Review: Dawnguard | The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

As the site’s resident The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim obsessive, it fell to me to play and review Dawnguard, the latest DLC. (It totally counts for our blog because in the storyline you are aiding or preventing a force that could ‘blot out the sun’, arguably an apocalyptic event. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch, but you don’t get to judge me.)
For this review, I played thtough on the side of good. I usually do in computer games. In this case, I may use my secondary character to play through as evil later in the game. If I do, I will update this review with those experiences.
OK, so first things first, downloading it was quick. This is an important thing. The first thing I did was go make me some DragonBone weapons – I’ve been waiting for them and at 100 blacksmith I might as well. As I was wandering around Whiterun getting firewood for the arrows, a guard told me to join the Dawnguard near Riften, and that he was considering joining up himself. Not very subtle, Bethesda, but more so than the introduction of Knights of the Nine andThe Shivering Isles for Oblivion, so you are forgiven.  Me being me, despite spending 1600 MS points on this, I thought ‘no’ and carried on making DragonBone arrows. Because I’m contrary.
Dawnguard - image property of BethsoftAnyway, so I went ahead and started the plot. The first plot related area I saw was Dayspring canyon, and I was impressed – Skyrim offers beautiful surroundings and this was no different. While not drastically different to any other Skyrim areas so far, it was noticeably lovely to look at. The Vampires castle was equally impressive, and I love the difference between the Dawnguard fortifications and the Vampire fortifications – in completely different parts of the country, completely different buildings styles, colour, architecture – wonderful. It’s things like that that make this such a superior game. The new enemies are exciting too and the crossbow is fun to use.
I did notice, however, that downloading Dawnguard meant slower loading and saving times. It happens. My console has also frozen more frequently. This occured with the add-ons for Oblivion as well, so I’m thinking it’s probably an issue with the console.
Bad bits: Bits that should be fixed:
I think it’s a bit too easy to FIND the Dawnguard. Hear a guard talk, track them down. Perhaps there should be a slightly longer lead-in – perhaps you could be told to investigate, go to various settlements attacked by vampires etc. That’d be nice.
Bethesda games have always had oddish character reactions, but it seems especially strange that vampires can attack and kill members of a community, leave the dead bodies just lying there, and no-one really reacts – even the characters familes. I appreciate it would be hard to get the voice actors in to record new lines for every single eventuality, but an acknowledgement like ‘I’m so sad my sister is dead’ would be good.
Awesome bits (No plot spoilers!)
YOU CAN HAVE AN ARMOURED FROST TROLL HANGING ROUND WITH YOU.
Shooting dragons with arrows made out of bits of their dead mates.
Vampiric architecture.
GARGOYLES.
IT’S SKYRIM WITH VAMPIRES WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT.
However, overall Dawnguard is a great add-on for the game, and sure to be of interest to Skyrim fans.
As for what it taught me about the apocalypse? That it’s fairly easy to either prevent it or bring it about if you’re a destined hero with the soul of an immortal dragon. I’ll get on that right away.
[rating:10/10]
(If you want more info on Dawnguard you should check the Bethesda Blog or the Elder Scrolls Wiki)
 
OK EDIT: After a speed-run of the whole game (which took 12 hours) my opinion has NOT changed. GET IT GET IT GET IT.

Comic Review: 30 Days of Night #1

30 Days of Night #1 (of 3)

Part 1 of 3. The story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction

At first I didn’t like the look of 30 days of Night. It was dark and smudgey like it had been drawn in a hurry and someone was trying to hide something. Then, like a Monet, I found the ambiguity beautiful. It was a part of the story, the setting, and the feeling imparted by not knowing exactly what that thing might be. Continue reading “Comic Review: 30 Days of Night #1”

Happy Hemophilia Awareness Month!

Hemophilia Awareness Month is a real thing and it starts today, March 1st.
In general, we should make sure we’re aware of all kinds of diseases and disorders –especially those that are partially responsible for spawning supernatural rumors.

