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Dragonborn Review via Game Informer

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I'd like to share this article with everyone that is from the latest issue of Game Informer:



Do not continue reading if you care about spoilers!



On paper, Dragonborn sounds like an extraordinary addition to the Skyrim experience. It boasts dragon riding, a trip to Morrowind's coastal island of Solstheim, new armor, weapons, and adversaries - a showdown between two all-powerful Dragonborn characters. As impressive as talking points are, they are all eclipsed by the surprising inclusion of the Oblivion plane or Apocrypha.


Clearly a love letter to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Apocrypha is infested with slimy tentacles and creatures with as many eyes as they have mouths. The hallways sway with life, sometimes collapsing or expanding as you walk down them. The architecture teems with shelves filled with lost tomes and scrolls. Dare to look upon one and the lettering comes to life for a brief moment before teleporting you deeper within this eerie, labyrinthine realm.

After you see Apocrypha, the giant mushrooms littered across Solstheim's terrain look unremarkable, yet are still a nice change of pace from Skyrim's snow-covered terrain. Apocrypha is a welcome show-stealer. The big bad that lurks inside of it, Hermaeus Mora, is equally as gawk-worthy and cool. Hermaeus Mora is the Daedric prince of knowledge and power, who chooses to appear as a mess of tentacles when dealing with mortals. Conversing with this intelligent abomination is as fascinating as it is dangerous.


Hermaeus Mora shares the spotlight with another great character: Miraak, the first of the Dragonborn. These finely penned characters are tied to all of the great plot points for the central story. Hermaeus Mora adds intrigue with his propositions and view of the world. Miraak makes your blood boil; he steals dragon souls from you, and is driven by an insatiable thirst for power. The battle between Miraak and your Dovahkiin is grandiose, but unfortunately proves to be far too repetitive. Miraak doesn't have a great defense for close range attacks - especially if you're using the Dragon Aspect shout, which is unlocked within the quest line.


When you use Dragon Aspect, your character is adorned with magical armor that increases damage bonuses for weapons and shouts. This shout can only be used once per day, but stays active for a significant amount of time. If you lean on melee for most encounters, this shout is invaluable. I used it throughout most of Dragonborn's campaign, and wished I had it in my arsenal when I first journeyed through Skyrim.


Battlefield dominance also stems from the Bend Will shout. When the first word is unlocked, you gain control of animals. The second word turns mortals into slaves. The third word allows dragons to be tamed. Although your character can jump up on the neck of one of these gigantic beasts, don't think for a second that you get full control over it. All you can do is tell it who to target, when to attack, and where to land. These beasts stutter and stop as they fly, and often look like they are going to glitch out of existence. They lack aggression, too, attacking at a snail's pace and delivering little in terms of damage. Long story short, the dragon-riding mechanic is a disaster. I'd rather see backward-flying dragons return than use this power again.


Thankfully, for campaign purposes, you only have to tolerate it once, and for no longer than five minutes. After that, its usage is entirely in your hands.

Dragonborn delivers a great adventure that rarely apes content from the core game. The dungeon designs are inventive - especially the water temple - and flow nicely from quest to quest. Solstheim is a fun island to explore, offering a wealth of side content and locales to uncover. The dragon-flying and battle against Miraak in the final act are rough, but the story stays strong and ends up being one of the better quest lines Bethesda Game Studios has created.

By Andrew Reiner


Overall Score: 8.5



Skryim's third expansion pack takes players to the coast of Morrowind, where the first Dragonborn resides.



The creative environment designs for Apocrypha are a breath of fresh air. Dragon-riding animations skip and look unfinished. The Dragon Aspect armor effects look fantastic.



Hermaeus Mora's voice is brilliant, and the action is accompanied by a typical Skyrim score.



New shouts add depth to the combat mechanics, and Dragon Aspect enhances melee.



The critical path offers five to six hours of great questing that fizzles out in the final act.


Replay Value:

Moderately High


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