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Mixed or average reviews- based on 252 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 252

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  1. Jun 27, 2012
    If you were expecting a DLC the size of Shivering Isles, you're going to be very disappointed. This filler quest is more akin to an overpriced Knights of the Nine, with interesting game mechanics (vampire lord, crossbow) which are unfortunately poorly executed and impractical at best. Not even mentioning the plethora of bugs already reported on Beth forums.
  2. Jun 30, 2012
    Why are vampires still hostile to me, when I'm part of a faction working to further the interests of my kind? Why does said faction share so many quests with its rival faction, the Dawnguard? Why is there never any kind of showdown with said faction? Why is this "expansion" sending me to dungeons I already cleared in the original game? Answer: Bethesda screwed up, and released a half-hearted, overpriced, wretched piece of DLC. I would be even more harsh if it wasn't for the fact that we've not had a decent vampire game of any sort since Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Expand
  3. Jun 28, 2012
    If you were expecting an Shivering Isles type expansion you're going to be disappointed, if you were hoping for a near bug free environment you should read the line that says it's made by Bethesda and if you were hoping to get your moneys worth you're really going to be disappointed. Don't get me wrong it would be fine as a 5-10$ DLC, but unless you some vampire Twilight Fanatic it can be passed over for 1600 Microsoft points. Expand
  4. Jun 27, 2012
    It's very difficult to review an expansion like Dawnguard. You have to remember that it is an add-on - it's not trying to compete head to head with the main game, nor is it trying to "double" the experience of the main game. With that in mind, Dawnguard is a decent expansion pack, but it isn't world class and for Elder Scrolls die hard fans it has the possibility to disappoint when set next to Oblivion's Shivering Isles.

    The expansion introduces a myriad of new features, such as a "Vampire Lord" transformation (a major part of the storyline in Dawnguard), Dragonbone weaponry, crossbows (and bolt crafting), a new quest storyline. On the surface, this is quite impressive, but next to the existing actual Skyrim game it feels like the expansion is only adding an extra 5% on top of the game. In a way, Dawnguard suffers from how good Skyrim was to begin with!

    The new Vampire transformation is quite clunky to play with, similar to the Werewolf combat mechanic but it feels quite rushed and can be a frustrating experience. The animation is really... well, "stiff" is the only way to describe it, like a demonic character design from Mortal Kombat 20 years ago! The crossbow is also very cumbersome, the knockback effect is utterly annoying, as is the reload speed, and I can't envisage many players using it ahead of a standard bow.

    But that's about it really - there's nothing overwhelmingly negative about Dawnguard. Is it worth the money? Yes, because it adds on to the overall Skyrim experience. It's worth it because the initial game itself is worth the price of admission on its own. So Dawnguard isn't the crowning glory of Bethesda DLCs, but it ain't bad. Hopefully, a much larger and more expansive Skyrim expansion pack is in the works, one along the lines of Shivering Isles rather than a focus on a new storyline and gimmicky feature additions. I'm scoring it 8/10, which for an Elder Scrolls game is a low score!!!
  5. Jul 5, 2012
    Bugged and Boring is how I would describe this expansion. I had to restart once because of a bug and when another bug stopped the progression of the game I put the game back on the shelf. Such a shame this fantastic game had such a sub par expansion. I am really starting to take issue with video games no refund policy.
  6. Jul 1, 2012
    In terms of bang for your buck among recent DLC, Dawnguard is not a bad investment. That being said the only addition I have found useful is the dragon armor as it dwarfs the new crossbow. The quests are good, yet be prepared to visit the same location multiple times with only a few new additions. Overall, if you loved Skyrim and put it down then Dawnguard is a decent reason to pick it up again. If you are a casual Elder Scrolls fan you may want to steer clear. Expand
  7. rhe
    Jul 4, 2012
    Admittedly, while the new classes, new story-line and new dungeons to explore really try hard to make this DLC sound like it is reasonably priced, it still really feels way too anemic to be priced at 1600 msp. I say this because when considering other DLC pieces from other games like Kingdoms of Amalur are half as much and actually add a whole new map to explore outside of the original area you get to explore while Skyrim is double the price and gives you NOWHERE new to explore outside of the main map. Due to this, Skyrim really feels WAY too heavily priced to be worth the content and if Bethesda want to charge this kind of money they should at least make the effort to add a new area (like the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion) so it doesn't feel like so much of a rip-off. Expand
  8. Aug 15, 2012
    First of all, this is ridiculously overpriced, and is only worth about half of its retail price. As far as new content goes, however, there is a fun (glitchy) questline, and some new (irritating) achievements, along with some extra misc quests. As cool as some of these are, I would only recommend Dawnguard to big Skyrim fans, or those who are big vampire fans.
