mikeinsc's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hearthfire (Xbox 360) review

Pointless

I have enjoyed Skyrim immensely --- but the DLC of Hearthfire seems to be scratching an itch that never existed.

In this pack, you seek to build a home or homes and possibly adopt a child. It seems really out of place with the rest of the game as "domestic life" never seemed to be a major draw.

The single biggest problem is that, as the title says, it is pointless. There isn't a benefit to it. There's no actual storyline hook to it (outside of the appearance of the orphanage that began your Dark Brotherhood storyline). It's just The Sims: Skyrim. And, yes, I am aware the devs claim Minecraft was an inspiration, but the Sims seems more in line with what this game brings to the table.

The building of houses is not difficult. You have to have iron and corundum ingots (I used the blacksmith at the Thieves Guild for it since I accidentally killed the Skyforge guy in pursuit of my werewolf grinding in Dawnguard), lumber, straw, clay, and stone. All are widely available and, if you get yourself somebody to watch over your house for you, you can most of it from them directly. Building houses is not challenging.

In fact, the biggest challenge is actually finding out where to buy the land to build the houses on. You can wait to receive letters from 3 Jarls (or I can just tell you to visit Morthal, Dawnguard, and Falkreath). Without the letters, admittedly, being allowed to buy the land is not a guarantee. There are a lot of various minor issues that are able to prevent you from buying land. But, once the land is bought, it's easy going.

To be blunt, the ONLY thing you need is a good relationship with the three Jarls and lots of money. Nothing more. There are allegedly occasional attacks on your homes by giants and what have you, but I never experienced it personally.

Adopting a child is even more pointless. You can buy a children's room for your home in Whiterun or build a bedroom and include beds and storage chests and then just pick the child you wish to adopt. There really isn't anything more to it than that, nor is the REASON for doing so really explained. Having a child seems to have no bearing on your character one way or the other and while you can pick a child to adopt...the differences seem to be non-existent as well.

It's only $5, but even that seems overpriced. It is a truly pointless expansion and the worst add-on for an Elder Scrolls game since some horse armor a years back.

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