There's a new follower, the Skaal warrior Frea. She's as hilariously short on presence of mind as Lydia and her ilk, but she's reliably blade-proof, casting Alteration magic on herself at the first sign of trouble, then wading into the opposition with sword and axe. The sinister Dunmer mage Neloth is also surprisingly good company, keeping you engaged and on the right track as you tour a flooded Dwemer puzzle labyrinth. The latter is rote stuff but entertaining enough, a collection of square holes awaiting the attentions of creatively hidden square pegs.
Dragonborn's raw ingredients don't set it apart from any previous Elder Scrolls expansion. Again, wandering around Solstheim's top half is much like trudging up and down the seafront near Winterhold, and none of the new abilities have a dramatic effect on how you play. Still, there are comparatively few of the bad design calls which hobbled Dawnguard, and thanks to choice of setting, the pack feels both more adventurous and more complete - a differently styled distillation of the things Skyrim does best which should last you well into Christmas.
This is our final verdict on Skyrim's latest DLC - read more about Ed's time with the expansion in our Dragonborn Diaries. Beware anecdotes about exploding spiders.
A thrilling trip into Bethesda's past
- Enormous new environment
- Nice assortment of quests
- Fun powers and gear
- That Morrowind weirdness
- Costly and not quite essential