Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is my favorite game to come out in 2011. I am going to go as far as to say it is the game of the year and one of the best Role Playing Games (RPGs) of all time.

Bethesda Game Studios out did themselves with Skyrim, listening to what their fans wanted, fixing the combat and many many more things that I could spend hours talking about. Bethesda has created a game that is as complex as they come and has a story that will compel players to play the more than 100 hours long game to the end. I entered into The Elder Scrolls franchise at Elder Scrolls III: Morowind, and it has come along way since then.

What makes Skyrim so different and enjoyable from its predecessors is you no longer have to make important character decisions at the beginning of the game. Skyrim allows you to experience the world it offers first and then decided what skills you want to focus on. Those decisions would have been made at the beginning of the previous games and could prove to be detrimental later on the game if you made a wrong decision. It is an aspect that lets new players get the feel of a game that massive, and at sometimes overwhelming, and build their character and not be punished for lack of knowledge. This handicap is very beneficial because there are many important decisions you'll have to make over the course of the game and this allows you to not make most of them all at once.

For people who are familiar with the franchise it is just a different way of accomplishing the same task, character building. I like this new way of leveling better because it has actually inspired many ideas of how I want to play other characters that I make in different savings.

The coolest addition to this game are the dragons. At the request of the fans Bethesda looked into adding dragons in the Elder Scrolls universe and the addition is amazing. Every time a dragon flies around you as it is about to attack you is wonderful treat and never gets old. Having dragons adds to the difficulty of the game, having the ability to show up at anytime is something really cool and really makes each players experience very much individualized. I have found that they get in the way of current quest that you are on and tack on a difficulty that is enjoyable and not annoying.

With the addition of dragons came dragon shouts. Shouts are abilities you can acquire throughout  the game by finding words that are carved on walls and scattered throughout Skyrim. To use the words you've found and unlock shouts you have to obtain dragon souls which are gained by killing dragons. It's something that will have you roaming Skyrim for dragons and words so you can unlock abilities like breathing fire. With dozens of shouts to be sought after, it will add to you gameplay hours that will already be breaching the stratosphere.

Combat in Skyrim is much improved. You no longer feel like your slicing through air and when you hit an enemies shield your weapon bounces off and feels pretty real. The detail to you weapons and your spells also look amazing. Each weapon is just as beautiful to look at as the last and when used get blood on them. Being able to duel wield weapons and spells is also a great addition to this game and gives the player a plethora of options when customizing their weapon layout.

The last thing that I find so great about this game is dynamic quest. I stole some items from some persons house and later down the road while on a quest I was attacked. I killed the men and looted them and found a letter from someone who requested me roughed up because I stole from them. This may be something little, but it is something that is very unique because every little decision can affect how you game unfolds and how you experience it. You decide to kill a traveler, that can affect quests and conversations down the road. It makes you think twice about how you play.

Skyrim has one of the most expansive story lines out of any game I've ever played. Not only does the game give information from the main story line and side quest, but most books in Skyrim hold information about past games and offer knowledge about what's happening in the present game. Personally I've only spent 4 hours on the main story line, the other 70 hours have been spent exploring Skyrim and its side quest...if that gives you any idea about how massive this game is. There is so much to learn and experience in Skyrim that it really feels like its own world. It is the first game in a long time that has had me thinking about what I am going to do in the game outside of the game. Even when you are not immersed in the world in the back of your mind you'll be thinking Skyrim.

The only thing I don't like about this game is how finishing kills look. Bethesda made the popular game Fallout 3 and the finishing in Skyrim are exactly like Fallouts. Both games are great on their own, but having this cross of executions between franchise is kind of a turn off. I would have liked to seen a difference since they both look, sound and use the same slow-motion effect.

Final Verdict:

To summarize this game in three words...Buy this game. It is more than worth the $60 with the amount of content that it has and that will be added through downloadable content. This game is a prime example of what a excellent RPG should be and will have you playing for months...literally.



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