The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review
How is it that after 60 hours of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the first thing I want to do when I finish writing this review is play more Skyrim? It’s simply because, like Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fallout games before it, Skyrim offers a fantasy world so rich and expansive that to describe other games in those terms after playing this one would just feel hollow. The sheer amount of content packed into the game is a true marvel of video game production; it’s even more marvelous that all of it is so well executed that you want to see and do everything, and better still that you’re free to play it all in whatever way you want. Unsurprisingly, Skyrim isn’t perfect in a technical sense, but it gets close enough to fulfilling the potential of this specific role-playing format that the experience it offers is absolutely essential.
Bethesda has famously explored a different province of its fantasy world Tamriel in each Elder Scrolls game, and this fifth entry turns its attention northward to the frozen Nordic land of the game’s title. Skyrim is literally Nordic in that it’s the homeland of Tamriel’s hearty, honor-bound people the Nords. But Skyrim’s design is also heavily influenced by real Nordic artwork and traditions. It’s pretty much all Vikings, all the time; everything is all longships and mead halls and the exaltation of battle as a conveyance to the glorious Nord hereafter of Sovngarde. There’s a great coherence to Skyrim’s cultural identity that makes it feel like a grounded and believable place, if a fantastic one. But it’s also as diverse as any land in Tamriel, and you’ll frequently bump into members of every one of The Elder Scrolls’ factions, from snooty high elves to Argonian lizardmen. Skyrim’s nine capital cities are especially memorable, to say nothing of the sprawling lands between them: one, a mining center, is hewn right out of a mountainside, while another rises defiantly on a hilltop in the middle of a vast plain. From end to end, this is a wonderful and endlessly intriguing land to explore.
There’s a lot going on here, but the crux of this game is dragons. After an absence so long that most of Skyrim’s residents suspect they never really existed at all, the villainous wyrms have returned to scorch the countryside and terrorize its populace. As the first Dragonborn warrior to appear in an age, you’re the only one around who can permanently kill a dragon, and thus the person responsible for discovering why they’re back and what can be done to stop them. That quest forms the backbone of Skyrim’s core storyline, and it’s a story well worth seeing through to the end, with genuine twists, intrigue, and momentum that drive it forward in a way Bethesda’s past games really haven’t. For reference, I found Fallout 3′s main storyline mostly forgettable and only finished it from a sense of obligation, and Oblivion’s I hardly touched at all. I suspect Skyrim’s story will prove more engaging for most players; I know it was for me. And in contrast to the disappointing finality of the last two Fallout games, the way Skyrim’s main story “ends” is also wholly appropriate for a game as open and non-linear as this one. After the events of the final quest play out, you’re simply left standing there, free to continue exploring or marauding or whatever it is you want to do. The only way to view the credits is from the title screen. That struck me as a really elegant way to handle things.
If you’ve played one of Bethesda’s RPGs before, you know that main storyline is only a small part of what the game offers, and it’s a part you’re free to completely ignore in the interest of just roaming around, looking for other stuff to do. And there is so, so much other stuff. Even if there were no dragons, Skyrim would be a chaotic place with a lot of social and political turmoil going on. There’s a civil war brewing, between the Imperials (from the previous game’s province of Cyrodiil) who want to keep a tight rein on the indigenous populace, and a growing band of rebels led by Ulfric Stormcloak, the would-be king of the Nords. There’s tension between different races squeezed into cramped living quarters. There’s religious oppression, ethnic displacement, feuding families, betrayal, and plenty of murder. Even Tamriel’s mischievous demigods of all bad things, the Daedra, continue to meddle with mortal affairs whenever the notion strikes them. Maybe it’s unfair to compare this to games that have a small fraction of the time to work with, but Skyrim builds up a rich and interesting narrative backdrop like no other game in recent memory.