  9. Jun 28, 2012
    Overall, Dawnguard is not a bad expansion by all means. But as Skyrim has so much to offer already, the additions don't feel too great. That being said, Vampire Lord is enjoyable to play, and the addition of a skilltree for Werewolf and Vampire Lord is nice to see. However, the Dawnguard faction feels weaker to the Vampire faction, despite an Armoured Troll summon and crossbows. It feels that Bethesda really wanted you to go Vampire Lord. That being said, Vampire Lords were obviously in hiding for a very long time because the dungeons/caves in Skyrim occasionally get too small for a Vampire Lord to pass through! Having to wait around 30 seconds (that's if you turn back into Vampire Lord) just to pass through a 'low' part of the cave is incredibly frustrating. But, apart from stuff like that, I enjoyed the Vampire Lord. The quests themselves feel quite bland, and are not pushed forward by story all that much. They're still enjoyable, but don't expect to LOVE the story. The Dawnguard themselves are also slightly disappointing, as it's just another ancient group coming back to power with the help of the player. The legendary dragons, more fearsome and stronger dragons found in particular areas, were quite enjoyable. It's by now means a 'bad' expansion - it's actually very good. But tiny little, typical RPG bugs get in the way of the overall experience. A patch (like a bigger ceiling!) would be a welcome fix. Expand
  10. Jul 4, 2012
    I had to un-install Dawnguard after a day due the bugs but much much more, the highly annoying random vampire attack system as they were decimating the population every 5 minutes with no let up what so ever! What started as a dynamic
  11. Jun 29, 2012
    This is my second review of the dlc, as I believe i was simply starstruck by the fact's skyrim dlc.
    Here's the honest to god review.
    It is quite large, mostly because 2 new "realms" are introduced. Both of these new places are quite vacant. So looking back on it, it doesn't add as much as that aspect seems. It also includes the single longest quest in the game. It was
    also the hardest. VAMPIRE/DAWNGUARD- the dawnguard lore is in my opinion cooler but the ability's are far better in the vampire lord side. The crossbow i found myself barely using. They should have made a crossbow for each weapon tier. It also would've been nice to have some miscellaneous stuff put in there. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT VAMPIRES. Which is like "duh" but 10-20 hours of VAMPIRES is a lot. Simply buy it if you like skyrim, especially if you aren't satisfied with current vampires. Expand
  12. Jul 8, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Elder Scrolls first DLC - Dawnguard is a little bit of a let down. At 1600 Ms points you'd expect better, but as Skyrim was it does come with a good story but is let down by shoddy errors of programming. Not only that but Dawnguard has major flaws; such as when switching over to Vampire Lord, this could have easily have been added better, but instead it is listed in the Powers section of Magic and leaves you having to change back all the time to loot corpses.
    Now don't get me wrong, I advocate Skyrim with its many puzzles, storyline and game play but The DLC is such a let down and my verdict on Dawnguard is it's a lowly 6 out of 10 for ruining Skyrim.
  13. Jun 26, 2012
    First off, Fort Dawnguard looks breathtaking! You get a werewolf/vampire skill tree, crossbows and 10-20 hours of content. With many new games today releasing with only around 10-15 hours of total content, we get this awesome expansion for arguably the best game of all time and it only cost $20. While dawnguard is not as extensive as, say, Shivering Isles, it's a great deal and it's the first DLC I've ever stayed up all night for. Expand
  14. Jun 27, 2012
    This DLC is a must buy for anyone looking to enhance their Skyrim experience even more. This DLC introduces so many new features, and improves existing ones. The fact that they take vampires to a whole new level is great in itself.
