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Dawnguard incoming for PC and PS3: but is it worth it?

Thursday, 2nd August 2012 23:22 GMT By Dave Cook

Skyrim: Dawnguard has arrived on PC and is on the way to PlayStation 3, Besthesda confirmed at Quakecon today. Is the vampiric expansion actually worth it? Dave Cook provides the answer.

Typically, console DLC is comprised of single maps, re-skins, costumes and other bite-size, quick-fix downloads. Is what you’re buying actually worth the money you’re spending? In Dawnguard’s case there’s no question. It is good value.

Many have already completed Dawnguard on Xbox 360, and now PC gamers, soon to be followed by their PlayStation 3 brethren, we’re assured, are going to get the chance. They’ve flirted with the night and sucked the blood of innocents as the Vampire Lord, or they’ve sworn an oath to banish the vampiric plague from the moors of Skyrim. It was good, but was it actually worth it?

The true worth of additional, digital content is a tricky question the industry continually asks itself. Bethesda’s fallen foul of delivering the wrong answer before with its Oblivion horse armour gaffe, in which a cosmetic piece of equine battle-wear was plonked onto Xbox Live for the princely sum of 200 MS Points back in 2006.

The internet erupted with cries of robbery and foul play at what was really only a couple of quid, but it was nothing to the state of affairs we’re facing today: alternate costumes, avatar gear and other, largely useless pieces of digital merch abound.

Yet, we keep on buying it, so developers keep selling it. Our purchases send signals to the games industry hive mind that we still want to buy it.

Take my money

Skyrim: Dawnguard, thankfully, is the right sort of DLC. It’s a proper expansion that delivers a solid 10-20 hours of content, depending on whether or not you sample both mission paths. Value like that rarely appears on consoles these days, and that’s a sad thing to see.

Typically, console DLC is comprised of single maps, re-skins, costumes and other bite-size, quick-fix downloads. Is what you’re buying actually worth the money you’re spending?

In Dawnguard’s case there’s no question. It is good value.

Plus, you know vampires sell these days

Dawnguard isn’t without flaws, however. The Vampire Lord form, while dispensing a great power trip, is cumbersome. You have to constantly changed back to grab loot, which is a problem when there are so many spoils to worry about. Some of the areas haven’t been built for your vampire form either, meaning there are corridors you won’t be able to squeeze through unless you morph.

Many weeks after playing Dawnguard, and the memories of time spent in Tamriel’s dark underworld aren’t as fond as they were initially. It’s largely because the content feels overly familiar, with only a few new environments to tackle. Plus the crossbow is guff.

But these are minor niggles that can be overlooked. It’s a generous package. Why nitpick when so many studios commit worse crimes?

There are few expansions that can match Dawnguard in terms of sheer volume. The GTA IV episodes, Borderlands expansions, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and the Fallout DLC are part of a dying breed, and that’s a real shame.

Hopefully, going into the next generation of console hardware, developers will start to figure out the true worth of additional content, and start delivering smart packages that reward your investment, rather than taking you for a ride.

Dawnguard is proof that studios can still deliver great value console content at a price that makes sense, and hopefully it won’t be the last. Be sure to hand over your money for whichever of the PS3 and PC versions are applicable to you. It’s definitely worth it.

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22 Comments

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  1. DSB

    But what’s the worth of adding 10-20 hours to a game that people can easily sink 100 into already? And which maybe a third will have finished?

    Wouldn’t it be better to provide people with a slightly less buggy core game?

    Personally I wouldn’t mind paying so I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by all the broken scripting that will apparently be left in Skyrim until the community steps in yet again, to clean up Bethesdas mess.

    It may be a smart business move once a game moves x amount of copies, but that’s the priority of the publisher, not the player.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. SlayerGT

    I have a few hilariously great stories about skyrim. Unfortunately they are all the result of glitches :/

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Kabby

    £13.99? No thanks. It’s not a huge amount of cash but I refuse to be fleeced. Will wait for sale and inevitable bug fixes.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 consider though that some £50 games last about 5 hours long, Skyrim’s definitely good value for money :) what’s making you apprehensive about it? I’m keen to hear what people think.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @1 but that’s the point I guess, people can buy it if they want, it’s not integral to the experience. I think anyone who takes the plunge will enjoy it. Bugs are a subject for another blog I think, could write a whole one on Skyrim’s issues alone, although on Xbox 360 I rarely bugged out, but my lady lost her 30 hour save :( guess I was just lucky.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Kabby

    Nothing they have added interests me. In addition I recently bought Witcher one and two combined for less than the price of this DLC.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. absolutezero

    Awesomenauts is £6.99

    The new Dungeons of Dredmor DLC thing is £1.99

    Looking at both Edge and gamestm it seems that Dawnguard adds a useless transformation if you go one route and a boring faction quest the other. Plus a couple of castles and a crossbow.

