Bethesda creates vast gorgeous worlds and weaves a brilliant atmosphere in almost all their games. It has one flaw though: they are terrible at writing stories! I strongly think they need a better writing team so games like Skyrim don't suffer from Bethesda Writing Syndrome.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the big, bold, and beautiful sequel you hoped for and is sure to bewitch you for countless hours.
- Immense world stuffed with varied tasks to perform
- Dragon battles are a blast
- Lovely art design capped by some beautiful, atmospheric touches
- Enjoyable battles that you can approach in a variety of ways
- Lots of compelling, self-contained stories to experience in addition to the main one.
- Glitches and bugs frequently disrupt the immersion
- Friendly AI is often more of a hindrance than a help.
The province of Skyrim might be frigid, but the role-playing game that takes place within it burns with a fire few games possess. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you take up arms against dragons, and your encounters with them are invariably exciting--yet depending on where your adventure takes you, such battles may not even represent the pinnacle of your experience. A side quest that starts as a momentary distraction may turn into a full-fledged tale that could form the entirety of a less ambitious game. Yes, Skyrim is another enormous fantasy RPG from a developer that specializes in them, and it could suck up hundreds of hours of your time as you inspect each nook and crevasse for the secrets to be found within. If you know Bethesda Softworks' previous games, you might be unsurprised that Skyrim is not a land without blemish, but rather harbors any number of technical glitches and frustrating idiosyncrasies that tear open the icy veil that blankets the land. Many of them are ones Elder Scrolls fans will probably see coming, but they're ultimately a low price to pay for the wonders of a game this sprawling and enthralling. Prepare for many sleepless nights to come.
Those nights traversing these lands are ones well spent. The game returns you to the continent of Tamriel, where you explore the northern realm called Skyrim, home to the Nord race. In these northern regions, snow flurries cloud your view, and platforms of ice float on the chilled waters. Nighttime often brings Tamriel's version of the aurora borealis, with its gorgeous blue and green ribbons stretching across the heavens. Skyrim's predecessor, Oblivion, featured prototypical fantasy environments--pretty but not quite evocative of the lore's darker undercurrents. Skyrim embraces its darker elements. You might feel an eerie chill as you glimpse a half-sunken ship through the mist, or watch as a dragon comes to life before your very eyes under the swirling firmament. Skyrim's atmospheric tone harks back to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, only the hazy dust storms of the earlier game have been replaced by glimmering snowfall and opaque fog.
These lovely vistas are best seen from a distance. Closer inspection reveals hard edges, plain painted-on textures, and other visual flaws that are conspicuous should you seek them out. But like many enormous games, Skyrim makes a fantastic impression not because its individual elements are sharply honed, but because they contribute to a grander whole. There's so much to do that your quest log becomes an embarrassment of pleasures, offering dozens of choices at any given time, each one as enticing as the next. You could follow the story, of course, which weaves a compelling tale that casts you as a dragonborn; that is, the soul of a dragon emanates from within you. As such, you are the key to discovering why dragons have returned to the land, terrorizing cities and potentially ending the known world. The tale has you facing dragons, of course, but also crashing fancy dress parties and scouring sewers in search of a key figure long assumed dead. It's a well-crafted tale that makes good use of those fearsome flying creatures that horrify the masses with roaring gusts of fire and ice.
Even when you aren't pursuing story quests, though, the core narrative dogs you as you trot across the land on foot or on horseback. You might travel to a quaint hamlet only to discover that it's under siege by a hovering beast. The townspeople join you, aiming their arrows and fireballs upward, and not all of them may survive the encounter. These battles impress upon you the terror in which the populace lives, and thus give you a reason to be a hero to them. But plenty of narrative delights have nothing to do with dragons, and some of them could have formed the main story of a lesser RPG. Following an early lead takes you to a lonely house occupied by a single child with a disturbing request. The story that unravels has you acting as a predator and eavesdropping from an unimaginably sinister hiding place. Other story threads embrace the element of choice. You can take sides in the ongoing conflict between Imperial forces and the rebellious Stormcloaks, and then assault enemy camps and rescue prisoners jailed by the enemy. And in one memorable if minor quest line, you can kill a creepy cannibal--or join her and her cohorts at the table.
