One thing that personally drives me crazy more than anything else is getting a review in too long after a game has been released. While I'm willing to let a review take me a good long while to get done, especially in the case of larger games, I hate when there's some sort of outside reason as to why it's taking me so long. Previously this only really happened with Fallout: New Vegas thanks to its billion and one glitches that prevented progress through the main storyline. Now however Dawnguard that illustrious group of games that took far too long to review due to trying to work around glitches.
Dawnguard tells the story of two opposing factions the newly formed Dawnguard vampire hunters and the Volkihar vampire clan. The leader of the Volkihar, Vampire Lord Harkon, has thought up a way to blot out the sun for good, allowing vampires to do whatever they like with the world at large. Clearly the vampire hunters are out to stop them but as you go through the storyline you'll find that things aren't quite so clear cut.
The leader of the Dawnguard is a bigot who would see even peaceful vampires dead, the leader of the vampires is a raging lunatic and everybody is kind of a jerkass. Even Serana, the ally who assists you in bringing this to a resolution, was a lover to Molag Bal at least once. Yeah... not good peoples. But even still do you side with the vampires to become a vampire lord and block out the sun for your own benefit or do you wish to ever be the hero? It's up to you what side you join in the end leading to good roleplaying opportunities.
That is if you can actually get the stinking plug-in to load up. See rather than letting this quest start up via an actual quest giver this is almost akin to a radiant quest in how it loads. You'll need to either speak to a city guardsman and hope he gives you the starter quest or talk to an innkeeper and see if they offer it up. For my main character, a level 50 assassin type build, it perpetually refused to start up necessitating the creation of a whole other character, leveling them up to level 15 (15 20 is the recommended level it seems). Once my character reached level 15 I tried to start up the quest again and finally got it to work.
It wasn't too long after completing it I got my original characters to finally work, almost a week after I started trying but I stuck with the low level guy. This was a bit of a mistake. It was mentioned in a Game Informer article that level 10 was the base, others online say levels 15 20. Well 20 seems to be the base point because it isn't until that point that the difficulty seems even remotely fair but it's going to be hard as hell. But yet it was too easy for my level 40 archer. Honestly there isn't a difficulty curve here as much as a gigantic parabola.
Luckily the extra added content does manage to make up for this deficiency once you actually get the thing to work.
The combat AI has been improved greatly allowing for some rather interesting enemy encounters. Warriors will raise up their shields and fall back if they're taking a beating, allowing the archers and mages to cover their retreat. Mages will do their best to keep their distance while throwing up defenses if you close in, even trying to deflect your shouts with their magic shields. This makes the fights far more engaging than they were previously.
In addition to that the new equipment and abilities are pretty awesome. There is a new, incredibly powerful shout known as Soul Tear that Soul Traps and resurrects foes from the dead to fight for you and a second shout that steals health from opponents in rather impressive quantity. You'll also be able to summon up a brand new dragon to aid you both in this new location and back in Skyrim. There's a large number of new equipment to gather up and some of it is quite powerful indeed although if you're too far through the main quest line or invested too much into smithing it might not seem all that impressive.
Of course what is bringing most people to the table is going to be the Vampire Lord transformation. In this powerful form the player can float above traps and water, move incredibly fast, use powerful melee attacks and use incredibly strong mystical abilities. As you use the Drain Life power you'll gain points towards perks that give you powerful new skills most notable of which is the ability to summon a gargoyle to fight alongside you. The werewolf perks aren't nearly as impressive but now that damage reduction works properly in that form even werewolves have been greatly improved.
All of that said this isn't exactly a must have unless you're truly obsessed with Skyrim like this reviewer is. At its current price level you'll definitely get your money's worth in character interaction and improvements to werewolves and vampires. But otherwise there really isn't enough here to truly warrant this being an immediate purchase.