Bethesda blew the world away when they released Oblivion in 2006. It changed action RPG’s forever, becoming the template for other games including their very own Fallout series. After five years, the wait is finally over. Skyrim is here, and it’s ready to ruin every relationship you have.
Please note that everything in the game can not be featured in this review. The game is just too big to put into words. As of now, here are my stats:
Quests completed: 7 main quests, two guilds fully completed, and 10 miscellaneous quests completed.
People killed: 141
Total time played: 24 hours
Like almost every other Bethesda game, Skyrim starts the player off with a character of a unknown past. While given the chance to change almost everything about the physical appearance of your character, players know nothing about him (or her). The character begins tied up and heading to execution, despite apparently doing nothing wrong. As his (or her) head is about pop off, a dragon appears, and it looks pissed. The character narrowly escapes, and the player chooses what side he (or she) will be on for the main story. When the player walks out of the tunnel, the view is gorgeous. Mountains stretch out across the horizon, water falls are everywhere, and an abundance of rabbits seems to be taking over Skyrim for some reason. The character walks down the path, not knowing that he (or she) has become one of the most important people to ever step foot in Skyrim.
The world has the Elder Scrolls feel to it, but take note that it shouldn’t even be compared to Oblivion, seeing as nearly everything has been improved in a big way. Gameplay is still somewhat the same as Oblivion. Experience points and classes, however, are pretty much gone. The new system that replaces it is a thing of glory. Leveling up skills, such as Sneaking, Restoration, and One-Handed weapons, increases overall level. With each new level, the player is given a perk to put into one of those skills. It’s a way of rewarding players for literally everything they do. It’s a lot more satisfying. Getting experience points for turning in a quest always felt a little weird to me, so this system is made exactly for people like myself.
Dragons. Dragons are a key component of Skyrim, also making it one of the best. By learning new words in the language of Dragons, players gain Dragon Shouts. A Dragon Shout is a a spell, basically, that is on a recharge. By taking down dragons, characters gather their soul and use them to unlock the Shout that the dragon was protecting. These Shouts range from changing the weather, increasing speed, or solving puzzles in dungeons. They are completely separate from magic and offer a way to fight when Magicka is low.
The game offers companions, just like in the Fallout series. The companions range from war dogs, horses, to guild members with ass-kicking swords. As nice as it is to have some company on the treck across Skyrim, they are pretty much useless. The AI is probably the weakest part of the game. They get stuck in corners, stand there when a giant is smacking them, not allowing me to move, etc. They just aren’t that smart. They do, however, rock when given the right moment. Thanks, Lydia.
The other AI in the game suffer from some of the same issues. They have some weird animations at times, seeming really choppy. The main character, however, has amazing animations. The newly fixed third-person view is a thing of beauty. The only problem I found with that is that it still looks weird when climbing a mountain, but nothing serious.
A new menu system has also be set in place. It’s a lot easier to scroll to things. It even offers a new favorite category, making it easy to select a favorite spell in the heat of battle. While some players are voicing concerns with the menu system on the PC, the console version works wonders. However, it would be nice to see what the character looks like from the menu when you change your outfit.
The graphics blow my mind away. One of the biggest complants I had about Oblivion is how ugly it was. Skyrim is just incredible. It really pulls you in, making it feel so real. With towering mammoths walking through the fields to the waterfalls high in the mountains, it’s a place of beauty. I think I found my heaven.
The audio in Skyrim is also outstanding. From the weather effects, voice acting, and more, the soundtrack to Skyrim is just amazing. Considering the amount of dialogue that goes into a game of this magnatude, it’s just amazing how well it all sounds. The music in the game is also top notch. Never before has meeting a troll so terrifiying. Usually we are buddies.
This game will literally take you forever to beat. Random side-quests, having nothing to do with the guilds or main storyline, can literally last up to two hours. That's going through countless enemies, searching dozens of objects, and finding interesting pieces of lore about Skyrim. With the main game taking up to 300 hours on one character, multiple races and endings, add in the DLC that has been promised to come, then Skyrim is a game that will always offer something new for the rest of a gamer's life.
Bethseda has made one of the greatest games this generation. Companies everywhere should accomplish what they did, to take risks, and to give it their all. I have never been truly amazed at a game until Skyrim came around. From the dragons to the sword fights, it’s just incredible how real it feels and how much Skyrim has to offer.
Despite its very few issues, the work that was put in this game is just wow. Everyone needs to play this game.
Lasting Appeal: 10
Reviewed on the Xbox 360 version.