Hemophilia is a disorder of your blood-clotting system. Clotting is the process by which your blood changes from a liquid to a solid state.
There are several types of hemophilia. All types can cause prolonged bleeding. If you have hemophilia and you have a cut, you’ll bleed for a longer time than you would if your blood clotted normally. Small cuts usually aren’t much of a problem. The greater health concern, particularly with hemophilia A and B, is deep internal bleeding and bleeding into joints.
Hemophilia is a lifelong disease, but with proper treatment and self-care, most people with hemophilia can maintain an active, productive lifestyle.
SOURCE Continue reading “Happy Hemophilia Awareness Month!”

Being selected by natural selection

Despite what some people think of him and his theories, Darwin was definitely onto something when he came up with natural selection. He was right, too—only those who’ve adapted enough to survive in a particular environment will, well, survive.
If you think about it, post-apocalyptic Earth will be natural selection come to life. People who can’t adapt to their new environment will die. Or they’ll be eaten by zombies, turned into vampires, or assimilated by aliens and/or evil robots. Either way, they won’t be around to share their lack of survival skills.
If you’ve managed to live long enough to get to the post apocalypse (meaning you didn’t die during the apocalypse itself), then you’ve got a leg up already. Congratulations, you’re one of the survivors. But don’t think this means things are going to get easier. Oh no, the hard part’s just begun.
Because now, you have to stay alive.
Good luck with that.
Continue reading “Being selected by natural selection”

Being selected by natural selection

Despite what some people think of him and his theories, Darwin was definitely onto something when he came up with natural selection. He was right, too—only those who’ve adapted enough to survive in a particular environment will, well, survive.
If you think about it, post-apocalyptic Earth will be natural selection come to life. People who can’t adapt to their new environment will die. Or they’ll be eaten by zombies, turned into vampires, or assimilated by aliens and/or evil robots. Either way, they won’t be around to share their lack of survival skills.
If you’ve managed to live long enough to get to the post apocalypse (meaning you didn’t die during the apocalypse itself), then you’ve got a leg up already. Congratulations, you’re one of the survivors. But don’t think this means things are going to get easier. Oh no, the hard part’s just begun.
Because now, you have to stay alive.
Good luck with that.
Continue reading “Being selected by natural selection”

How to make friends and influence zombies

There’s no doubt that friendships and networks will be important in the post-apocalyptic world. After all, people will need to band together for protection and survival. While making friends with other survivors may not be a requirement, it’s probably a good idea. Since there’s safety in numbers, you never know when you’ll need someone to watch your back. And, you know, finding a survivor group to join will probably be easier if people in that group actually like you.
Continue reading “How to make friends and influence zombies”

Equal Rights After The Apocalypse: The Zombie Rights Campaign

Often we assume that after the apocalypse, we will be the good guys and everyone else will be the bad guys. But what about if we’re the good guys and the other guys are just misunderstood?
We’ve allowed the genies to become children’s playmates of choice [1. Aladdin] , encouraged the hero worship of killer robots [2. Terminators] and sat idly by at the romanticization of vampires [3. Too many to name] . All these creatures, once the stuff of nightmares, are now fodder for the diaries of adolescents.
What about the Zombies though? They remain the same shambling greedy shells of their former selves we’ve always viewed them as. We balk at the suggestion they may still have feelings and emotions. But what about rights? As former human beings are they still entitled to some if not all of the rights they once were. Should we consider them not villains but among the disabled?
Continue reading “Equal Rights After The Apocalypse: The Zombie Rights Campaign”

Safety Soap!

Hygiene is of the utmost importance. I hear it’s kitty corner to some type of spirituality. Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s not enough to simply wash away the grime of a hard day’s work. Sometimes you also need to cleanse yourself of the stink of humanity so when you cower in your hidey-hole from the supernatural beasts seeking your flesh to fill their bellies you may go unnoticed.
Continue reading “Safety Soap!”

Love in the time of the apocalypse

Thinking about falling in love during and after the apocalypse may seem a little trivial, silly, or just plain wrong. But think about it: during times of extreme hardship and strife, human beings will generally either band together or try to kill each other. Since I have no doubt that anyone left alive after the end of world will try to kill anyone else left alive, I’d like to think that some people will team up and cooperate with others. (By “team up” I mean “actively not trying to kill.”)
At some point in time, people will pair up, fall in love, and perhaps even have a kid or two, all in the name of the survival of the human race. (This is, of course, assuming that people still have the ability to have kids. If not, we’re all doomed anyway.)
Continue reading “Love in the time of the apocalypse”