The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Review]

  • Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed),PS3, PC
  • Published by: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developed by: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Genre: Role Playing Game
  • ESRB Rating: M For Mature
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Release Date: November 11th, 2011

As we start a new year, full of hopes, dreams and expectations for what lay ahead in the world of gaming I finally finished up one of the most talked about games of last year, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Admittedly I was unsure what to expect from the game, although I hadn’t really read any other reviews, I had heard of some issues on the PS3 and I wanted to make sure to get the most from my play through, so this is a review based strictly off the Xbox 360 version. I honestly don’t see how so many reviews were made from this game so soon after its release. It’s true a lot of reviewers get a review copy in advance of the retail release, but it’s usually only a few days to a week in advance. I didn’t want to rush my review, so I took my time and played through the game like a normal gamer and then decided to write this review. I feel like I’m in the best position to review the game after spending 115 hours on the game.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t played the other Elder Scrolls games very much, I played Oblivion a little bit, but I didn’t actually like the game and because of that I wasn’t sure how I’d receive the latest installment. Having not played much of the series before could either hamper or help this review, I tend to think it helps because I can look at the game from the freshest point of view and just tell it how I see it. I also can say that you needn’t have played any of the other Elder Scrolls games to enjoy this game to its fullest.

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The first thing I’ll talk about are the graphics, which are stellar in every single way. I was amazed at how fluid and wonderful this magical world of Skyrim actually looked. The textures and environments were all far above expectations and it was really amazing when I learned that Skyrim was on a single disk, didn’t require a mandatory install and if you did choose to install the game, it only took up around 5 gigs of space. I asked myself why couldn’t other developers achieve such a feat? It seems that smaller games are now coming on multiple disks and it’s not really needed. I am actually starting to think it’s laziness on the part of some developers.

Skyrim is by far one of the largest open world games I’ve ever played, the attention to detail was amazing. The story itself puts you as a person about to get beheaded, then your captors are attacked by a Dragon. Later on you find out that you are actually a Dragonborn, a person who can defeat dragons and take their souls into their own body. You can use the dragon souls you acquire to add different shouts to your inventory. The main quest sees you try to find an Elder Scroll that will allow you to defeat a Dragon that has come back to life, and is now bringing other long since dead dragons back with him. The main quest is intense and pretty long by itself, but when you get involved in the game you quickly find yourself doing any and every side quest you possibly can. Sometimes I’d spend days just doing simple side quests so I could level up and remove some of the quests from my log. It seemed liked no sooner did I finish a quest did a new one pop up. The variety of quests was also something I really enjoyed, one quest would have you trying to retrieve some tree sap and the next would have you fighting a werewolf.

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As far as classes go, there weren’t really classes. I was more of a warrior but I also could use magic, I preferred two-handed weapons, but I also had a nice bow. I like that you are not limited in what you can do or use. You don’t see a lot of RPG’s offer such a wide array of options and variety. The leveling system is wonderfully done as well, you can mine, cook and cut wood. You craft weapons, armor and even jewelry, you level up your smithing skills by doing these things, and you can level up pretty much anything in the game, magic, stamina, two-handed attacks, archery, armor skill. It plays a lot like an MMORPG, but without the online aspect. Which got me to thinking about how successful a Elder Scrolls MMO would be on home consoles. I’d love to have done some quests with friends over Xbox Live.

A lot of people asked me if I ever ran into any glitches and I can honestly say I never had any issues. I saved my game a total of 124 times and never had any load issues, texture issue or any problems whatsoever. The controls were very easy to master and the little kill animations were a fantastic touch that you usually don’t see in this type of RPG. The mass varieties in weapons are also something that was a nice little touch, everything from orc, elvish, dwarf and human weapons and armor are available throughout the game. There are a ton of different factions to join throughout the game, Imperials, Stormcloaks, Dark Brotherhood,Thieves Guild and Companions, each has their own group of quests for you to complete. There is even the option of turning into a werewolf or a vampire if you so choose to. The werewolf is nice, but the vampire is something I wouldn’t recommend.

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The music and score are perfect and the voice acting is above average, but not the best I’ve ever heard in a game. You can actually get people in the game to follow and help you during your quests, and you can actually make them carry some of your swag, which comes in handy because you cannot fast travel or run when you have too much weight, so make your companion do it for you! The only thing I’d warn about while doing this is that I wouldn’t put anything really expensive on them, because your companions tend to die a lot, sometimes you will just go out and explore and your companion will fall far behind you, but sometimes they not only fall far behind, but they encounter enemies they can’t defeat, die and lose the stuff you gave them. You can actually recover it if you know where they died, but it’s difficult to find them if the scenario I described comes about.

There were times when I’d be at my regular job and I’d be thinking about quests I needed to complete in Skyrim, I’d stay up late playing through the game and think about it while at work or whatever I was doing. It’s been a long time since a game took my complete attention this way. In fact at the same time 3 people who live in my house were playing through Skyrim themselves at the same time. Needless to say I’ve heard a lot about arrows being in knees…..I’ve also heard “Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll” more times than I’d like to count. I have played a ton of fantastic games in 2011, but none of them were quite as good or as encompassing as Skyrim was. The Elder Scrolls V is definitely my choice for Game Of The Year, You can get lost in a magical world and just have fun, which is what games are all about. If for some reason you can’t play through this game, then you are truly missing out on one of the best games of all time.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

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One Response to “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Review]”

  1. this game steals lives. rumor has it they may expand skyrim to oblivion and marrowind as DLC… kinda excited

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