The lights are on
There's a truly great concept behind Dragonborn, there really is, but the implementation of the material that was touched upon within the DLC is utterly lacking.
Bethesda had a chance to really introduce the player to new lore surrounding the history of the Dragonborn, but there wasn't a spark within the quest-line that really made the DLC stand out for me. Compared to Dawnguard (which also has its own negatives, don’t get me wrong) the main quest-line surrounding Miraak was so… bland, despite the fact his story had an incredible amount of potential. I feel like there should have been perhaps one or two more objectives before the battle with Miraak - I didn't actually realize I was going to face him until it was too late. Even then, the boss fight was rather confusing - the transition from flying on a dragon and entering combat was not smooth and, for a few moments, I was stuck in midair until Sahrotaar eventually died.
As for Hermaeus Mora, he steals the show.
The new locations are a pleasant surprise. I love the entire premise and layout of Apocrypha and adore the more shamanistic Nords of Solstheim, which, considering the island is a part of Morrowind, is Skyrim's first foray into out-of-country exploration. At first Solstheim appears to resemble Skyrim in landscape, however it soon becomes apparent of the different quirks it has - large mushrooms that were turned into houses, a more varied dungeon system, and due to the nearby volcano, some parts of the island are covered in ash and soot.
Of course, an array of new creatures/enemies are introduced, including one that strongly resembles a particular 'big stupid jellyfish' species from a more spacefaring game. Hands down my new favorite quasi-intelligent species of Skyrim is the Riekling. For some strange reason, after completing a quest-line associated with them, a Riekling warrior seems to be following my character around in secret, showing up to assist in my battles during the oddest times (like when I fought a Dragon Priest in some dungeon).
The new shouts are great as well (except for maybe one, which I'll get to in a second), and I do find myself repeatedly using ‘Dragon Aspect’ while in combat. As for 'Battle Fury', I figure my companions are fairly able, so it's not a shout I found myself falling back to.
Now, I have a bone to pick with the new ability to ‘bend wills’ and ride dragons. It was something I was hoping to see, however, it’s an overwhelmingly broken feature and an annoyance rather than a perk I would readily use. I suppose it’s crafted in such a way to mimic riding an organic being with a mind of its own. Alas, lazily flying in a circle and occasionally bouncing off the ground or a nearby mountain is so lackluster that it takes the fun out of using it. The targeting system is ridiculous as well, despite being targeted by an entire group of bandits, I was unable to stop locking onto a nearby guard, who I didn't feel the need to kill. It feels like a cheap ploy that was added in order to appease fans instead of an actual flushed-out feature.
For the most part, I regret spending the money I did on this DLC. I guess I was a bit bright-eyed for new Skyrim content, but there’s no real concrete material within it, just a few weak premises.
I have heard that from a lot of people, that the dragon riding is an issue. I just bought the DLC and plan on getting to it later when I have time. Great review though.