  15. Jun 29, 2012
    Why must this be compared to Shivering Isles? It wasn't created to serve the same purpose nor is it meant as the translation of it into Skyrim. No, what people are somehow failing to realize is that this DLC is meant to keep you engaged in the game with new abilities, weapons, spells and shouts. If you are unaware of what to expect from a standard Elder Scrolls DLC, you won't be dissapointed. If you purchase this game expecting something like Shivering Isles, however, you may find yourself a bit dissapointed. If you wanted to give it a score of how well it resembles Shivering Isles, it only deserves a 4 at best. However, you may find yourself quite intrigued if you manage to find it within yourself to go in with an open mind. 8/10 Expand
  16. Jul 1, 2012
    This is great new DLC content for skyrim. For some reason, RPG's in the past have been very conservative when it came to producing dragons in adventures. Perhaps the game engines couldn't handle them. Then, along comes Skyrim with a zillion dragons but falls short because these dragons are very bland and weak. I mean, come on, dragons should be bright colors and wicked spells, evil minds (none of this philosophical bs), and actually be very tough to kill. How can a cave bear be more dangerous to fight than a dragon!!?? Anayways, Skryim is still pretty awesome and this new DLC does a much better job of vampires than dragons. The creators seem to understand the vampire mythos better. The quests are pretty interesting with creepy settings which is a must for an RPG. There is still the goofy thing going on though as with all these elder scrolls games. They are all kinda goofy as compared to Dragon Age Origins or Dark Souls. The main drawback to this DLC is that you seem to spend a lot of time walking compared to the main game. Also, vampires should have new spells to attack you with which are illusion based. maybe this comes later in the game. anyways, peace. Expand
  17. Jul 4, 2012
    So I just finished the vampire storyline of dawnguard. Over all I found the plot fairly interesting but would have liked to see more involvment in "families" disfuntionality. The main subquest is fairly involved, but does require going to some location revisiting of dwemer ruins. I enjoy the benifit of both mounted combat as well as being able to summon an immortal horse (undead). My main gripes are that ever since I downloaded it some of my armour will become invisable yet functional. Also although the areas that are new are cool, I really would have liked to see a new map. Also I don't think that the size of the dlc justifies $20. Can we say horse armor anyone. I would recomend this as it is fun, but at a lowered cost. Oh and for those who complane about vamps. killing npcs... First do you complane when a dragon does this, second isn't this supposed to reflect events in a world, like a movie people die, no ones immortal. Expand
  18. Jul 13, 2012
    A good reason to play Skyrim again, quite entertaining but not enough to get me to play any more after the quest line was complete. A good add-on for any vampires or vampire slayers.
  19. Jul 12, 2012
    More Skyrim can only be a good thing.New missions,weapons,armour,story,shouts etc are a blessing after hundreds of hours exploring the original to death.Several missions take the player on a fantastic journey involving excellent new lore,locations and characters for fans,though Soul Cairn is pretty poor.Though usually patient with Bethesda,the glitches infuriated me for once and I just don't understand why they keep releasing broken products.DLC thats requires patches is a blight on the company and the gaming industry and I'm now finding it hard to forgive.Still,I loved the parts that work but won't be as forgiving in the future. Expand
  20. Jun 29, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Dawnguard is a welcome addition to the near endless content which Skyrim has to offer. It expands on the lack of vampire related lore and game play in vanilla Skyrim and does a good job presenting a unique and in my opinion a more interesting story than Skyrim Expand
  21. Dec 8, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I am aware that a number of people were disappointed with the Dawnguard dlc and it is due to that, that I feel its worth stressing the fact that this piece of dlc was an add-on. The fact that Dawnguard is on add-on impressed me more when playing, as Bethesda have managed to introduce new and interesting areas without having to leave the Skyrim area. I will not deny the fact that at times you are sent to areas which you may or may not have previously visited. However, these missions are generally side-quests and do not pertain to the main quest line. Also, the new npcs introduce new companions and the new ability trees allow you to experience being either a vampire or werewolf in a new and more in depth way. Once again Bethesda have shown that they know how to make brilliant dlc, which actually fits within the world of Skyrim. Therefore, I found this content very interesting, detailed and fun to play and I especially loved the attention to detail used by Bethesda when creating the new npcs. Expand
  22. Aug 7, 2012
    The main quest won't progress past the first quest, I can't even feed properly as a vampire. There seem to be no working fixes anywhere. i can barely walk through most doors as a towering floaty vampire. This is too broken to have even been released.
  23. Jun 29, 2012
    Its more Skyrim, which is a good thing. Dual story lines mean you essentially get two games in one, which helps mitigate the 20$ price tag. Plus, Serana may be the hottest companion yet!