It's impressive enough that there's so much to do; it's even more impressive that most of it is wonderful. Not every dungeon is a joy to explore. Stone-turning puzzles occasionally bring the fun to a halt, and a few repeated cave designs could dampen your spirits. But overall, every task has an excellent sense of context, and surprises lurk around many a turn. Searching for a lost dog turns into a grander quest than you could have guessed--and witty writing and voice acting shine some light into this somber world. Even a simple "go there, kill that" bounty can be a thrill. After all, how often do you face a towering giant and a couple of woolly mammoths? It's too bad that as you approach the giant's camp, one of those mammoths might spawn 100 feet in the air and fall to its death, or land on another mammoth and ride on its back for a few seconds before sliding off.
So maybe not every surprise is a welcome one. But most are, and the element of the unexpected is what lures you to explore as much as you can. The reward could be a great weapon hidden in a locked chest, a gorgeous vista to ogle, or a book of lore that enhances one of your attributes. Or perhaps you'll discover words written in the dragons' tongue--an important discovery indeed. Finding those words is key to using Skyrim's most powerful spells, known as shouts. Well, they are half the key anyway: you also must defeat dragons and absorb their souls to activate those shouts. Shouts have their own cooldown timer and aren't tied to the magicka bar that governs standard spellcasting. With one shout, you can breathe fire on your attackers. With another, you can slow down time. Shouts hardly guarantee success in a difficult battle, but they can tip the scales in your favor. Besides, the dramatic visual and sound effects of both the discovery of words and the absorption of a dragon soul are a lovely bonus.
As for standard spells, they come in the usual schools of magicka: destruction (zap skeletons with sparks!), conjuration (summon a giant frost atronach!), alteration (light the way ahead!), and so on. You can even dual-wield spells, going full-on mage, with a glowing ball of fire in one hand and a summon at the ready in the other. For that matter, you can dual-wield one-handed weapons, giving you more flexibility in how you form your character. When you create your character, you choose a race from the usual Elder Scrolls standbys (Dark Elf, Breton, Argonian, and so forth), but you don't choose a class. Rather, your skill level with certain types of weapons, magicka schools, speech, and so on is governed primarily by how you play. Wear heavy armor, and taking blows gradually increases your heavy armor proficiency. Swing two-handed weapons, and you get better at using them.
I find the UI to be complicated..Instead of the normal WASD to move they just use the WS and you must use the mouse to look/go left/right..For me that makes it hard to fight using the mouse also..Also the inventory interface is very slow, clunky and glitchy..PSO in 1999 had a much better interface and had far better graphics..Also this game has done zero to take away any of my interest in WoW...I even found Morrowind to be easier to navigate and do things..
It didnt have anywhere near the same impact that Oblivion had on me. However, at the same time it is better in every way.
Overall though, I was quite disappointed with it. I couldnt really get into Skyrim because I found the story pretty boring, or at least not very engaging, there are no characters that offer anything memorable. Many skills felt like a pointless grind and cities felt deader than dead. I liked Whiterun the best, but even that one was quite shallow. I dont know, it just didnt seem up to par with my expectations for a game in this day and age. I think something like RDR had what was missing in Skyrim, but even so, it was still far from perfect. Also the graphics are pretty poor (I know, I know, gameplay > graphics..).
I think the biggest downer was the dead feel of the cities/towns and the NPCs/characters, if these were better I think that I could have loved the game I only liked.
@Goddammitj Thats why you get a PC and get the HD DLC that came out for it, it basically makes it look like a next gen game. Also the cities are WAY more lively then Oblivion was, the way everyone converses with each other, the bards singing their songs, the market huts hollering at customers to come their way. I mean what more do you want? Do you just want it to be real life because, I mean thats what its gonna come to. I think your expectations are unrealistically high. The environments are THOUSANDS of times more alive then RDR, get real dude.
