First Impressions: Exploring The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC

After more than a year without DLC, the PlayStation 3 version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim finally gets some love from Bethesda. In this case, the latest Skyrim DLC to release on other platforms is the first on PS3 – and it’s arguably the best of the bunch. In an attempt to make up for the delay, Bethesda and Sony saw fit to slash the content’s price in half for the first week of release. So, the question is: are you ready to journey back into the world of Nirn?

Standing tall

Dragonborn takes you to the island of Solstheim – an area that already featured in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind’s expansion, Bloodmoon. As you’d expect from a Bethesda add-on, Dragonborn features its own story, its own activities, and its own atmosphere. There really is no denying the quality of the product; it’s a real throwback to the days when DLCs added massive amounts to already huge games.

If you’ve already spent hundreds of hours in snowy Skyrim, Solstheim represents a land of new opportunities. It’s home to numerous new and strange enemies, quirky characters, and great loot. Unique weapons and new armour sets are here in abundance, all scattered around unique and compelling environments. There’s a massive amount of new content, even if the core gameplay remains the same.

Bloodshot eyes

The expansion’s plot focuses on the first Dragonborn, a mysterious and powerful character named Miraak. He holds a menacing presence and stands as one of Skyrim’s more interesting personalities, as does much of the cast introduced here. There’s also a real sense of foreboding throughout the main quest line, and encountering resistance from Miraak and his minions makes for some compelling missions and set pieces.

Of course, a DLC named Dragonborn wouldn’t be complete without some new shouts to utilise. The fabled ability to ride atop a dragon is yours to take advantage of, although not quite in the way you might expect. Instead of being able to openly glide above the world, you’ll be restricted to the immediate area. Nevertheless, hopping onto the back of a dragon and taking to the skies is something any Skyrim fan will get a kick out of.

By the fire

Perhaps most importantly, Skyrim’s first DLC on Sony’s console runs surprisingly well. As an expansion to a game that was marred by countless technical issues for so many, Dragonborn manages to uphold a relatively solid framerate and doesn’t appear to be plagued by game breaking glitches. Interestingly enough, Dragonborn as a whole is probably a more stable piece of software than the game that spawned it.

For those who yearn for more content when it comes to Bethesda’s epic, look no further than Dragonborn. It serves as a breath of fresh air in terms of location and discovery, even if you’ve already spent countless hours wandering the tundra. At full price there’s more than enough content here to justify the purchase. At half price, it’s an absolute steal.