The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard Review
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard Box Art
System: Xbox 360*, PS3, PC
Dev: Bethesda
Pub: Bethesda
Release: June 26, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol

There are some new side quests too, and there's one in particular I want to complain about. So, the absolute worst side quest in all of Skyrim was probably the Crimson Nirnroot quest, in which you had to collect twenty of the buggers in a gigantic underground cave. It was tedious, dull, and frustrating. Well, Dawnguard has a side quest that's worse. This one has you collect ten pages of notes scattered across a realm called the Soul Cairn. This area is substantially larger than the Crimson Nirnroot cave, and unlike Nirnroot, the pages don't grow back if you wait a week. I managed to find one single page in about an hour and a half of searching. The other nine? No thanks.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard Screenshot

It must be noted that this side quest is optional and has no bearing on the storyline. Still, it's obnoxious to see it sitting unfinished in my quest log just taunting me.

Ultimately, though, the Dawnguard storyline is substantial and satisfying. It leads you through some very clever twists and turns as you unravel a vampire plot to completely blot out the sun. Well, from the Dawnguard side anyway. You can also decide to help the vampires in this plot if you'd rather do that, but, as I mentioned before, I chose to slay vampires rather than to help them. (However, I did end up becoming a vampire anyway, making me the biggest hypocrite in all of Skyrim.)


While the amount of content included in this DLC is substantial—definitely worth the twenty bucks—it's also riddled with bugs, and a few of those make it damn near unplayable. It's frustrating, at the very least. I'll say that buying the Dawnguard content is a no-brainer for Skyrim fans (and I assume most Xbox 360 Skryim owners have already purchased it), but it comes with the caveat that you shouldn't expect a flawless experience—at least not until Bethesda throws us a patch to fix some of this stuff. But, I mean, more Skyrim isn't a bad thing, right?

Josh Wirtanen
Editor / News Director
Date: June 29, 2012

The same Skyrim visual quality we've grown accustomed to.
Skyrim's controls feel as great as ever.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Plenty of new NPC dialogue, and the Dovahkiin music still gets our blood pumping.
Play Value
A ton of content for your money. Unfortunately, this comes with an absurd amount of bugs.
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Dawnguard™ is the first official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® - the 2011 Game of the Year.
  • The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned to power. By using the Elder Scrolls, he seeks to do the unthinkable: to end the sun itself. Will you join the ancient order of the Dawnguard and stop him? Or will you become a Vampire Lord yourself?
  • Featuring an all new faction questline and locations, the ultimate choice will be yours.

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