Dawnguard is an add-on to Skyrim, focusing on Lord Harkon’s come back, ruler of an ancient vampire clan called the Volkihar. Harkon wants to gain the powers of the Elder Scrolls to kill light of the sun, so the Vampires can rule Tamriel. The game takes place in the planet of Nim, continent of Tamriel, province of Skyrim.
Players may take sides with an order of vampire slayers called Dawnguard or become part of the Vampires. Castle Volkihar is the base of the Vampires and Fort Dawnguard is the base of Dawnguard. Based on the player’s choice starting base points vary. The player’s choice gives way to two different story lines, with approximately fifteen hours of game play, even for an experienced Elder Scroll pro. There are new missions, new armors, new perk trees, new locations and weapons. As part of the artillery, a crossbow is added to the Dawnguard side.
Additionally, Vampires can now transform into a new kind of blood sucker called a Vampire Lord, working along the lines of a Werewolf transformation. It does have some cool tricks, unfortunately no flying, although standard hovering is possible. The only exception is that the transformation may be used several times, rather than the previously possible one time a day. The Vampire Lord and Werewolves level up separately from the regular skill trees, with individual skill trees.
As usual, the journey is laced with the simple events of life at Tamriel like picking berries along the mountainside, chopping wood, smelting and killing massive mythical beasts. As a vampire, there are several quests to conquer before any real gaming goes underway including untapped dungeons and many chances at eating people.
On the downside, Dawnguard crams all of its new locations into the smaller unseen areas of Tamriel, making the game heavily reliant on the plot and not the places. There are a few technical issues too. The pretty caves are a bit puzzling to navigate. While fighting in the dungeons there are frustrating moments to be dealt with when a quick way out is not to be seen. There are random wayward pointers in directions which literally take you to dive off a cliff and lightning bolts destroying undead warriors. The add-on takes a considerable amount of time to download, update and start from where the last saved game stopped.
On the whole, the Elder Scroll team in Bethesda has done it again. They have upped their technology, game diversity, action, game hours and a new level of excitement. It usually takes a gamer anywhere between two to three months to get tired of a video game. Let’s hope Dawnguard Expansion keeps the thrill going for far more than that!