    For 14 pounds.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @6 that’s a good deal. Was that on GOG a month or two ago? I think my point was that for ‘console’ DLC (because I agree with you that PC value can’t be matched) , you rarely get proper expansion pack anymore. Hell, you have to pay more than most Steam games just for a handful of CoD maps these days.

    PC digital marketplaces have the right idea, while console versions are still overpriced for less content. Times will need to change ice the onus switches to digital instead of retail. They can’t keep getting away with what they’re doing.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @7 see above ^ :)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. absolutezero

    How much were the Fallout little expansions when they came out?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DSB

    @5 Fair point. I just wish there was some kind of way to hold them accountable. It seems to me that the press were a bit too busy being awed by the scale to actually critisize the game when it came out.

    Someone like Bethesda should really know that there’s usually a lot to clean up whenever they release something by now, and the fact that they’re off producing DLC instead of supporting the game, is just kinda cynical.

    It is a good game, but it’s also one that keeps ripping you out of the gameworld, and into the real one, every time you realize that someone, somewhere fucked up the code you’re playing.

    @10 Ten bucks a pop for the F3 ones.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. absolutezero

    So thats around £6.99 or there abouts. So do the Fallout Expansions have half the content? Im very much doubtful of that, especially since some of the FO packs added completely new areas to explore alongside a tonne of other stuff.

    Nah this seems exactly like “Do the same amount of work but release it at double the price because we can.”

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DSB

    I’d settle for an apology and watching Todd Howard eat a can of this…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surstr%C3%B6mming

    I’m not an unreasonable man.

    Simply saying “Fuck you, we’re going straight to DLC” just doesn’t cut it.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Joe_Gamer

    I’m not buying anything that started out as a console exclusive, far as I’m concerned M$ already paid enough for the both of us.

    Are people really having trouble with bugs? I’m over 300 hours in and I’ve never found a single bug that I couldn’t fix with with a console command or two.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Aimless

    Having played Dawnguard on 360 I definitely found it to be worth the asking price. I especially liked the new areas as they had a different feel to the core content: one has some interesting mechanics I won’t spoil, whilst another features a lot of verticality which the original content has very little of.

    Oh, and the crossbow isn’t “guff”! You can take on a few sidequests to improve upon the design — including special ammo, like explosive bolts — and with a bit of smithing its raw power easily outstripped my other bows. The fact you reload it rather than draw gives it a unique dynamic, too.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Giskard

    @13 Being a Swede, I can tell you, you can’t wish that on ANYONE. I’ve been to houses where they opened a can of those a few months before I got there. Still smells.

    Oh, and Dawnguard? Worth it.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. TheWulf

    I’ll be grabbing this despite the annoying price-gouging. Not expecting too much from it, either, it’s just that it’ll add extra mod potential.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Telepathic.Geometry

    I haven’t played Dawnguard, and I don’t intend to either, because as far as I can see, it ISN’T good value for money. My thinking goes like this…

    Skyrim cost me 50 bucks. It was my first Elder scrolls game on console, and was full of interesting and NEW things to do. It took me about 100 hours or so, and there are still shouts to find, the last few masks to seek out, unfinished quests and that ‘secret’ daedric Quest left over.

    So, if this expansion is about 15 to 20 bucks (sorry, I buy from America so I’m thinking in dollars) that means that it comes in at about a third of the price of Skyrim. But it’s the same game-world, mostly the same assets, the same engine and more or less the same old thing.

    Something like that needs to be much cheaper in my view. It’s digital, so it’s mostly profit right. And they didn’t have to build a game from scratch with a huge team for three years did they. I just think something like that should be 10 dollars MAX.

    Otherwise, why wouldn’t I just play a different game and get an entirely fresh experience. If i really want more Skyrim, I can just play more Skyrim. It’s not like there isn’t 10 to 20 hours of interesting content left…

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Giskard

    @18 Having finished the game (I really mean finished) the week after release, and finding the mods lacking, this does add a bunch of extra content to the game. But to each his own ;)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Telepathic.Geometry

    Well, I platinumed it, and got to level 56 or thereabouts. I think it’s fair to say that I have really finished it too. :P

    I also think that for those gamers who have played over 100 hours, the value proposition becomes even worse in my view. For example…

    50 bucks for Skyrim, 100 hours of gaming. –> 50 cents/hour.

    20 bucks for 10 to 20 hours of gaming. –> 1-2 dollars/hour.

    It’s up to four times the cost, and it’s not fresh.

    Granted, that’s probably a bit harsh,
    but for me it’s a fair way of looking at it.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Old MacDonald

    DLC at expansion pack price. No thanks.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. freedoms_stain

    After Fallout 3 I pretty much relegated Bethesda to GOTY purchases.

    £13.99 dlc somewhat vindicates that decision for me.

    #22 2 years ago