Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: 2/5/2013
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The splashing of waves, the grass between your toes, the ash in your eyes, and Dunmer at your feet. Ah, it’s nice to be back in Morrowind! I was surprised when I found out Dragonborn took place in Solstheim which is a volcanic island just off the coast of Morrowind. You arrive there due to a strange occult thing happening. People are building relics in their sleep, basically, sleepwalking and building. You ask around about a guy named Miraak and people say he sounds familiar, but they can’t quite remember. As you ask around in the main city Raven Rock, you will be greeted by Devin Mallory’s brother and various other people who are very interesting to talk to.
I first have to mention that Dragonborn has some of the best art in any Elder Scrolls game. When you start getting the Black Books and travel to Apocrypha (Hermaes Mora’s territory) you will be stunned. It’s very Lovecraftian with the Lurker and Seeker enemies. There are strange tunnels that move, walls made of sticks, floors covered in paper with arcane writing, and strange magic and objects. I loved these areas and enjoyed them immensely. However, the main quest line is super short, there are more side quests here which is good I guess. The final fight with Miraak (not a spoiler, it’s obvious) is very challenging and you get to ride freaking dragons! This is probably the most powerful thing added to an Elder Scrolls game. I love the new shouts such as Bend Will. This will make enemies fight alongside you. The new Bonemold and Chitin armor looks awesome, as well as some new weapons. There’s quite a bit here and is a nice chunk of the game and a great final goodbye to Skyrim.
Many of the quests are more puzzle-related and quite challenging. It was nice to be really challenged in exploration in Dragonborn. One final quest has you finding cubes in an old Dwemer ruin. You have to place them in a certain order and run around finding them to open new parts up. The enemies are challenging and I found it all quite fun. There’s plenty of Morrowind lore here for longtime fans and newcomers who don’t know much about it.
I warn you though, that you need to be at least level 20 to start this. I came in at level 7 and got my butt handed to me by the Ash Spawn, the first enemies you will encounter. I died in just one hit, so be careful. I also hated how there was no place to train for smithing, and there was only one major town. At least you can fast travel to and from Skyrim via the map and not by boat every time. I was also upset that you didn’t get to ride dragons until the final quest and it’s very brief. Also, be warned, Miraak will steal all your dragon souls if you kill dragons in Solstheim. He’s a real bastard.
Overall, Dragonborn is a solid and final DLC to Skyrim. It is much better than Dawnguard in the sense that the story is more interesting, but there aren’t two sides to play. Being able to ride dragons is a major addition to the game, the enemies are interesting and challenging, the art looks fantastic, and the lore is great.