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 brainchild under PC, PS3, Video Game Reviews, Xbox360 | Permalink

11 Responses to “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn Review”

  1. Fat says:

    75% off goty edition. Just like all my Bethesda purchases.

  2. Kresh says:

    Thanks for the review! The first non-“OMFG IT’S MORROWIND!!!11!” review that I’ve seen.

    …now I want to pick up Dawnguard. 6-8 hours per side? Nice.

  3. airco says:

    We’re reviewing DLC now? Okay.

  4. Lanf says:

    I’ll wait until the great schism of mods that won’t work with Dragonborn and those which require it inevitably happens. By the time this actually goes down to a price worth buying it for, there might be some decent ones available.

    Thanks, you’ve helped me decide whether I should fork up the £14 now or £3.50 later. All other reviews seemed to be praising it to high heaven.

  5. Mook says:

    Oh you. Everybody knows that Elder Scrolls games are only good for mods.

  6. SomeLoser says:

    yeah, I have been an TES fan since Daggerfall, and the series has been on a downwards spiral since Morrowind now.
    It was pretty much an exchange of interesting characters, bizarre looking locations and interesting villains with more simplistic stories, annoying NPCs with “radiant” speech (yeah, right), a shitty quest system and overall being obscenely easy now.
    I hoped that this DLC would be for Skyrim what Shivering Island was for Oblivion, but they couldn’t, the main game is already too stale and unimaginative.
    Well, I’m still looking forward to TES VI with fewer enemies, no daedra at all, merging of cuirass, pants AND boots and even more recovery for health/endurance/magic!

    Maybe Fallout 4 won’t suck balls… :(

    • katsu says:

      theirs a new fallout inc? cool XD oh and yea i myself is also waiting on 75% off on every Dlc since none or ever worth to buy:P well in terms of story’s.. not for weapon and armor those are usually worth it + the new area’s..lol

      • Md0 says:

        Fallout 3 is no fallout, wasteland 2 is and much more by the looks of it – check out the gameplay preview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9hQWqtxXPU. I can’t wait!

        • SomeLoser says:

          Fallout 3 kinda blows, but New Vegas is actually pretty good. If you hate the VATS system and gameplay of Fallout 3, fair enough, but New Vegas has actually some really interesting choices you can make with different factions, and more of demented brand of humor you would expect from the fallout series.
          It’s definitively worth a try.

  7. Andrew says:

    Ok, so at around 7 hours I have finished the main story and discovered a few side quests. I spent a lot of time just wandering around exploring, and honestly this DLC is SO much better than Dawnguard, which in my opinion was a huge let down being such a short and small add on.