The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn|
|Developer(s)||Bethesda Game Studios|
|Series||The Elder Scrolls|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn is the third add-on for the action role-playing open world video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and released by Bethesda Softworks on the Xbox Live Marketplace on December 4, 2012. The Microsoft Windows version was released on February 5, 2013, and the PlayStation 3 version was released on February 12, 2013.
Dragonborn involves the player character coming into contact with the first Dragonborn, Miraak. The game takes place on the island of Solstheim, previously featured in the Bloodmoon expansion for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
Dragonborn follows the same gameplay style as Skyrim, with the player free to explore the island of Solstheim at will, pursuing quests at their leisure. New armors, weapons, locations, and enemies have been introduced. A new feature in Dragonborn is the ability to tame and ride dragons. The player can use a dragon to target and attack enemies, but does not have complete control of the flight. New dragon shouts have also been introduced.
The expansion is set on the island of Solstheim, located off the north coast of Morrowind. Solstheim was a territory belonging to Skyrim until the High King gave the island to Morrowind to serve as a refuge for the Dunmer fleeing Morrowind after the eruption of the Red Mountain. Geographically, half of Solstheim is similar to northern Skyrim, covered in icy glaciers and snow. The other half is barren, and covered in ash following the Red Mountain disaster. The island's settlements and buildings also reflect the differing cultures, with the Nordic half of the land featuring architecture similar to Skyrim's. The rest of the island follows a Dunmeri architectural style, even containing a giant mushroom transformed into a house. The island's main settlement, Raven Rock, is governed by House Redoran, one of five Great Houses who rule over Morrowind.
Dragonborn's main quest line is initiated following an attack on the player, the Last Dragonborn, by cultists worshipping someone named Miraak, who is also referred to as First Dragonborn. The player defeats the cultists and, upon investigating them, discovers a set of orders revealing their origins: the island of Solstheim. The player then journeys to Solstheim to confront Miraak and his followers.
After arriving on the island, the player begins interrogating the citizens of Solstheim about Miraak. It immediately becomes apparent that a majority of Solstheim's population has been unconsciously enslaved by Miraak and forced to work on several runic monoliths called "All-Maker Stones", scattered across the island. Among the unaffected observers is a wizard, Neloth, who directs the player to the Temple of Miraak. The player reaches the Temple and encounters a Nord named Frea, who is immune to Miraak's control, attempting in vain to break his spell over her people, the Skaal. She accompanies the player into the Temple. Inside, the player discovers a "Black Book", and after reading it, is unwittingly transported into a realm of Oblivion called Apocrypha, where they witness Miraak planning his invasion of Tamriel. Miraak dismisses the player as inferior and returns them to Solstheim.
Upon their return, the player visits Skaal Village and, advised by the Skaal shaman Storn, performs a special dragon shout on an All-Maker Stone, purifying the monolith and freeing the Skaal and the other denizens of the island from Miraak's control. Storn then sends the player to Neloth, who reveals that the Black Books are relics belonging to the Daedric prince Hermaeus Mora, also known as the "keeper of forbidden knowledge", and the source of Miraak's power.
Neloth accompanies the player to the Dwemer ruin of Nchardak to retrieve another Black Book sealed inside a complex container. They release the mechanism and learn of a shout called "Bend Will", which is believed to be instrumental in defeating Miraak. Through the Black Books, the player journeys into Apocrypha and personally encounters Hermaeus Mora. Mora explains that if the player wishes to defeat Miraak, he must gain the same knowledge that Miraak possesses. He agrees to impart such knowledge in exchange for the secrets of the Skaal, one of the few remaining pieces of knowledge kept from the Daedric prince. The player returns to Skaal Village and persuades Storn to surrender the tribe's secrets. Despite Frea's protests, Storn communicates directly with Mora, who then proceeds to sap him of his knowledge, killing him in the process. The player then learns the final word of "Bend Will", enabling them to defeat Miraak.
The player returns to Apocrypha and uses "Bend Will" to subdue Miraak's dragon, Sarohtaar, allowing them to mount him in flight. Sarohtaar flies the player to Miraak's tower, the Summit of Apocrypha. There, the player and Miraak battle until Hermaeus Mora intervenes, fatally impaling Miraak while expressing anger at his rebellion. Mora transfers Miraak's soul and power to the player, who is then transported back to Solstheim.
The soundtrack associated with Dragonborn includes music previously used in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, as well as several new tracks composed by Jeremy Soule, who composed the soundtrack for several other games in The Elder Scrolls series. The soundtrack has not been officially released in any form, however.
Dragonborn was originally announced via a trailer on November 5, 2012. Dragonborn was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace on December 4, 2012. The Microsoft Windows version was released on February 5, 2013. The PlayStation 3 version was released on February 12, 2013 in North America, and February 13, 2013 in Europe.
Dragonborn has received mainly positive critical reception. GamesRadar applauded the number of side quests, and the new weapons and dragon shouts, but dismissed the dragon riding feature as "gimmicky". Eurogamer gave the content 9 out of 10, praising the quests, new enemies and new location. Joystiq applauded the amount of content in Dragonborn, including the new settings and enemies, but felt that the narrative was too familiar.
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