About a month ago I wrote about the staggered release of downloadable content (DLC) by the Elder Scrolls (TES) franchise. By early February, the DLC was ready and waiting to be played on PC. And this week, to the excitement of PS3 users, it’s available on PSN (Playstation Network).
This week’s PS3 release is the beginning of a three-week Skyrim DLC-release schedule — it will be followed by Hearthfire next week and Dawngard during the last week of February. Both Hearthfire and Dawnguard DLCs have been available to PC and Xbox 360 users since summer and fall of 2012.
There’s been a lot of excitement and anticipation in our house around this release. I actually imposed an embargo on questions like, “Have you had a chance to look at the reviews?” “…watch the trailers.” “…see the game play?” And there were strict penalties for asking me any of these questions (or variations of them) more than once a day(!).
As in Skyrim, the DLC received an M(ature)-rating due to the potential for play that contains blood and gore, intense violence, sexual themes, and use of alcohol. I say POTENTIAL because the format of the game — open world role playing game (RPG) — lends itself very well to a modified version of the game that could be rated T(een). The issue as a parent becomes, do you: 1. Trust your child to play a version of the DLC that agrees with your family values, and/or 2. monitor their play as a copilot watching your child play?
In TES tradition, the game’s animation is stunningly detailed — it’s gorgeous. Even the island of Solstheim, which lacks colorful flourish, is rich in detail. And so is the musical score.
I’d read that the DLC was a bit glitchy and buggy in places and found this to be the case with ours (PC). And by the way, I opted for a combination of 1 and 2 above, trusting my son to play a version of the game that I’d allow him to play while I was out of the room, as well as working alongside him as he played. My advice (and code of conduct rule) to The Gamer Boy is that he should always play as if I’m sitting beside him (not as creepy as it sounds).
It’s possible to play a T-rated version of the DLC that’s limited in violent gameplay, sexual content, and use of alcohol. The open world RPG design of the game lends itself to exploration, which is a major component of the main quest and the game’s narrative. Fans of TES games will be pleased with this DLC — mine certainly is. The Gamer Boy is challenged by the problems that are presented to him in the DLC and gratified by the rewards reaped from completing challenges. In addition, this DLC is a feast for the eyes and the ears — both players and observers can enjoy this one.
VERDICT: RECOMMEND FOR SOME KIDS 12 YEARS PLUS