The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review
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Quite possibly the best open-world RPG of this generation, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an enormous and addictive game that is breathtaking in presentation and scale.
- Enormous and gorgeous open-world
- Fighting dragons is truly exciting
- A practically endless experience
- Occasional yet laughable graphical glitches
- Overused character models and comments detract immersion
- Dungeons grow a bit repetitive
It was after clearing some buried Dwarven ruins deep in the mountains of Skyrim that I finally felt ready to start hunting dragons instead of letting them hunt me. I had spent about an hour hacking away at Daedra and skeletons, and hurling flames at frostbite spiders before slowly proceeding to the dungeon’s boss. Along the way I narrowly escaped traps, navigated through elaborate puzzles, and collected treasures from chests secured behind locked doors. The boss, some fearsome wizard, was far more difficult than I had anticipated, so I quickly switched between my frost-enchanted axe to a staff that shot sparks, and thus slowly eliminated the caster’s Magicka. Pinned against a wall and low on health, I had no other option than to let out a bellowing Shout—afforded to only those in Skyrim who train in the way of the dragon—and it toppled the wizard far enough away so I could heal before switching back to my axe to finish the boss with one final power attack. Adrenaline pumping, and newly acquired loot equipped, I left the ruins ready to go hunt dragons. I didn’t need to look far for as soon as I returned to the surface world, my controller violently vibrated, I heard a not-so-distant roar, and moments later a dragon circled above hungry for my Nord blood.
Two things are abundantly clear after playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. First, it’s absolutely amazing how easy it is to overlook technical and graphical bugs in such an enormous open-world RPG game. Considering I logged more time into the game than most people do a typical work week, I was impressed not to find one glitch that broke the game. There were, however, several minor Bethesda-style glitches, like floating horses or citizens inadvertently interrupting conversations, which made me laugh. But more importantly, Skyrim is, without any trepidation, one of the finest games ever, and it now holds a spot on my desert-island list.
It’s not only the thrill of fighting dragons, or the desire to learn more about your fate as Dragonborn, it’s simply the obsession that comes from the world of Skyrim and being more than just the hero of a game; you are citizen of the land and how you live in it is entirely in your hands. Do you want a noble path as a trusted warrior with the Imperial army, or do you want to take sides with the rebellion? Do you want to earn your coin by hunting for treasures, working some back-breaking job, or choosing a life as a thief by picking pockets and robbing shop keepers?
Hitting every aspect in a game as massive as Skyrim is impossible for a review. With that in mind I’ll be completely candid and simply state that I spent more than 50 hours in the game (yup, a lot of sleepless nights over the past two weeks), cleared countless dungeons and killed 20+ dragons, joined two guilds (even ruled one), owned a horse and house, did plenty of side quests, and completed the main quest. I did not, however, spend a lot of time doing random jobs, I did not max out my levels, and I did not explore every inch of the land.
Dragons, destiny, and a civil war
The land of Skyrim is engrossed in a civil war following the assassination of the king. The region is fragmented into two factions, those that want Skyrim to secede from the Empire, and those that do not. Of course, as is the case in the real world, most of the citizens in Skyrim are torn and not sure who to support. But, the loudest and strongest figures vie for control and manipulation, and players can choose to take sides, or stay out of the conflict to the best of their ability. Regardless, the war is in your face throughout the game, and it help shapes nearly all of your actions.
You play a pivotal role in the war simply because of your destiny as Dragonborn, ... (continued on next page)