The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard Xbox Live
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Released on 26-June-2012
The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned with one goal – to use the Elder Scrolls and end the sun itself. Only the ancient order of the Dawnguard can stop him and his followers. Will you join the Dawnguard and stop his dark quest? Or will you shun humanity and become a Vampire Lord yourself? With an all-new faction questline and locations, the ultimate choice is yours!
Key Features of Dawnguard on Xbox LIVE
- New Weapons, Armour, Spells and Shouts - The Dawnguard has a fresh arsenal of weapons to wield. Choose the crossbow and craft your own arrows, bolts, and Dragonbone weapons, as well as other new weapons, armour and spells. The new shouts include the Soul Tear shout that can rip the very souls from your enemies and turn them into your minions.
- Become a Vampire Lord - Will you choose to become a Vampire Lord and take on their skills and powers? Hover across the ground, turn yourself into a bat, levitate your enemies as you drain their life, and more. The Vampire Lord also features its own upgradable perk system.
- Werewolf Perks - Playing as a werewolf now has its own upgradable perk system, too. Bestial Strength, Animal Vigor, and Savage Feeding are now yours for the taking.
- New Locations and Creatures – There are two new fortresses to upgrade and choose as your home - Castle Volkihar and Fort Dawnguard. Discover lost valleys and travel to a new realm of Oblivion, the Soul Cairn. New creatures to battle include Death Hounds, Gargoyles, Armored Trolls, and all new vampires and dragons.
- Change Your Appearance - Visit Riften’s Ratway to find a woman who can change your appearance, altering your face or hair.
- Mounted Combat – For the first time in Skyrim you can do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse.
He may have created one of the creepiest games ever by confining players in a gloomy mansion with flesh-eating zombies, but Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has fallen in love with the open world game design of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
"It's a fantastic game. Just amazing," the legendary Japanese designer told PSM3 magazine. "To have such a huge open world and so much freedom is wonderful, and the gameplay too is so varied; all those parameters and details that you can tweak and that affect the game. The characters are great too."
Mikami last worked on the franchise he created with Resident Evil 5, before moving on to develop cult favourites such as the 2010 shooter Vanquish. He's now heading up Tango Gameworks and working on Project Zwei, a mysterious new game for Skyrim publisher, Bethesda.
Described as a return to survival horror, it's doubtful that Zwei will be anything like Skyrim, but Mikami is keen to incorporate the same level of freedom into future projects. "We don't have hundreds of staff, so I'd keep it simple", he explained. "I'd introduce one major rule, but within that you'd be free to play it however you like. It would be a game that mixes the best of the old kind of games with this relatively new open-world concept."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
We've enjoyed pilfering for the Thieves' Guild and murdering on behalf of the Dark Brotherhood. But what we always wanted was the ability to become a bloodsucking nemesis of pure evil. Thank Lucifer (and Bethesda) then for the expansion pack Skyrim: Dawnguard for the Xbox and PC.
We're not tired of Skyrim and we suspect you aren't either; its world is intoxicating, exquisite, bewitching (and all those other superlatives that publishers like to slap on the back of game boxes). Exploring Skyrim is never a chore either; fighting a dragon remains as fresh as the first time you soiled your breeches at the sight of one; and where YouTube parody videos of "Fus Ro Dah!" or "I took an arrow in the knee" quips never grow old. Well, ish.
But there is a sticking point; while you can become a vampire in Skyrim, it can feel a little, well, fangless. But no more as Dawnguard lets you play as Vampire Lord Harkon who wants to destroy the sun itself (after successfully exterminating the News of the World). Hover, turn into a bat, levitate your victims,
attend MP Select Committees... all your traditional vampiric powers (and then some) are here.
Of course you can always turn your back on such an opportunity (you utter square) and go all Buffy instead, hunting down the aforementioned fanged fans of human blood as an elite member of the Dawnguard (they're a bit like the A-Team but with crossbows instead of assault rifles). If none of that appeals, then howl at the moon and become a fully-fledged werewolf, a class that has now been properly fleshed out and boasts its own upgradable perks system.
