from experiencing one of the best add-on adventures in recent RPG memory, but take our warning to heart: save early, save often, and expect the unexpected.

While its UK cousin seems less pleased with the DLC, 7/10.
It's all far less playful than Shivering Isles or even the Fallout 3 DLC was - much closer to a conventional Skyrim faction questline than anything else. As a result, if you still have Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood invitations waiting for you, this DLC is an awfully expensive way to rekindle your interest in a game that's still rammed with similarly involving things to do.

Of course if you've rinsed almost every subplot the game has to offer and you're still gagging for more Skyrim, its production values and seamless integration with the main game are second to none. It's difficult to turn your nose up at new content for a game that scored a ten, but if you're expecting something dramatically different or experimental from Dawnguard you're likely to be disappointed.

Joystiq seems disappointed, no score.
I enjoy Skyrim's combat quite a bit, but not enough to carry another 16 hours of gameplay. It made up the majority of my many, many hours with the original game, and it just barely sustained my time with Dawnguard. But the new content what little there is of it isn't offering anything in the way of entertainment, and the vampire stuff is distinctly worse than any of the original combat. If I couldn't revert back to human form, I couldn't suggest you try this content at all. Even as a fan of Skyrim, it's not an easy recommendation.

Forbes, scoreless.
The most successful moments in Dawnguard are the ones where we get to peek deeper into Elder Scrolls lore, which has always been the strongest part of the series. Without giving too much away, a near-extinct ancient race makes a cameo experience. I wanted more of that whole new cities and factions. Give me a new area, with some new items, filled with side quests and one main narrative, just like in the original game. Give me a city populated with Falmer that have transcended their beastly state. Give me an expedition to Hammerfell or hell. Just give me some shiny new armor.

There's more Skyrim here, and for the sorts of people who have already hacked and fireballed their way through large swaths of the original game, that's enough to make the sale. But the lack of new explorable territory makes Dawnguard fall short of the full-scale (expansion pack) idea that Bethesda said it was pursuing. At 1600 MSP, I wanted a bit more.

NowGamer, 8.0/10.
The fact that the vampires don't sparkle should warrant a 10/10 score, but in all seriousness, Dawnguard offers superb value, even if it falls down in the design and excitement stakes.

Videogamer, 7/10.
There's plenty to do, then, but none of what Dawnguard has to offer feels like exceptional, must-have content. As pleasant as it is to go back and rediscover some of Skyrim's fringe locations, the lack of any substantial new areas to rummage around also feels disappointing. Dawnguard, for better or worse, is very much Skyrim playing to the same tune in many of the same locations.

There's nothing particularly wrong with that, of course; Skyrim is still a beautiful sight to behold, and I'm happy to jump back into its enchanting world of snow-dusted mountain peaks and slightly wonky facial animations for a few hours of new loot and cursory gameplay additions. Dawnguard is considerably better than most of Bethesda's recent Fallout 3 DLC, but you'll be sorely disappointed if you go in expecting to find Skyrim's version of Bloodmoon or The Shivering Isles.

Computer and Videogames, 8.0/10.
We're glad Bethesda chose to take their time and release something consierable in size, rather than drip feed us content. The asking price is fairly steep (1600MSP on Xbox 360, £14 on PS3), but we did manage to squeeze over 20 hours out of it.

While Oblivion's Shivering Isles DLC was a memorable departure from the main game, Dawnguard plays it relatively safe. The quality of the quests is on par with the rest of Skyrim, but it might not be enough to suck you back in if you've already exhausted every quest the regular game has to offer.

Metro, 6/10.
Much of the problem is due to the weak storytelling and characters, which have always been Bethesda's Achilles heel and probably why so many of their downloads disappoint. Because they take the focus away from exploring and experimenting, to following a largely linear sequence of quests, much of the magic is lost.

At over £13 this is not a cheap download and however much you may be desperate for more Skyrim do think carefully about what you're getting here. Even though it's long for a downloadable expansion this isn't going to last you much more than a day or two, and then it'll be back to playing Skyrim 'properly'.

The Controller Online, 9/10.
Though it was a long time in coming, Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC was well worth the wait. A few technical issues can't hold back the tide of new and engrossing content you'll get with this download. I was also a big fan of the way it was presented, as a collection of new locations off the main world map, rather than a self-contained chapter. If you were looking for an excuse to pick up Skyrim again, this is that excuse.

FMV Magazine, 3/5.
Those looking for additional treats will no doubt find a certain amount of satisfaction in garnering new armour, weapons and bonuses such as a spectral horse that can be summoned at will (if you complete the required side-quest), but the question of whether this additional content is worth the asking price is not an easy one to answer.

Dawnguard's central saga is well worth getting stuck into if you're a committed Skyrim fanatic who's exhausted everything the main game has to offer. And there is a generous smattering of fresh features here. But given the disappointing lack of a whole new landscape to explore, and the significant price attached to this add-on, it's certainly not the must-buy that many were expecting.

The Daily Californian, scoreless.
If you're looking for another faction storyline and a new way to kill things as a vampire, )Dawnguard) is a good buy. For $20 on Xbox Live and PSN, the DLC adds new depth to the game. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have vampires to slay.

Finally, Kotaku doesn't recommend it:
If I had to summarize Dawnguard in two words, it would be this: more Skyrim. For many people, that's enough and if you're in that boat, you should most definitely get your hands on this DLC. But if you wanted something special, something unique, something that could give you that feeling of giddiness you got the first time you entered Bethesda's hulking role-playing game and started exploring its caves and cities, then you might want to look elsewhere. Or at least wait for Skyrim: Game of the Year Edition.