By Roberto Campos
Bethesda and BioWare decided to drop their highly anticipated expansions to their successful titles, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 respectively, on the same day (that’s if you have an Xbox 360).
While BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 downloadable content (DLC) more-or-less had something to prove to its fans, Dawnguard had fans anticipating a new, grand adventure in the of the realm of Skyrim.
Both Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 were arguably the best RPGs to come out in the last year, while their main game content is superb it’s now up to the DLC to continue their glory.
The ending to Mass Effect 3 left gamers divided by whether or not its ending was sufficient enough to conclude the Mass Effect saga. Outrage poured onto the internet and spurred BioWare to announce that they would elaborate on the ending in the hopes of redeeming themselves and satisfying their fans.
Extended Cut is exactly as it sounds. It’s an extension to the last mission of taking back a Reaper-controlled earth, nothing more and nothing less. While it’s nice to go back through the last mission and see new cut scenes and more elaboration on what’s really going on the bottom line is that it’s unnecessary. Extended Cut should have been named “Mass Effect 3 ending for Dummies” because all it does is explain and show things that are already in the original ending. Yet rather than leaving those explanations in the dialogue they show it to players in cut scenes. This takes away from the original purpose of the ending entirely.
The Mass Effect 3 ending plays out more like a movie in the fact that it doesn’t explain what happens afterwards and leaves itself open enough for players to discuss and ponder what the games message really was. The fact that it was so open is what frustrated gamers. But by making Extended Cut, it takes away from the imagination and depth of the original ending.
The initial ending pretty much explains everything that’s in this DLC, you just have to look for it. It’s nice that this download is free because if it wasn’t you would be disappointed. By trying to please their fans and leaving their natural storytelling genius behind, BioWare created something that was dull and boring. The cut scenes are something nice to look at and playing the last mission over again proves to be worthwhile, but Extended Cut is something I could have lived without.
Skyrim: Dawnguard is a vampire tale that’s actually worth experiencing, while not only including a new story line, Bethesda has added in a few little treats to make the download worth it. Including things like mounted horse combat, the ability to change facial features, a new type of dragon and a new shout feature.
While the story isn’t as expansive as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s Shivering Isles, Dawnguard offers a storyline that is entertaining and allows players to become a vampire lord. The twist this DLC contains is that players have to choose either to become vampire hunters or a vampire lord, either decision of course has its separate advantages. This is what gives Dawnguard reply value and adds to Skyrim’s own value; you have the opportunity to make each of your characters vastly different with the choices you make.
While $20 may be a steep price, Dawnguard pays back every penny through its compelling story and the eight plus hours of gameplay.
Where Extended Cut lacked in bringing something exciting to the table, Dawnguard made up for in adventure and lore. If you’re looking to play one of these DLCs go with Dawnguard, Extended Cut just doesn’t make the cut and is passable.