Whatever you decide to do, there are a host of new locations (including two spangly fortresses), fresh fiends to fight (on horseback now if you want) plus new spells to cast and Shouts to, erm, shout. The net result? An expansion pack that evolves the seemingly limitless possibilities of Skyrim's astonishing world. We may never want to leave. And, we suspect, nor will you...
If you wanted to paint a portrait of the stereotypical geek, you'd have to include a nod to role-playing games in there somewhere. Along with Star Trek, the stat-based fantasies of the RPG form the basis of society's clichéd view of 'sad geek stuff'. And yet to look at the games charts today, you'd swear that role-playing was the hottest ticket in town.
The Skyrim's The Limit
The massive success of Skyrim last year was perhaps the most obvious indicator that RPGs were cool again. Bethesda's vast time-sucking epic is about as nerdy as role-playing gets, filled with magical weapons, skill tree management and all the trolls and dragons you could shake an enchanted mace at, yet it still thundered to the top of the charts and stayed there. Millions bought it, and the acclaim was unanimous from the critical community as well. As 2011 came to a close, Skyrim was over-encumbered and could not run, so full was its backpack with Game of the Year trophies.
But Skyrim wasn't alone. Vying for hardcore affection at the same time was Dark Souls, the punishingly brilliant third-person RPG by Japanese developer From Software. As foreboding and claustrophobic as Skyrim was empowering and liberating, Dark Souls showed that the genre could take console players to terrifying new places, simply by slowing down the pace, ratcheting up the difficulty and making every swing of your sword count. Few will manage to excavate all of Dark Souls' depths, but for those who make it out the other side alive, the experience will be transforming.
Had the RPG bandwagon ground to a halt there, it could be written off as a freak occurrence, brought about by anticipation stoked by the five-year wait between Elder Scrolls sequels. But then along came Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, another massive open world fantasy game, stocked with elves and magic and dwarves, and that too raced up the charts.
With a story by acclaimed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, and design work from legendary comic artist Todd McFarlane, Kingdoms of Amalur wore its geek credentials on its extravagantly embroidered wizard's sleeve. It may not have achieved the same ubiquity as Skyrim, but the fact it was so successful, so soon after Bethesda's monster smash should have exhausted the available pool of role-playing enthusiasts suggested that the genre could be on the upswing.
So where will this renaissance take us next? Onwards and upwards seems to be the answer.
Dungeons and Dragons and Monsters and Pirates and Demons and...
April sees the Xbox 360 release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, a console remake of the critically acclaimed PC adult role player. Cast as a monster hunter in a complex world governed by prejudice and fear, it's a far cry from the whimsical fare people commonly associate with fantasy gaming.
Had Polish developer CD Projekt simply shunted the Witcher 2 code into an Xbox shape and hurried it to shelves, it wouldn't be a surprise. That it's instead opted to completely rebuild the game for console players, with additional content and a lavish collector's edition, proves that there's a mature market beyond the usual dice-rolling hobbyists for this kind of long-term in-depth gaming experience.
Then in May we'll get Risen 2: Dark Waters, another sequel but one that trades the generic swords and sorcery realms of its predecessor for a saltier tale of pirate folk. Developed by Piranha Bytes, the studio behind hit RPG series Gothic, it promises to be more than a cult hit.
We've just learned that May will also be the month that we'll finally get our hands on Diablo 3 from World of Warcraft developer Blizzard. A mere twelve years in the making, this top-down loot-dropping hack and slash RPG dungeon crawl is arguably the most eagerly anticipated PC game of the year.
So what has caused this surge in role-playing fever? Are gamers simply burned out on militaristic first-person shooters and hungry for change? Or is it just that with their lengthy playing times and flexible character progression, RPGs offer more value for money and greater opportunities to define your own gaming experience?
Whatever the reason, role-playing is firmly entrenched as the games industry's next big thing. These may be the games that have made it cool to roll the dice, but they certainly won't be the last.