Agreed mabisking, the map design is appalling...
Not only do I get lost all the time, but the textures are awful. I took some time off from my quest to examine some tree textures and they were the exact same texture for every single tree! The texture didn't even look that good. I should know, I was outside just last week. (Not to mention it is more bright than I remembered outside, I blame global warming. Ha, that was a joke, global warming is a myth. Just like the Holocaust and 9/11. I mean, it's obvious Bush did it!) Can you believe this game's never ending. It's just like Obama's receding hairline and Chris Brown's hatred for women. By the way, I was really disappointed that I couldn't kill children. Iv'e been hating them since that Beiber kid came about. #americahatesbeiber #cutforbeiber Has anyone even noticed that when you carry too many items you walk like a constipated Larry King. Oh, Dragons. They come when you least expected, there is nothing to do to get around them, and they kill you. Just like AIDS. Or Cubans.
Good game problem is in the map design. For one you jump over rocks like you some kind of super human there should be more stairs overall this is hard to avoid I know. This game was supposed to be set in an ice age woolly mammoths and such so that's ok. Im at level 8 it hardly seems to easy? I go up against an ice wrath shoot fire at it and damage it like 2%. There is more to it I know spells and such. Besides that the game lacks intensity and times just walking non stop in a snow storm that's what the game is in a nutshell. When you do find a town there will be problems like a lost ring in dawnstar that you need to go fetch. The elder scrolls game are to chaotic and random which at times can be rewarding but none the less offer less incentive to do anything in the game. For instance some side quest offer very little and are very time consuming when in fact if you just skipped them and stick to main quest you would obtain the same or better items faster. Being that this is a mysterious fantasy land a giant hawk would have been nice to fly around and travel with.
i used to play Skyrim back when it was out...then i took an arrow...i mean, now i digged the game again with plenty of mods (more than 50 with nexus manager and wrye bash), and it is without a doubt, the most addicting rpg ever imho. In my first run, i thought it was much better than oblivion but with so many damn bugs and glitches, it was still very playable with plenty of epic battles. I still remember my first encounter with a Dragon or the creepy draugr deathlords, . Right now, with 1.8 patch, dawnguard, new hd textures, skins, monsters, and lots of mods from the community, the game came alive again.
This is one of my favorite games. Oblivion I loved it!
I played oblivion and at first liked it a lot, then after about 10-15 hrs I got extremely bored of it out of nowhere. It's hard to explain, but it felt very repetetive. I also felt there was no big rewards for exploring the landscape so I ended up fast traveling everywere just to complete quests... I normally love RPGs. I liked Dragonage, loved baldurs gate and neverwinter nights series. I like most final fantasy games. With the above mentioned, should I get this game? Is it any different than Oblivion?
It's a great game but way too easy. There are 5 difficulty settings and on master (=the hardest) the game still is very easy. At the beginning you sometimes die because you're not yet familiar with the game, later on it takes a really moronic mistake from you to die and that even only vs the strongest opponents. It doesn't matter if you play a melee or caster character. One can even defeat the strongest opponents as a melee character using only spells or vice versa. That kinda says it all.
This well written review is one of the reasons I gave this game a shot, and the series. Given the fact that I've played for well over 100 hours; I'm not disappointed. Never before have I played a game like this.
I love Skyrim. Plain and simple. Over the last week I have done nothing else on Steam, it say I've played 83 hours and I just finished the Elder Knowledge quest. Yes I did do other things but still. It's an amazing masterpiece except for one...flaw. The menus are so mind-numbingly boring that it makes you never want to change your equipment. Oh yeah, and I don't know why but it took all day for Skyrim to be playable after it installed. If I tried to play it owned my pc.
