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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard Guide
Unofficial The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard Guide by CM Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
When I sat down last year to write the Intro to my walkthrough/guide for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim I opened it with the observation that the rush to rate the game as a perfect 10 out of 10 game review score even before it had been released was more than a bit premature. Even the reviewers who moved as quickly as they could to get their reviews online did so at the expense of a thorough play-through and, as a result, failed to take note of the bugs that they did not see because they did not play the game with the usual measure of intensity and completeness that the process normally receives.
It turns out that as writers -- and humans -- lessons are learned from the past; this time around there was very little rush to review and the scores that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dawnguard received were more in keeping with what it deserves. And yes, there are bugs, and yes, the reviewers took note of them this time around. But despite the bugs -- and there really are more than a few -- Dawnguard managed to secure very high rating scores because bugs and all it is one amazing expansion!
Depending upon your play style there is anywhere from around 22 hours to as many as 40 hours (or much much more if your character is below Level 50 considering that you will need to get it to at least Level 78 and that takes some major time to do) of solid entertaining play.
The underlying theme in Dawnguard goes well beyond what most gamers expect in an expansion to the point that it perpetrates significant -- one might even say life-altering -- changes in your characters, and indeed that is an accurate assessment as it essentially requires each gamer to make what is under ordinary circumstances a horrible decision... They must choose to either allow their character to be turned into a Vampire, or allow their character to be turned into a Werewolf.
While it is true that there is a light at the end of the tunnel -- regardless of which mythical beastie you decide to go with, when the story and quests in the Dawnguard expansion are over you can seek out and obtain a cure that will turn your character back into a human (or whatever passes for species for them)... If you want to. I suspect that many gamers will not want to, because both the Vampire and the Werewolf each come with some pretty amazing perks as well as formidable powers, and bear in mind that unlike with the Vampire, the Werewolf form has very little actual or intrusive impact on play as a human (or whatever you are).
With respect to the game, game play, and the story to be found here, history repeats itself again as, just like with the base game, the folks at Bethesda brought gamers a lot more bang for their buck and an intense, immersive, and very addictive story, with a unique set of challenges to boot! Sadly I cannot tell you about the things I would change if I could, because 99% of those wants would constitute a spoiler if I did... Bearing in mind that there are only around ten things I would change, and most of those relate to interpersonal relationships between the characters in the game, and not any major game-changing issues, but still... My respect for you is so great that I simply will not risk spoiling any of this for you because -- and I am sincere when I say it -- this is one awesome adventure and you should savor every second of it!
When you consider that this expansion arrived just as the worse part of the annual Summer Doldrums was setting in -- that period each year when so few new games are released that it often leaves gamers struggling with boredom and nothing to play -- and clearly here was something to play! I can say that in many ways I envy the gamers who had not played the base game until this summer, as I can easily imagine their pleasure in playing through that prior to starting the expansion, and the satisfaction that the experience certainly delivered!
So, as I wrap this up, I offer a hearty "Well Done!" to Bethesda and specifically to Todd Howard, the lead designer and man with the iron fist who shaped the game and its expansion. While there is no official word on the matter, a quiet word at this year's E3 from someone who would know suggested that there will be at least three more DLC offerings for TESV -- and possibly more than that. And if they are only half as big -- and half as good -- as Dawnguard, we are in for a treat!
I very much enjoyed writing this guide, and I hope that you will enjoy using it!