Release Date: September 4, 2012
System Reviewed: Xbox 360
Plays Like: Minecraft, The Sims
What's Great: It's something else to do. We've spent a hundred hours in the game killing and wandering, so being able to relax and build a house and adopt some kids is nice. Adopting is probably the oddest part out of the entire expansion, especially for those that never started the Dark Brotherhood story line. With the raw materials, you're not out gathering them like ingredients; most can be purchased at a general store.
What's (Not So) Great: Tracking down a general store that actually sells glass or hay is probably the most frustrating, or even a sawmill that's willing to part with their lumber. I bought the plot of land just north of Morthal, and I ended up having to fast-travel to Riverwood just to buy lumber; the saw mill in Morthal never gave me the option to purchase lumber, and the general store is more of an apothecary's general store. Again, Riverwood ended up being my general store of choice here.
Bottom Line: A radically different expansion than what many were expecting before the official revealing, Hearthfire is more of a content add-on or a mod, rather than a full-blown expansion, like Dawnguard. If you like chores, then you may very well like this. It's an enjoyable content pack, as you can fully customize your own home, rather than buying one in-town and not being able to much outside of having the steward do it for you (even though you can hire one for your new house). It's not terrible, but if you've been playing for quite a while, you may have a ton of iron ores/ingots (like myself), and you can crank out a house in a matter of minutes, which reduces the perceived value of the expansion. Then again, it's only $5.
(Bought the plot just north of Morthal, and built a full house with 3 wings. Stocked a ton of shit in the house, but