After assembly with Gwendis, we proceeded to combat via Arkasis’ facility, taking up stone husks and werewolves to uncover the malevolent schemes the alchemist has been cooking up. “Greymoor mentioned The Grey Host, which was an historic military of vampires and werewolves which was defeated by the Bangkorai Legion centuries in the past,” explains Finnigan. “In each of Stonethorn’s dungeons we needed to focus on this [piece of lore]. Stone Backyard focuses on werewolves, and Citadel Thorn leans into the vampires. The dungeons symbolize each side of The Grey Host, basically.”
What’s been significantly gratifying about “Darkish Coronary heart of Skyrim” is its tone, which is darkish and Gothic however really has an irreverent, style film attraction to the dialogue and story parts. Which is to say, whereas the story presents a darker facet of the Skyrim we all know, it additionally doesn’t take itself too significantly. The underground expanses of Blackreach are literally among the most vibrant areas in Skyrim, and the dungeons are enjoyable and somewhat wacky in tone, which is an effective factor. There are mushrooms you could decide up all through the dungeon and basically experiment with, boosting your stats, and there’s even a chance to drink a potion and switch right into a werewolf behemoth your self. It’s all a bit off-kilter (Arkasis’ voice appearing is theatrical to say the least) however I had a extremely enjoyable time with it.
Gameplay-wise, the builders acknowledged that some gamers have been on the lookout for extra of a problem within the sport’s dungeons, so the staff have been very happy to oblige. “Historically, in dungeons, we now have 5 bosses with one arduous mode on the finish,” says senior content material designer Shane Slama. “We heard suggestions from gamers that they needed extra management over the issue of the dungeons. There are three bosses in these dungeons, however in veteran mode, there’s a arduous mode for each single boss you could activate and enhance the problem.”
One of the vital notable points of “Darkish Coronary heart of Skyrim” to date is that every chapter feeds into the bigger narrative whereas additionally appearing as a self-contained expertise ought to the participant select to strategy the sport that method. “The extra [content] you play, the extra you be taught in regards to the story,” says lead content material designer Jeremy Sera. Stone Backyard, for instance, is a enjoyable romp for anybody to leap into and luxuriate in, revolving round Arkasis’ experiments. However should you’ve been following together with “Darkish Coronary heart of Skyrim,” you’ll discover little references sprinkled all through the dialogue and even the menu system that fill in or make reference to the overarching story. It’s a pleasant element, for instance, that should you’ve encountered her beforehand, Gwendis will make reference to the truth that you’ve already met.
The artwork design in Stone Backyard are compelling and detailed, too. The equipment and total aesthetic are acquainted in that they’re distinctly Dwemer however have been corrupted by Arkasis’ thoughts. There are large, glowing vats of inexplicable goo lining the partitions of the dungeon with all method of weird creatures floating inside, which not solely foreshadows the terrors you’re in for as you combat your method via the power however makes reference to monsters you’ll see out within the wild, terrorizing Skyrim’s denizens.