Surprised. That’s my first emotion after playing Skyrim’s 2nd DLC on PS3. I really wasn’t expecting too much, but Bethesda proved me wrong. There’s a lot of fun compacted into this $5 (that I got for 2.50) DLC. I’m the type of guy who likes to do more than just go dungeon diving. I enjoy the full Skyrim experience. Well, except for The Dark Brotherhood. I destroyed them, instead of joining them. Anyway, back to Hearthfire. Hearthfire isn’t exactly your run of the mill Elder Scrolls’ DLC. You don’t travel to another land and you don’t get a new questline. Yet, Hearthfire still delivers plenty of content.
The DLC starts out with a courier delivering a few messages to you. From the messages you find out three things.
1. You can now change up your current house/hold to have a child’s bedroom. Example: I replaced my alchemy lab in Whiterun with a child’s bedroom.
2. You can now purchase land in Farkreath, though there are plots for sale near Dawnstar and Morthal as well.
3. You can now adopt children, thanks to new management at the orphanage. I’m not sure what happens here if you didn’t kill “Grelod the Kind”.
I immediately set off for Farkreath, where I was already a Thane, to purchase land. If you’re not a Thane, then you must become one. Here’s the first part that exceeded my expectations. I was only expecting to be able to build a house in town, but I was wrong. In Hearthfire, you get your own compound, and is shown on the map as a town. So, from there you set off to start building your home.
The process of building your home is very fun and just the right amount of sophistication. By that, I mean that it’s not too simple, nor is it too complicated. Construction time is also just the right amount of time invested. You don’t want it to be so time consuming that it’s no fun. The process is like this: make construction plans, gather resources, construct your house, furnish your house. Your home starts out as just a simple house, but like I said, you could build it into a compound. It’s not called Lakeside Manor, for nothing! You have an entry hall, a main hall, and three wings to add on (from a choose of 9 wings.
The level of customization that they allow is astounding. By the time you’re done, Cribs: Skyrim will want to feature your home! Take one look at this screenshot and you’ll see how comfy your home can become:
After I was done furnishing my home, I decided to move my wife, Aela the Huntress in with me, but that mansion still felt a bit empty. That’s where that 3rd feature kicks in. It was time to adopt a child.
Back when I assassinated Grelod the Kind, I remember thinking how sad it was that the children weren’t allowed to get adopted from the Orphanage. What’s up with that? Well, Hearthfire changes that. It allows you to adopt two children and I’ve got to say that it was pretty neat seeing their faces light up when they got adopted. You can even get them presents. It’s a very cool feature.
If your home is still feeling a bit empty, Hearthfire also allows you to bring home an animal follower and make it your pet. I chose Vigilance the Dog.
Yet even after all of that, there are still two more mansions that I can build. I’m sure I will build them eventually, but Lakeside Mansion is enough for me right now, especially because I spent most of my septims in building and filling it!
So, what are you waiting for? This is a great DLC and you can get it for only $2.50 on the Playstation Network this week. You can’t beat that. It was disappointing that it took this long for Bethesda to release the DLC, but they came through. It’s here and it’s on sale. You can’t ask for much more! Go get it!
Rhodes Rating: 84/100
PS. Have you heard about Sony giving 10 dollars in credit to loyal customers?
As it turns out, I had $10 waiting in my inbox, as well. I’m pretty happy. It’s great customer service and that means next week’s DLC for Skyrim, Dawnguard, will be FREE. Thanks, Playstation!
P.S.S. I’ll be reviewing Dawnguard and Dragonborn next week. I wanted to do Dawnguard, before Dragonborn, because I’m weird like that.