I told myself (and my friends) time and time again that I would buy the DLC for Skyrim one day. 4 years after the games launch, it’s finally happened. The legendary edition was only £4 on Green Man Gaming, so I took the plunge, and haven’t regretted it at all.
Just a side note: I didn’t buy it for ages as I wanted to just buy the DLC, since I bought the retail copy of the game many years ago. This never happened as the DLC pricing was just ridiculous, even on sales. Lo and behold, it was cheaper to buy the legendary edition of the game with all DLC then it was to just buy 1 piece of DLC (god I hate DLC).
So, upon getting all the DLC downloaded and installed, I proceeded to jump into my old 64 hour playtime game, where I was completely overpowered and ready for anything. Upon arriving, and walking around a bit, I finally got some NPC’s that tried to attack and kill me. Once they were dispatched, I found a note on them saying they were dragon heretics sent to kill me from a far off land near Marrowwind. So I set off to find out about this new land, as Skyrim itself is fairly explored at this point for me, so a change of scenery would have been good.
Upon arriving, I found that a lot of people were mindless drones, simply constructing structures around holy poles. Speaking with someone nearby that wasn’t affected by the mind control going on, I found that there was a temple far away that I could explore for clues on what was happening. It was here that I decided to embark on making my way across the land, finding every single point of reference possible, so that I could then fast travel to anywhere on the island when I actually started getting objectives (yes, I know that’s strange as it diminishes the wonder you experience when encountering a place for the first time, but I love find everything possible so that I can quickly and efficiently finish objectives). The land of Solstheim is a lovely place that is truly new and wondrous compared to Skyrim before it. There’s plenty of desert (something we definitely haven’t seen in skyrim) due to the constant volcanic activity far away, and plenty of natural creatures we haven’t seen before. Some floated, which I’m sure was a shout back to players of the original Marrowwind, whilst some were spider like and exploded. It was nice to see such a new and interesting land, and makes me all the more excited for Fallout 4 due this year.
So what of the main story? With another Dragonborn on the scene, you can’;t help but think that shit is about to go down. Unfortuantely, it doesn’t really. Markaarn (a Dragon priest that existed when Dragons ruled Skyrim, but was the first to rebel), barely shows himself as he’s in another dimension, one with the deadra demon of forbidden knowledge. He can’t do much in the real world, so controls people on his behalf to do his bidding. It’s a weird story, one which really doesn’t last long, but one I was glad I played thorugh if not purely for the alternate dimensions alone. Travelling through a world that is within a book, and is made of pages of said book is fantastically gratifying, with every nook and cranny of the dimension looking so much more different then anything seen before in Skyrim. Add to that the fact you’re serving a deadra lord and are learning new dragons spells all the time (getting the strength of a dragon is definitely awesome), and you have for a pretty mediocre expansion with some amazing parts.
There aren’t many locations on the island of Solstheim, with all locations being spread pretty thin and far apart. This is a shame, as I genuinely love searching for new lcoations, but understandable considering this is only an expansion. The side quests were pretty cool, with one re-opening the mines up for the island, and another getting me to investigate a murder plot, but overall, 8 hours later, I feel I’ve seen all I can from the island, which is a shame when I easily spent the best part of 20 hours on The Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion.
So was it all worth the wait? Meh, not really. Whilst I’m glad I played the expansion, it didn’t really add anything to the story of Skyrim for me. I’m definitely thankful I only spent £4 on the content rather than the £13 Bethesda is trying to charge for the DLC alone, but really, I could have gone without. Is it worth your time? If you’ve never played Skyrim before and feel you could do with getting it all together in the legendary edition like I did then knock yourself out, it’s got a lot of content. But should you already own Skyrim, don’t bother, it really doesn’t add much.