The point is, all these dynamics make for an enormous number of interesting quests. You’re free to choose one side or the other in Skyrim’s civil war, with a different sequence of quests associated with either side–though I love that it’s tough to decide who to support, since neither side’s hands are especially clean. Old favorite quest lines like the Thieves’ Guild and Dark Brotherhood are well represented, and though the Fighters’ and Mages’ Guilds remain back in sunny Cyrodiil, there are respectively a ragtag group of mercenaries and a prestigious magic college in their place. Completing all the stories and quests for any one of those groups will occupy you for hours all by itself, to say nothing of the staggering number of one-off quests and minor objectives you can pick up wherever you go. Merely stepping into a new major city for the first time will expose you to more new quests and activities than you’ll know what to do with. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way, since each new distraction sounds interesting enough that you’ll want to try to do everything. In a couple of cases, even a miscellaneous directive to check out something like a random excavation led me to an unexpected, hour-long underground ruin with its own self-contained storyline. You never know when adventure will present itself; you only know it will happen all the time, and it will pretty much always be worth undertaking when it does.
One of the reasons it’s so appealing to follow every objective you find is that the quality of the game’s dungeons is greatly improved over those in Oblivion, and feels like a further evolution of the sort of combat areas in Fallout 3. Gone are the lone cave and Elven ruin repeated ad nauseam across the landscape. Every dungeon and temple and tomb I explored felt distinctive in some way, which is not to say they don’t share basic textures and other artwork. But they do have unique layouts, puzzles, and often storylines that are told through characters or journals or other elements you find there. (In general, the quest designers are especially good at making you feel like you’ve stumbled into a series of events that was already happening before you got there.) There are a lot of deep places to delve in Skyrim, from tunnels carved out of pure ice to decrepit dwarven ruins where magic-powered automatons still stalk the hallways. After burning out on all those identical dungeons in Oblivion, it was refreshing to actually enjoy exploring them again here.
More refreshing than anything is the freedom to just do whatever the hell you want for as long as you want. Like its predecessors, the real magic of Skyrim lies in its matrix of interconnected systems that govern character behavior, object manipulation, the passage of time, and the ways your own abilities develop as you use them. That generalized framework for creating an enormous world and letting you explore it at your whim is as robust as it’s ever been. You can talk to, pickpocket, or kill practically any character you see. Farmers and townspeople go about their daily business with little regard for your presence, unless you interfere with them. You can pick up and carry practically every item, from the finest mace to the dirtiest junk. And you’ve still got complete, unadulterated freedom to improve your skills in a wide variety of categories like one- and two-handed melee combat, archery, sneaking, shield blocking, multiple schools of magic, alchemy, and armor. The list goes on. Skyrim lets you dabble in all of these disciplines or focus on just a few, so you can organically create a full-on rogue who stabs people in the back, or an exceptionally powerful mage, or a guy who demolishes everything with a simple sword and shield. About halfway through, I transitioned from a combo of melee and destruction magic to one-handed melee and a shield since that fit my style better. You’re never really locked into any of these choices, with the exception of the perks you pick, so you can change it up at any time.
For me this game is like a mixture of an RPG and A Prehistoric version of GTA. You have the power to do whatever you want and whatever you do changes the way people look at you. If you a evil then people will fear you and if your a good guy then you’ll b loved by all.
An awesome menu layout and a story mode that never seems to end but it still has a few bugs and stability issues.
Beautifully built enviroment and the stunning details make this game fun to play and the player will almost never get bored of it. To explore and uncover secrets. But a some characters and animations might look a little weird and unnatural
The soundtrack and sound designs of the game help gamers feel as if they are in a Skyrim and that it is a real place.
Though the up-close weapon combat is still awkward, customizing your character and conquering all Skyrim’s challenges is consistently satisfying.
10 Lasting Appeal
The almost never ending content of places to explore and the size of Skyrim are the reasons that keeps pulling back players to this game.
One of the best games i have ever seen. The graphics make this game alot more enjoyable and the never ending story-line keeps players entertained for many hours. The rating i have given it is rightfully deserved by the game.