  24. Jun 28, 2012
    Dawnguard is exactly what you should have now come to expect from Bethesda, stunning locations, an enthralling questline with a few glitches on the side. But most of all, assuming you are an Elder Scrolls fan you will come away with more reasons to invest yet more time in one of the best games of the current generation. These include a new range of weapons(dragonbone), crossbows, vampire lord and werewolf perks and all the joy of using these powers, I can safely say that this was worth my money. Expand
  25. Jun 29, 2012
    Overall, I enjoyed Dawn Guard and thoroughly.. No, this is not in the ranks with The Shivering Isles. More like in the middle of that and The Knights of the Nine The story was lacking, with jumping plots and it strayed far away from the Gothic vampire theme. But the bonuses such as the vampire and werewolf perk trees to the new gear (Dawn guard & vampire armor. etc) made the D.L.C completely worth the low 20$ price tag. I think a respectable nine is what this D.L.C deserves. Expand
  26. Jun 29, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When I first heard about this DLC I thought it was great news. I purchased this as soon as I could off of the XBL marketplace and I don't regret a cent of it. It isn't as large as Shivering Isle, but I would say it is equally as enjoyable. I enjoyed every last bit of it, especially the saints soul.

    If you enjoyed Skyrim, this DLC is a must purchase.
  27. Aug 26, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Predictable, bug-ridden fare. BUT IT IS SKYRIM, MUST BE GOOD
  28. Aug 20, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Maybe my expectations were too high. When I heard that Skyrim (my personal goty) was getting its first downloadable content after almost a full year after release, i couldn't help but get excited. But, after playing through it, I only felt dissapointed. I'll start with the core of the dlc, the quests. The questline starts out promising, you overhear guards and citizens spreading rumors of vampire attacks and an ancient order of vampire hunters known as the dawnguard are gaining strength. You visit their fortress at the very southeast of skyrim, and are sent on a simple mission to clear out a dungeon infested with vampires. However, when you get there you discover a female vampire named serana, and a plot to end the tyranny of the sun. Soon after, you are given the choice to either join the dawnguard, or the order of vampires serana is/was a part of. This is the point where most of dawnguard's problems surface. The quests are either simple fetch quests/ clear out all of the enemies, or horribly drawn out quests (albeit with a good story) that have you repeating the same tedious task 4-5 times. For example, the soul cairn, a quest that was shown off at e3 as the pinnacle of the dlc, ended up being a 45 minute quest that was a chore to get through, let me breakdown the quest for those who think i'm being tough on it. You arrive in the soul cairn, walk for about 5-10 minutes to get to a castle, talk to someone, then you walk to a tower, again for about 5 minutes,and kill an enemy, rinse and repeat 3 times. after that you walk back to the castle, and face an undead dragon an his army of skeletons who have been cursed to the realm.(which admittedly is a truly great moment) Then, if you didn't become a vampire, you are supposed to retreive your soul, and either i'm a complete moron or bethesda messed up, it must of took me 30 minutes to find my way to the soul, because you need to get to the roof of the building it's on, which is basically a maze. After i had become completely frustrated, I looked it up online and it turned out I needed to jump into a well of magic water that teleported me to the roof, how was I supposed to know this? Another problem is the vampire assassin's that randomly spawn in cities. It isn't fair, if you aren't willing to run around the entire city and check every building, then important npc's/shopkeepers/questgivers will be assassinated without you even knowing. Why aren't the npc's smart enough to know the guy with the black cloak, inverted nose, and glowing orange eyes is maybe a little suspicious? But I don't completely hate dawnguard, the storylines and characters are some of the best in the game, and the extra content(new weapons, armor, locations, vampire form,etc..) are welcome additions. Unfortunately, mediocre quests, and some bugs, kept dawnguard from being a strong addition to the 2011 GOTY, and i can only recommend it to those who can't wait for another dlc or even another Elder Scrolls. Hopefully Bethesda steps it up before they release anything else Expand
  29. Jan 13, 2013
    a good addon to an already great game, despite what is said against it, its a good solid addon with new weapons and gear, good quest line the game is broken with older characters so beware you may need to start a newer character. but still a great addon
  30. Aug 18, 2012
    I will try to explain this as simple as I can. I love skyrim, but Dawnguard should have cost 1,200 tops. Playing as a vampire its clunky and unexciting at all, you are slow, powers are weak you can't play in 1st person, you can't sneak or hide... Plot can be predicted since early on the game. Yes its same old Skyrim, more quest, a few new spots, more annoying dragons. My advice; Get it once it when its on sale, DO NOT PAY FULL PRICE! Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. Feb 25, 2013
    Dawnguard is much more substantial add-on than Hearthfire, adding on a full storyline centered on a war between the vampires and the Dawnguard.
  2. Oct 14, 2012
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard. Bethesda shows how a dlc should be done. Dawnguard's 20-euro price tag is quite steep, but the amount of quality content more than makes up for it. Also, playing as a vampire lord is a welcome distraction. [Sept 2012]
  3. Aug 8, 2012
    Predictable, bug-ridden fare. [Sept 2012, p.72]