'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' goes vampiric in its first Xbox 360 DLC 'Dawnguard'

Bethesda offers a short hands on for its upcoming Skyrim DLC.

The trailer for Skyrim's first full DLC hit last week -- an Xbox exclusive called Dawnguard which lets players join one of two factions, the Vampire Lords or the Dawnguard. The DLC, we're told, offers another 10 to 20 hours of gameplay in their Skyrim experience, on top of the already existing 20+ hours available in the game's main quest. At 1600 MS Points the game offers an additional dragon shout, the Soul Tear which turns enemies into zombie-like slaves, and an additional Vampire skill tree.

Taking a slightly closer look at life within the vampire faction, Bethesda offered a short hands-on play of the downloadable content today during its E3 showing.

Roughly 10 levels into the available content we meet Serena, whose backstory is unclear but who comes to be known as our companion during the demo. Her vampiric mother is missing and will only be found in Oblivion, a limbo-like dimension where the dead travel to despite not knowing they are no longer living.

In an arid, purple-hued landscape we meet a number of lost souls looking for aid. One asks us to find his spectral horse, Arvak, who has run off further into Oblivion. Another, a conman who has a knack for finding rare items, asks you to harvest strange fungi across the zone to trade for access to his arsenal of products.

The area is teeming with black skeletal assassins who raise themselves from the ground or guard select towers around the area. To combat them users can make use of the game's newly introduced crossbow while in their human form. Alternatively they can trigger their Vampire Lord ability, transforming them from man into a giant winged creature who can attack using two separately-casted spells from either hand.

His abilities can be enhanced in the newly added faction-specific ability tree. The Vampire Lord tree includes a Power of the Grave spec early on which offers the user 50 bonus points to health, magic, and stamina. Later on they will be able to access the likes of Night Cloak which surrounds them in combat with a cloud of bats that feed on enemies in melee range. Also available is Blood Healing whereby killing a person with a power attack restores all health, and Supernatural Reflexes in which all movement slows down around you while you move faster in response.

There is no word on when the content will be available for PC, however the DLC is expected to release for Xbox 360 owners this Summer.

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