The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn Review

Took you long enough, Bethesda.

Some Quick Information

Genre: Action RPG, open world

Mode: Single-player

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Release Dates:

-Xbox 360: December 4, 2012
-PC: February 5, 2013
-PS3: February 12, 2013

Note: This game requires the full The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game to play.



Before you can begin your new quest…

You must’ve slain your first dragon and heeded the call of the Greybeards. Once you finish your initial training with the Greybeards and return to any city (I think… I went back to Whiterun), you’ll encounter cultists who ask if you’re Dragonborn. It doesn’t matter what you say to them because they’ll think you’re full of shit regardless and proceed to attack you. Kill them, loot one of the cultists, and read the letter to find out that they came to Skyrim from Solstheim to kill you. With that information, you’ll unlock a boat ride to Solstheim to begin the brand new Dragonborn content.

What else is new?


The island of Solstheim off the coast of Morrowind is a decently-sized, new playable area with new points of interests and several dungeons to explore. The northern half is mountainous and snowy like Skyrim, but bottom half is more Morrowind-like with forests and mushrooms. It looks great in game.



There are a few new enemies like Lurkers, Ash Spawn, Lovecraftian vagina-monsters, and the goblin-thingies; some humanoid NPCs have new armor like the cultists, the reavers, etc.; new shouts (does anyone use anything beyond Stop Time, Unrelenting Force, Dragonrend, and Whirlwind Sprint?); and – oh! – there are female draugr now! Yeah… I’m really grasping at straws here to find anything new and noteworthy. The enemies are essentially the old enemies with new models.

Once you get past the “ooh shiny” phase, you’re going to find that nothing is especially interesting in this new expansion. Dragon riding was not at all what I expected. Even Miraak, the focal point of the main story line, is completely underwhelming as a primary antagonist. There was plenty of potential to expand on the lore behind the Dragonborn, but it was completely wasted. I learned nothing about the player character, and save for a few lines explaining how Miraak came to power, I barely learned anything else about him by the end. Not even his method of mind control is fully elucidated. Combat was never The Elder Scrolls‘ strong point, so if there’s no decent story, what’s the appeal in Dragonborn?

It’s also incredibly short. It seriously takes like 3 hours to complete, which is pretty terrible for $20. Even if I decided to do the extra dungeons, it wouldn’t add that much when they each take like 10-20 minutes to clear. The map makes Solstheim look bigger than it actually is. I don’t really mind short games, but when it’s short and unsatisfying (that’s what she said), that’s when I get pissed.

This is in contrast to Dawnguard, which took a good 6-8 hours for one side of the story. The characters and story in Dawnguard were also infinitely more fleshed out. You actually learned more about the origin of vampires, the Falmer (!), the titular Dawnguard, and more.

At the very least…

The final boss fight was decent (compared to Alduin, anyway). It contained multiple phases with Miraak lobbing spells and fully-powered shouts at you. However, it was probably only marginally difficult because I have a mod installed to increase the game’s difficulty, and I’m a vampire, so I take 50% more damage from fire.

 TL;DR? It’s bad – 4/10.

This review is short because the game itself is short. If you’ve played Skyrim, you’ve played Dragonborn. I do not recommend buying this DLC at all until it’s at least 75% off on Steam or something.

What I liked:

-Beautiful new locale (I haven’t played Morrowind).
-Decent final boss.

What I didn’t like:

-Very short (3 or so hours).
-Some enemies might have new spell animations, but they are largely the same stuff you’re used to.
-Terribly weak story: The Dragonborn player character, Miraak, and the natives of Solstheim are not fleshed out at all.

Posted by RHExcelion under PC, PS3, Video Game Reviews, Xbox360 | Permalink

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