Skyrim has had a rough time on PlayStation 3, having suffered from frame rate issues, freezing, ballooning save file sizes and various other game-hindering glitches. Not only did PS3 owners have to deal with these problems, once new content was announced they were then informed that the DLC was not ready for their platform and it required further development before it could be brought to the console. Following a lengthy wait, Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC has finally arrived on Sony’s system, but many aren’t too eager to pick up the add-on content, despite favorable reviews for the competing console’s version. It’s understandable that Skyrim fans/owners would expect Dragonborn to be a buggy mess like the main game was, but I’m here to bring you some good news: Dragonborn runs surprisingly well on the PlayStation 3.
Bethesda’s extra time tweaking the long-awaited content has paid off, and I’m sure the stability updates from patch 1.8 have helped the system as well. For the most part, it’s a smooth ride, providing the kind of experience we all had hoped for over a year ago. Having spent several hours with the Dragonborn DLC, I’m happy to report that it exceeded my expectations. I took my Dark Elf out to explore every crevice of Solstheim and was met with exciting new adventure opportunities, not rage-worthy bugs. For the first hour or so, I just explored Solstheim and took in all the familiar sights, now lovingly recreated with a much higher quality (obviously). It felt great returning to a memorable area from Morrowind’s Bloodmoon expansion.
Now that I’ve praised Dragonborn, I must provide the following disclaimer: it isn’t perfect. Upon first arriving in Solstheim, the game temporarily locked up, leading me to believe that I was about to come face-to-face with the first game-breaking glitch only a couple minutes into the DLC. Then, to my surprise, the game proceeded as normal. The short hang reminded me of how Fallout 3 would lock up when someone signed in; it didn’t require a restart, just some patience. Although Dragonborn’s minor freeze is much less severe and far less common. The only other noticeable issue is the drop in the frame rate occasionally during heavy combat, but this is no different than the main game. And this is a good thing because you won’t want to deal with any slow down or tearing while you’re trying to take in the gorgeous locations on Solstheim.
Overall, Bethesda did a great job bringing the content over to the PS3 (even if it did take a while). If you still pine after the days of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Dragonborn is a nostalgic treat that allows you to revisit a land beloved by many last generation. Couple the lack of major glitches and a wonderful new/old environment with a bunch of fresh content (such as weapons, armor, enemies and shouts) and you have one piece of downloadable content that is very enticing. For those of you who have held off this long on purchasing the Dragonborn because of frustrations brought on by the unstable main game in the past, you need not worry. This is a very polished experience and one that any Elder Scrolls fan should not miss.