Skyrim, and with it The Elder Scrolls games as a whole have always allowed for a ‘do as you like’ approach to their open worlds. Fancy ignoring the entire reason you’re supposed to exist and instead wander from town to town trading and amassing a fortune? Go for it. What about playing a hunter who only eats wild animals he/she has killed? Yep, you can do that. What you’ve never been able to do, however, is build a place of your own or have a family, not until now that is, with Bethesda’s newest DLC offering - Hearthfire.
While this option has long been available to PC players via the use of mods, it’s a new thing for console players, and they too can now build houses and have their own children through adoption. You can get started by completing a quest for the Jarl in three different areas, and once that’s done you then have the option to give away 5000 of your hard earned gold to purchase a plot of land. On that land you can build your dream home; or at least that’s the theory. Instead what you get is a canned home that will, at the end, be the exact same as everyone elses creation, differing only in what pieces of equipment you choose to store on which mannequin, or which trophies you want to display.
The home itself is built using the new crafting table, selecting set pieces to create your home, eventually resulting in a manor not unlike any of the manor’s already in the game. Still, if you want a more personal place to live in between slaying dragons and saving the world, this will do the trick, and it’s role-player heaven, when tied with the family angle. Still, what you essentially have here is a flat-pack house you have to work to build. Hearthfire adds more work, whether it’s farming things to sell for the gold to pay for it, or the raw materials needed to build certain things, it’s work, and it’s not fun. New players will have a long time to wait into the game before they can even think about touching Hearthfire’s main content.
The children mentioned can be adopted and will be grateful in a rather pathetic way, and you can talk to them and play some boring games of hide and seek, or you can send them to do chores or other pointless canned animations. It really adds nothing to the game, even a hardcore role-player would have a hard time believing these children were genuinely your own, adopted or not.
While I haven’t played the mod on PC which allows this kind of thing already, it is very highly rated among the Elder Scrolls community, and if it is as good as is to be believed, this piece of DLC is rather worthless on the PC, despite its cheap price point. Console players may welcome it a bit more openly as a new experience, but once their house is built and their creepy children adopted they’ll likely realise something rather quickly - houses in Skyrim are loot storage. They serve no purpose but to sleep in every once in awhile to get a meaningless buff and store your junk. No matter how fancy it looks or how much you love your own creation, Hearthfire is just adding another junk closet (or three, if you build them all) to the world.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hearthfire (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Skyrim, and with it The Elder Scrolls games as a whole have always allowed for a ‘do as you like’ approach to their open worlds. Fancy ignoring the entire reason you’re supposed to exist and instead wander from town to town trading and amassing a fortune? Go for it. What about playing a hunter who only eats wild animals he/she has killed?