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Katy England Katy England
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Skyrim: Hearthfire

So, it's an ill-kept secret that I'm a geek. I enjoy me my fantasy books, sci-fi movies, and RPG video games, including 'Skyrim.' In September, Bethesda released their latest downloadable content (DLC) 'Hearthfire' for Xbox users and in early October to PC players, which is when I got involved.

Now, though most of you know I'm a geek, I'm a geek among geeks when it comes to my playing. I enjoy the lamest parts of 'Skyrim.' While some prefer to go full-on badass, slaying dragons and crafting armor from their skin and bones, I'm chasing butterflies and seeing how many different pieces of pottery I can collect and display in my house. One of my biggest frustrations in the game is how difficult it is to properly place items on tables and display cases. I mean, really Bethesda, did you have to make the physics so that every time I pick something up it flips upside down? Do you hate me that much?

So 'Hearthfire' is essentially for players just like me, who enjoy nothing more than baking fake food, collecting fake clutter and building fake houses - complete with fake children if you are so inclined (which, actually, I'm not. I have enough real children at the moment). You can buy your land, order lumber, make nails and build your house and everything in it. It works off of the crafting models already in the game, and if you have the raw materials you can have a posh pad faster than most modular places these days.

They also fixed some things that many people wouldn't consider broken, like adding new textures to the hot soup items you can make. Now the beef stew looks different from the tomato soup. They also added clam chowder, which fixes the fact that clams were utterly useless in the game previously.

Yes, that seriously bothered me.

You can also build rooms that allow you to showcase some badass trophies, like Hagravens you've bested, Dwemer automatons you've dismantled and much more.

I do wish you could customize the house more to your liking (to create a dastardly thief's haunt or a cozy manor). But you can tweak things a bit by simply not building certain items. Also, building certain wings requires you to make choices (a library supersedes a kitchen, and you have to choose between a trophy room and a storage space). But more options would have been fun. And I do wish I didn't have to choose between a library and a kitchen. A kitchen seems pretty standard in my humble opinion.

So, is it worth it to spend $4.99 on DLC that basically allows your epic dragonborn protagonist to build a house, adopt some kids and show off some trophies? Hell yes. But only if you're into that sort of thing.

There's just something about making my level 37 Volikhar vampire illusionist thief cook an apple dumpling that is in turns incredibly appealing and so very wrong. All that's missing is the ability to throw a tea party.


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