You are not the only Dragonborn in Skyrim. The first of your kind, Miraak, has returned to reclaim the blasted island of Solsthiem as his own. Flying under the banner of the daedric prince of Fate and secrets Hermaeus Mora, Miraak's influence has already spread to Tamriel as some of the citizens of Solsthiem are compulsively building a temple and reciting lines of worship for his return. The current Dovahkin must travel to the Dunmer colony in order to stop Miraak's plan from coming to fruition in this latest DLC. After all, some of his cultists did try to kill you. He must answer for that.
Out of the numerous extra content packs for this latest Elder Scrolls edition, this one is by far my favorite. The quest starts off when some cultists try to cut you down in the streets. Upon looting their bodies, the player comes across a letter saying that they've been tasked with ending the player's life. They see the current Dovahkin as a threat to the return of their great Master Miraak. The player must travel to the new island of Solsthiem in order to figure out what's happening. The setting was the first great thing in this new expansion. Solsthiem is a landmass that, in part, does resemble Skyrim. There are snow capped hills and icy shorelines with rolling waves. The other part is an ash stained barren looking countryside where the gray snow still falls from repeated eruptions of the red mountain volcano. The sky is darkened with ash, a slow but steady fall of the material ever clouding the player's steps. The denizens of Raven Rock, the island's main port, have had to adjust to this harsh climate, able to grow simple crops and conduct routine business from a nearby mine. It's a drastic change from the clear open horizon of Skyrim and is effective in the contrast.
Now, on the Oblivion realm of Apocrypha. This is the home of Hermaeus Mora. He is the daedric prince in charge of forbidden knowledge and diviner of Fates. He and his dwelling pay a great homage to H.P. Lovecraft and his pantheon of eldridge gods. Hermaeus Mora is depicted as mass of tentacles with eyes beyond count that open and close and bubble away at his whim. He speaks with no mouth but knows everything. His realm is a maddened place where the sky is cracked and the oil like water is filled with appendages that will lance out and strike the player if they get too close. Lurkers and seekers roam the book built halls, a harrowing presence in the realm. This place terrifies and confuses but also intrigues. Books fly through the air by themselves. Several texts not seen in the outer world are only seen here. But, having a seeker suddenly appear before you is a scary experience. Just looking at the razor sharp mouth where the stomach is supposed to be is chill inducing.
Great new enemies and settings aside, the conflict behind the DLC is a bit lackluster. Yes there are new shouts to learn and new things to beat up, but the main complaint comes from the ending of the quest itself. The player gets to finally take on Miraak, but the actual fight and its conclusion are almost...anti-climatic. Miraak can be taken down in three like stages, the short cinematics in between too quick to take in the consequences. Towards the end, his daedric prince intervenes, not allowing the player to make the finishing blow because Hermaeus Mora does it. I would have preferred to do it myself and the fight lacked the type of anticipation usually associated when going against a final boss.
Overall, 'Dragonborn' is still worth the time. It's expands game-play time and mythology to this part of Tamriel and gives players a chance to really dive into a horror driven narrative. The settings would capture any gothic literature fan's imagination and testing out the new shouts can be very entertaining.