Probably the biggest complaint I have with Dawnguard is a lack of new areas. While it does offer many new dungeons, if you were expecting something on the scale of Shivering Isles from Oblivion, you’ll be disappointed. Dawnguard does add a couple of larger areas, but a few of them feel rather empty as if they were made larger just for the sake of it. Most of them do expand Skyrim’s color pallet, offering something new and colorful to look at which is a plus.

Since Dawnguard takes place within Skyrim, it gives you a reason to revisit the world, and the new dungeons are carefully placed around sections most players probably haven’t explored. This not only reveals more points of interest from the original game, it even opened up more quests after 180+ hours of play. For me, it was yet another reason to continue playing Skyrim (not that I really needed one). Players that feel they did everything the game has to offer now have a new incentive.

*Warning: The information below may contain slight spoilers.*

I did find the main story in Dawnguard to be quite interesting. At some points, it felt rushed, but the quests themselves were rather entertaining and offered a great sense of variety. That cannot be said about the side quests unfortunately. They started off great, but you’ll quickly realize they’re the same tasks over and over with very slight differences. For example, one side quest was to kill a specific vampire. The catch is that the town guards don’t believe this person is actually who you say they are. Your goal is to come up with a creative way to kill your target. That’s about as interesting as the side quests come.

Out of the 15-20 quests I completed, only a couple offered interesting gameplay that switches things up. The rest were; “Collect X” or “Kill Y”. Those same quest were nearly identical every single time, except for the location. That’s not to say they weren’t entertaining to complete, but I couldn’t help but feel Bethesda got a little lazy. Thankfully, the main quest will take nearly 10+ hours to complete on each side. Assuming you have multiple characters, you’re looking at around 20+ hours of gameplay for your buck.

*End of slight spoilers*

All in all, Dawnguard is a great first expansion. It adds many features players have been begging for, along with some new ones. From the amount of new enhancements like crossbows, new enemy types, shouts, perks for vampires and werewolves, tons of new weapons and armor and more crafting abilities. There’s something here for everyone’s play style, and it will likely make you fall in love with Skyrim all over again. That is, unless your still in love with it like me.

If you’re a die hard Skyrim fan wanting more of the same experience with a couple of game changers, Dawnguard is easy to recommend. If you’re a fan who’s been waiting for some epic huge adventure similar to Shivering Isles, you might end up with quite a bit of disappointment. Dawnguard isn’t bad, it just doesn’t do anything new.


Here’s the Rundown:
+ Great amount of new content and features
+ Vampire Lord is bad ass
+ Around 20+ hours for your buck
+ Being able to fall in love with Skyrim all over again
+ More of the same you know and love
– Lack of new areas
– Gaining Werewolf perks is a boring chore 
– More of the same you know and love

8 and 8.5 represent a game that is a good experience overall. While there may be some issues that prevent it from being fantastic, these scores are for games that you feel would easily be worth a purchase.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard was developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released for Xbox 360 on June 26th of 2012 with a future PS3 and PC release. It currently retails for $19.99. A copy of the downloadable content was provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.



  1. In my mind I like the vampire lord transformation more than werewolf. It does seem fun to hold someone in the air like a rag doll and then throw them off a cliff.. Try it in the game sometime. I recommend throat of the world or another tall mountain. Only shame about the vampire side is the weaknesses in the sun. Stunted sucks.

  2. This is mostly in response to the very end of this RipTen review, and to some other reviews on other sites.

    One annoyance I have with a lot of reviews of DLC and expansion packs, and specifically with Dawnguard:

    Dawnguard is not an expansion pack. Dawnguard is only a DLC. It is a big DLC, yes, but it is only DLC. The problem with many reviews is that they review Dawnguard as if it is a full-blown expansion pack, and not just a DLC.

    For people who are confused about the distinction or what they mean, here are some examples and clarifications:

    Lord of Destruction (Diablo II), Tribunal (Morrowind), Bloodmoon (Morrowind), and Shivering Isles (Oblivion) were all expansion packs. LoD, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon were obvious expansion packs, as DLC did not exist in its current form when those came out. So what sets Shivering Isles apart from the other DLC? It says it’s an expansion pack on the retail box and online images and descriptions.

    Knights of the Nine (Oblivion) and Dawnguard (Skyrim) are DLCs. They are not expansions. Nowhere anywhere does any advertising for Dawnguard nor Kot9 say that either are expansions. They are solely DLC.

    To summarize, some expansions are DLC, but not all DLCs are expansions.

    • Every piece of content you mentioned expands the base game. DLC means “downloadable content.” The two are not mutually exclusive. 

      DLC is a vehicle (as opposed to having to purchase a new disc with content). “Expansion pack” refers to content that adds quests, storyline and other items that provide additional play time. I would not consider costumes/skins, cheat codes or weapon packs to be “expansion packs.” They simply provide different ways to experience the same content. Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles, Dawnguard, etc all provide new things to experience that are different than the core game.

      • I will clarify.

        Dawnguard and Knights of the Nine are not defined by Bethesda as “expansion packs”. Shivering Isles, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon ARE defined as “expansion packs” by Bethesda. I make this claim by looking at the “box art” for each release.

        I find Chris Carlton saying in this article that Dawnguard is an expansion is misleading to Bethesda’s classification of their own content.

        Also, I never said DLC and expansion packs were mutually exclusive. I wrote that in the end of my post.

        • If you’re going to talk about me, at least spell my name right :P 

          Seriously though. If you want to get technical, in the first paragraph of my review I stated:

          “Bethesda has been hard at work on the game’s first add-on”

          Continuing into the review, I never once said Dawnguard was an “Expansion Pack”. I closed with saying “Dawnguard is a great first expansion”, because that’s exactly what it does. It expands upon the base game, but it’s certainly not an “Expansion Pack”. 

          •  I apologize, both for spelling your name wrong and being a general butt. I am sorry.

            I meant it more as a general rant about people in general messing it up, and not you personally.

            You are correct in saying that you never said that it was an expansion pack. However, I still stand by my 2nd comment, where I say that I think it is misleading.

            I am sorry what I said was mean-sounding and very direct.