The allure of Skyrim has always been the ability to “speak” to dragons, and the Dragonborn DLC enhances and expands upon this concept in several valuable ways. This DLC packs a 10 + hour wallop, side quests not included, and it’s certainly a larger departure than the bite-sized and inconsequential Hearthfire. Solstheim is rife with additional dungeons, mystery, and best of all, dragons.
Dragonborn must be accesed after you’ve cleared the “Call of Jurgen Windcaller” quest, where you’ll need to seek out the Dragonborn cultists of Miraak. They’ll find you eventually, and it’s all the more chilling when they do. Once you’ve been contacted by the cultists who serve the ancient Dragonborn, you’ll be able to summon the “Bend Will” shout, where the DLC fully opens up, revealing more of the ancient world of Oblivion and Solstheim. Seven questlines await the worthy, and each are a bit difficulty, seeing the toughness of the DLC ramping up considerably.
Solstheim (part of Morrowind) is home to Dark Elves, who very recently fell to a chaotic volcano’s eruption, which has coated the land and most of the sky with volcanic ash. For this reason it’s a welcome change of pace from the typical Skyrim decor as well as the high fantasy sights and sounds. Not only does the dank environment conjure images from another world, but the Black Books in the quests are extremely Lovecraftian. The tale of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Fate, unfolds via these books and the plight of Apocrypha is detailed as well. Tentacles abound, rolling out all over the land. It’s some good and uncomfortable stuff, especially if you’d already gotten over the dragons, the shouts, and all the glamorous sights and sounds of the worlds within. It’s intimidating in all the ways you wish it were, and as such it’s a trip to explore.
Apocrypha is home to plenty of special books that offer bonuses and stat boosts to existing perks and are quite beneficial to uncover. Four shouts are also available for allocation as well, most notably “Bend Will,” as referenced earlier. You’ll finally be able to, more carefully, control and mount dragons. Riding dragons isn’t as smooth as silk as it should be, but it’s still a breathtaking experience that even jaded Skyrim explorers can stop and take note of. All the world feels as though it’s yours to command while you’re zipping around through the air, and it’s truly a sight to behold. Those looking for Skyrim to fully live up to its potential will find plenty to love here.
Dragonborn also packs a wallop with its meaty narrative and multiple story quests and errands. Even if you’ve bottomed out with the main game’s content, there’s easily ten hours or more of extra-beefy content to sink your teeth into, enough to justify the price and the download.
If the Skyrim well has finally run dry for you and you’re looking for cost-effective ways to extend your time in the mythical world, Dragonborn is the best DLC choice by far — at least, for now. Bend dragons to your will to your heart’s content, and fly off into the sunset. You’ve earned it!