Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -- Dawnguard  



E3: Skyrim's Dawnguard expansion goes gothic on my ass


5:45 PM on 06.08.2012
E3: Skyrim's Dawnguard expansion goes gothic on my ass photo



Stuff you should know: I am not a vampire, I am not employed by Bethesda, and I didn’t complete Skyrim, not even the main quest. That’s okay, though, because Dawnguard isn’t more of the same. It’s a 15-20 hour expansion based around new ideas in new areas that are tied to new characters.

Whether you want to become a Vampire Lord now or later is the player’s call to make. Whether they should make that call at all is an entirely different discussion, so let’s talk!

The hands-on E3 demo of Dawnguard starts five hours into the expansion. I am already a Vampire Lord with abilities that make Morrowind’s lycanthropy seem like child’s play. By activating the power (right bumper/shout button), you change into vampire form which grants you access to a new vampire perks tree, including some of the game’s most outrageous spells.

As a vampire, you can transform into a group of bats and quickly warp across a room, lift characters off the ground and choke them Darth Vader-style, and even summon a gargoyle to join your winged, bad self. As cool as these spells are, being a vampire has its downsides. Some technical, others mechanical.

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.

Another big concern with the vampire form is that it doesn’t complement all character builds. The vampire has some of the strongest spell-based attacks of the game, but he will quickly drain your magicka resources. As a result, you’ll want to jump into hand-to-hand combat until your magicka refills. But what if you are a mage? Or what if you are a rogue and find the vampire form often blows your cover? Bethesda didn’t really have a good response to this. It seems the vampire form will be used for brute-forcing your way through some nasty encounters. If that doesn’t work with your style of play, well, tough luck.

As in Oblivion’s Shivering Isles expansion, Bethesda is building a new area in Dawnguard that fills a void within Skyrim’s world. The demo took place in Soul Cairn, a nightmarish, gothic land of skeletons, lost souls, and other things that come straight out of a heavy metal album cover. It’s definitely something new. I’m just not sure if Dawnguard is something good. Gliding over the terrain as a vampire is cool, and I like the new powers, but there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed until this expansion meets the high standards Bethesda has previously set.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Happy Demoween, Destructoid!  photo
Happy Demoween, Destructoid!
12:30 PM on 10.31.2014





timeline following:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -- Dawnguard



5:00 AM on 06.06.2012
E3: Be a Vampire Lord in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC

Bethesda is expanding the realm of Skyrim with the game's first piece of downloadable content, Dawnguard. You've seen the trailer and screenshots, and now you can watch The Destructoid Show's Max Scoville give you his though...more



5:05 PM on 06.05.2012
E3: Bring out your broadsword! New Dawnguard screens

Truth be told, I have yet to finish the main quest of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, mostly because I'm just far too busy with exploring random caves and dungeons through out the land. But after seeing the trailer for its first...more




Role-Playing Games

8:00 PM on 02.26.2015
Tokyo Xanadu is a new Vita RPG from Nihon Falcom

Tokyo Xanadu is the latest project from Ys and The Legend of Heroes studio Nihon Falcom. The role-playing game is a departure from your classic Falcom fantasy setting, given the story takes place in modern-day Tokyo. Don't wo...more



3:00 PM on 02.26.2015
Y2K is a surrealist fantasy told through the lens of a Murakami-loving hipster

Y2K began with protagonist Alex Eggleston returning to his his hometown from college. I watched him gaze out of bus windows until the scene shifted to him sharing a seat with a man in a panda costume. This was jarring enough to give Alex reason to look completely shaken and offended, and as the jaunty soundtrack suggested, should have felt super quirky and weird. It didn't.more



12:30 PM on 02.26.2015
Namco teases new Vita RPG Ray Gigant from Demon Gaze dev

Demon Gaze developer Experience has been busy on the Vita since with Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (and its upcoming sequel in Japan), but there are no shortages of dungeons to crawl or publishers to team with, so Bandai...more



View all Role-Playing Games






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more