@yogsotothery I agree completely. Oblivion was much better, you started with only old weapons and armour. In this game you once you leave the tutorial/opening scene, you have more money than you should have got, really good weapons and a large selection of armour. Too easy. I loved Morrowind, you felt like an outcast, you started with an Iron Dagger, 84 Gold and your prisoner clothes. Only thing is that Morrowind had a crappy combat system that took away the fun so Oblivion stands as my favourite.
This game gets boring for me after about 20-30 hours in the game. My first character lasted me 82.49 hours. He is now deleted and I make a new character just out of boredom. Then my new characters last me only about 20-30 hours. No matter how hard I try I always end up playing as a stealth character. Once Stealth reaches 100 the enemies don't stand a chance of seeing you sometimes even if you're walking right in front of them. Not enough variety either. The quest all go like this. 'Go to this quest marker, pick up/kill/interact with whatever is at that Quest Marker. Move to next quest marker..' Usually it has a good story to it but the even I have to admit that the Thieves Guild quest line was better than the Main Story. all the missions are pretty much the same. They needed more variety. But other than it it's a good game :P
@yogsotothery: yep, sounds exactly like my own dragon battles, but then I'm glad the dragons are more interested in spewing flames at cows while I fill them with arrows because I'm sure they appear nearly every time I fast travel somewhere. If the fights were difficult, you could add '50 hours spent killing dragons'.
@gls5000 What about the "Dragon battles are a blast" part? Its a second sentence in review, and made me throw up. Dragon battles are more stupid and easier than skeever battles. Most of my dragon battles were like this: Dragon is really mad with some cow on the farm, and while he vomits the frost all over it, i am filling him with arrows, then he dies. Really, after some time i literary couldnt stand sight of them, not because they are struggle to beat, but because they are piling their skeletons all over the place. Every damn 50 meters a dragon corpse. Ruins the immersion a bit.
Love the game but I stopped reading the review at "Skyrim's interface is a wonder". At least for PC, it is a horrible interface and a child could have designed one that is easier to use. By trying to put a positive spin on that, this review lost all credibility for me.
Way too much snow; somebody please make a mod that reduces snowy areas by 33.3% or something... I miss areas with heavy foliage, although I guess those kinds of places slow down frame rates and cause lag because of so much detail needed for all the flowers, leaves, branches, trees, etc... I wish the map showed roads; maybe there is a mod for this; I haven't looked through all ther mods available yet. Lots of fun, great immersion, enjoying the game. Thanks
Congrats to designers and composers, they have done a great job. But the rest of it is very disappointing. After 200 hours you will realize that you spent at least 50 searching through inventory and awkward menus, and 150 on battling ridiculous AI, various glitches and bugs, and listening to really dull dialogues. Dont develop smithing skill early, because with that you can make your self nearly invincible very early in the game, and yes, it will kill your desire to search for items, cause the best items in the game are crafted by you. Very overrated this one. IMO, Oblivion was a much better game. Whats the point in making such a vast world, and leaving you no motivation to roam through it?
@yogsotothery I agree the UI sucks and the inventory menus are easier in just about every other game..And when the inventory space is open the cursor is very slow and glitchy to move..Having to use both keyboard and mouse to move is also very confusing "W" "S" to move forward or backwards and the mouse for right and left..
Looks very cool I cant wait to get it and see for my self should be at lest a lil bit or alot better then Oblivion :3
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@nigoola and WoW at 9 years has 9.6 million subscriptions with a peak of 12 million...This game "skyrim" is so glitchy and the UI is very complicated and clunky that I would never pay to play this game (I barely play it now)..
- Player Reviews: 495
- Game Universe:
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (XBOX, PC),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC, X360, MOBILE, PS3, PSP),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Knights of the Nine (PC, X360),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles (PC, X360, PS3),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Game of the Year Edition (X360, PC, PS3),
- BioShock & The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Bundle (PC, X360),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Mehrunes' Razor (PC, X360),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - The Fighter's Stronghold (PC, X360),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - The Orrery (PC, X360),
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - The Vile Lair (PC, X360)