Friday, January 13, 2012
Product Review: Skyrim.
If you're a gamer of any sort, you probably don't need me to tell you that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an excellent game. You've, hopefully already bought it and are playing it right now. Here's my brief review of the game.
The game is set in the fictional world of Tamriel, in the land of Skyrm. You start off, like previous games in the Elder Scrolls series, as a prisoner. You've been caught, for whatever reason, attempting to cross the border from Cyrodiil into Skyrim with some persons of interest. You get caught up in the civil war that's going on in Skyrim between the Empire and the Stormcloaks, are are attempting to gain independence for Skyrim from the Imperials. In the process of your execution, shit hits the fan as it's discovered that dragons have returned and are attacking.
Shortly after, you discover that you are Dovahkiin, translated from the dragon language as Dragon Born. You're tasked with finding out why the dragons have returned after all this time and stopping them. There are a multitude of other story lines that involve the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves Guild, the Companions and many others if you choose to take part in them.
You have a lot of options with your play style in Oblivion. The three main "types" of character are Thief, Mage and Warror. Skyrim gives you the freedom to mix and match all the skills and traits of these to make your own custom style. Any one-handed weapon or spell can be assigned to either hand and mixed with anything else one-handed. You could, for example, have a dagger in one hand and a spell in another. You could have a spell and shield, a dagger and one-handed axe, a one-handed sword and a spell or any other combination. There are also large two-handed weapons and magic staves.
Combat is fun, regardless of how you approach it. Whether you're sneaking around and stabbing things in the back, throwing spells (which look great, by the way) or beating on things with a giant axe you'll be enjoying yourself. The different combat styles add to the games replayability, as if it needed any help in that department.
Skyrims sound design is great, from the atmospheric sounds to the beautiful music. Skyrim, like the previous game in the series, Oblivion, is fully voiced. Thankfully, unlike with Oblivion, Skyrim has a larger variety of voice actors filling different roles. This means the voices won't change suddenly between lines. The music was done by the same guy who did the music in Oblivion, so if you've played that you have some idea. Everything is high quality and fits the moods and scenes perfectly.
This game is absolutely enormous. I would expect a minimum of 80 hours for your first character. If you spend that long, I can almost guarantee you'll play at least one more character. You'll spend so much time doing and getting quests that you'll start to wonder if it ever actually ends. Even after the quest line that makes up the main story is done, you're free to continue in the world completing other quests and other quest lines. This is not a game you will be "finishing" any time soon.
I'd also like to add that if you have the PC version, the replayability is easily 10x or more than the console versions. Check out Skyrim Nexus for a list of currently available mods, all completely free. If you have a knack for this sort of thing, you could even make your own.
Skyrim is my Game of The Year for 2011 and I would highly suggest you try it, especially the PC version if you have a system that can run it. There's not enough good things I can say about the game, if you enjoy the Elder Scrolls series or just open ended RPGs in general, you must check this game out.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Amazon