Saturday, September 8, 2012

Location, location, location: New releases for the week of 9-2-12 (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hearthfire)

Hearthfire is another downloadable expansion for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Unlike previous expansion Dawnguard, which added a series of new quest and enemies, Hearthfire is about what the hero of Skyrim gets up to during his downtime, allowing you to build and design your own house. You can have useful facilities like alchemy labs (presumably one used for the actual, magical sort of alchemy, as opposed to the sort of home-based chemistry facility that about a third of the guys I knew in high school are probably doing prison time for by now) and greenhouses (again, presumably...), as well as display cases to show off the exotic weapons and items you've found in your adventures and a trophy room to display the exotic creatures you've killed with them.

You design your new residence yourself and can either oversee its construction personally or hire a steward to do it for you. You can even start a family by having your spouse move in and adopting some kids.(Biological kids are not an option, unfortunately, since by the time the player has unlocked the ability to build a house excessive exposure to the draconic spiritual energies of the Thu'um shouts have already left the protagonist sterile.)

Though unsurpassed on the field of battle and imbued with the mystical might to flense the flesh from men's bones with but a word, the Dragonborn's ignorance of proper high-altitude baking temperatures would be his undoing.

It sounds nice, and having a location where I can show off all the cool stuff I've acquired in my adventures is something I've long wanted in an Elder Scrolls game. That said, it is sort of an odd man out placed alongside the premises of prior Elder Scrolls releases and expansions. Consider:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim As a bloody civil war rages across the land, you must battle an army of resurrected ancient dragons who have returned to wage war against all of humanity, led by a colossal soul-eating dragon-god who's commonly referred to with epithets like “World Eater” and has just returned after millennia of banishment beyond time and space in accordance with ancient prophecies about the destruction of the cosmos. You become the Dragonborn, a legendary warrior with the blood and soul of a dragon whose very voice has the power to lay his enemies low.

The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard To save the world from an eternity of darkness, you must battle a monstrous host of vampires who seek to cast the world into everlasting night through an ancient magical ritual that will permanently BLOT OUT THE SUN. You can become a member of an ancient order of vampire hunters, or transform into a terrifying immortal creature of the night yourself.

The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire You need a place to keep your stuff and kill time when not busy with the above. You can become a foster parent or an amateur gardener. An amateur gardener with the soul of a dragon whose very voice has the power to lay his enemies low who may or may not also be a vampire, but still.

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