The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Dark Brotherhood (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 26.07.2016

Review for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Dark Brotherhood on PlayStation 4

After the previous DLC Thieve's Guild added the stealthy quick-fingered cutpurses, there was only one logical next step: adding the killer cold-hearted cutthroats of the Dark Brotherhood. The Dark Brotherhood questlines in the Elder Scroll games are by far some of the best, filled with compelling stories and memorable moments. Can ZeniMax deliver the same in Tamriel Unlimited? Cubed3 finds out. This DLC is available now for 2,000 crowns, and for those with deep pockets, there is the collector's bundle for 4,000 crowns, which includes the DLC, a Highland Wolf mount, a Sylvan Nixad pet, and five crown experience scrolls.

Participating players can travel to the Gold Coast, where the familiar cities of Anvil and Kvatch make their welcome return. Upon this stretch of land, the Dark Brotherhood is encountering some problems. This ancient society who has always given the gift of death, the silent assassins of Tamriel, is finding out how it feels when its members are on the receiving end of an assassin's blade. Pacifists need not apply here; to even begin the quest requires the slaughter of an innocent in the town of Anvil. If you're happy with taking the life of an innocent, the Sanctuary opens its doors. Becoming a member inside the Black Door means one thing: killing. The main story quests all consist of much the same thing, receiving a target to kill, tracking them down across an instance, utilising many of the elements from the Thieves Guild DLC, hiding and stalking through, eliminating guards one by one, and finding the target and eliminating them.

These assassinations are made much easier with a new tool, the "Blade of Woe," which gives an instant-kill ability. It requires being in stealth and close enough to stab the enemy, but this isn't a complete game-breaker. It can only be used on humanoids, cannot be used in dungeons or trials, and won't work on certain enemies. The animation really lets it down too; it takes a few seconds, which is unnecessarily long, and in an MMO like this, the world carries on while it plays out. This often results in a well-timed assassination going to hell as pathing NPCs stroll back over and see the whole thing. There are also bosses in the story missions that either have a lantern to see through stealth or have a minion holding one for them, so there's still plenty of real combat.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Dark Brotherhood on PlayStation 4

The DLC plays out across a new area of the Gold Coast, and this new zone is amazing. It's totally original when compared to what has come before. The towns of Anvil and Kvatch will be familiar to players of Oblivion, and ZeniMax has done a superb job in recreating it here. The Sanctuary of the Dark Brotherhood has a great vibe too, with some real unique characters, especially the Skeleton Merchant, who can't help but use black humour and bone puns at every opportunity.

There's plenty more here than just the main story quest. There are tons of new additions to change up the base game, including new repeatable and daily quests to add to the routine. These consist of repeatable Bounties and Contract Kills along with daily Sacrament quests. Contract Kills are self-explanatory; names are given from the Brotherhood, and eliminating them will take the player all across the land of Tamriel. Bounties come not from the Dark Brotherhood but from the new towns in the DLC and include taking on the Kvatch arena, new world bosses and delves. The Sacrament quests are the real attraction; they're special assassinations in the name of the Night Mother. Each of these quests is fun at first, but far too many are required to increase the Dark Brotherhood rank sufficiently enough to continue with the main story, making them begin to feel like a chore.

One of the best aspects of the Thieves Guild DLC was the hit list, a collection of clues and cryptic hints for a series of artefacts around the world of Tamriel to track down and steal. This new DLC captures that same magic with the Litany of Blood, a list of clues to who needs to be killed. For example, "From Marbruk, I offer she who surveys the market beneath an auburn veil and keeps silver close to her heart." Gamers who take on this challenge without consulting a guide will find a fun and rewarding experience before them.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Dark Brotherhood on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Compared to the previous fantastic Thieve's Guild, Dark Brotherhood feels like a misstep. There is an absolute ton of other new features alongside this DLC, but they're part of the new ESO 2.0 patch and can't be considered a part of the Dark Brotherhood DLC. That in mind, the DLC itself feels quite lacking. The zone is fantastic and the tone fitting, but the assassinations get repetitive, and the story is far too short.

Developer

ZeniMax Online Studios

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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