There's no denying it, we've been spoiled rotten by the flood of quality games this year. There isn't enough time in the day to get through them all! Fortunately, the Christmas holidays are here to give us a little more time to catch up on the best of 2011.
We've hand-picked a selection of games from this year's release schedule that are all worthy of your Christmas Gaming time...
Batman Arkham City
A comic hero game that turned out to be very good? We were left speechless when Arkham Asylum was released in 2009. Even more incredibly, Rocksteady Studios' sequel managed to be even better than the first!
Batman Arkham City sets you in a massive open world, players assume the role of a Batman imprisoned in the sprawling super-prison of Arkham City. Every nemesis you could hope for makes an appearance in the game - as well as an epic storyline offering dozens of hours of gameplay, there's a huge quantity of sidequests and missions to explore once you've put the baddies to bed.
This third outing for Nathan Drake is his grandest adventure yet. Set amongst deserts, lost cities and ruins, Uncharted 3 is a technically astonishing PlayStation 3 game that features all of the exploration, fighting and explosive set-pieces we've come to expect from the series.
Better multiplayer, more customisation options and some of the most impressive motion-capture animations to hit gaming make Uncharted 3 an unmissable, cinematic rollercoaster. Don't miss out on one of gaming's finest adventures.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
If you can't get your money's worth out of a game like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, you're very hard to please indeed! Bethesda's follow-up to the best-selling game Oblivion left players and critics alike reeling. A gorgeously rendered, enormous world stuffed with terrifying dungeons, endless quest-lines and open-world dragon fights, Skyrim packs more content into a side-quest than most games manage full stop.
Are you an archer, berserker, magician or rogue? Whatever your play-style, there's a highly customisable role for you in this most epic of RPGs. Hundreds of hours of gameplay are here for players to gorge themselves on, all spread across a game that is likely to become one of the most fondly remembered of this generation. The greatest RPG of all time? It might just be.
Gears of War 3
Tying up all the loose ends of the previous games, this climax to the best-selling Gears of Wars franchise sees Marcus Fenix and co set out to finish the Locust Horde once and for all in Gears of War 3. Some of the most awesome baddies the series has ever seen make their appearance in this conclusion, and there'll be no shortage of sweaty palms once the fighting's over.
Multiplayer provides endless re-playability for the game, as you team up with friends to take on wave after wave of Locust forces. If you'd rather rip your friend's face off than lend a helping hand, you can now fight as the enemy, raining horrible destruction on your whole family once the Christmas pudding's gone down.
Once mocked by gamers for churning out what often amounted to little more than annual updates, EA has been on a charm-offensive these last five years or so, bringing significant innovation and improvements to their flagship footie title every single time.
FIFA 12 sees the introduction of a far more dynamic system for defending where you can link up with an AI defender to put pressure on attackers. Head to Head seasons allow you to take part in a highly competitive ladder tournament, while simply playing the game also adds points to your chosen club. It's as addictive as ever, and about as fully-featured a sports game as we could hope for.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The perfect game to settle into while the family are having a good old row downstairs,The Ledgend of Zelda Skyward Sword will charm the pants off you with it's perfect telling of the classic Zelda tale, mixed with the best combat and world design the series has ever seen.
Set prior to the events of the N64 (and now 3DS) classic Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword starts off in a beautiful cloud city by the name of Skyloft. Of course, it's not long until Link's childhood friend Zelda is whisked off into the lands below, beginning a fantastic journey of world exploration, soaring flight, and devilishly tricky dungeons. Skyward Sword is a must-play for any Zelda fans, past or present.
He may have created one of the creepiest games ever by confining players in a gloomy mansion with flesh-eating zombies, but Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has fallen in love with the open world g…
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Along with Star Trek, the stat-based fantasies of the RPG form the basis of society's cliched view of 'sad geek stuff'. And yet to look at the games charts today, you'd swear that role-playing was the…
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There's no denying it, we've been spoiled rotten by the flood of quality games this year. There isn't enough time in the day to get through them all! Fortunately, the Christmas holidays are here to gi…
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