The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review (PC)

HonestDragon | 1001d ago | User review
Reviewing: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011 in Gaming - A Look Back at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
There comes a time in gaming when you find certain games that you are just addicted to. A game that you cannot stop thinking about. A game that you rush home from work or school to play. A game that you feel gives you so much to do in such a glorious way. That is how I feel when it comes to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Now, my only experience with this franchise is this game and Oblivion. So basically number four and five in the series. The first game, The Elder Scrolls Arena, came out in 1994. Following suit was The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfell and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I eventually got to play Oblivion on the Xbox 360, but only so much. Nevertheless, I was really interested in going back to play through it.

Then I managed to get Skyrim for the PC. I was hearing all sorts of things about this game. A lot of it good, some of it bad, but ultimately it was something that I really wanted to check out. Let me say that I was blown away by the sheer amount of content and attention that Bethesda gave to Skyrim. I literally felt like I was exploring a whole new world. I got incredibly immersed in the world of Tamriel.

Something everyone should know about me is that I have a few weaknesses when it comes to video games. I'm a sucker for open world, role-playing, and hack-and-slash elements in video games. If this is done well, then I'm sold. Skyrim gave me that open world, role-playing experience that I absolutely love.

The graphics of Skyrim are so incredibly well done. Transitions of weather when going from a mountain to an open field can be clearly seen and heard. Animals and enemy types have great detail put into them. I know some people think that the human residents look ugly and dirty, but if you really think about it that's how medieval times was. There are quite a few good looking characters in there. It's definitely more defined here than in Oblivion. Even character creation offers new things for you to check out and combine.

Plus, the environments themselves are great to course through. If you really pay attention or just want to explore, you will see the detail in Skyrim. You can find bugs crawling around in forests, animals hunting other animals, hunters making their coin as they hunt animals, random NPCs that may be friendly or not, and even the Headless Horseman. I am not joking on that last one.

Exploration knows no bounds in Skyrim. You can go anywhere you want, whenever you want. You are not pressured into doing certain quests or even have time limits. There are no player restrictions of any kind in this game (like invisible walls).

In terms of sound, Skyrim in both nature and residential areas sound great and authentic. Dragons sound fearsome and feral. NPCs may sound like each other. I get the feeling that only a few people did the NPC voices, while there was a main cast for the other characters. Town guards will repeat some phrases, but the more you do the more varied those phrases get.

While exploring, you can also find books that detail vital points of history of Tamriel and Skyrim. You might also discover side quests from these books and stray away from the main story. I probably did three separate story arcs and a few dozen side quests before meeting with the Greybeards. Also, those same story arcs are awesome in their own right. When you go to a town or a well known location, you will overhear the locals expressing problems from the get go or you have to hear about that stuff from inn keepers and bartenders. As a result, you can be drawn into a whole new story that you initiate. The rewards for doing these story arcs are fantastic as well.

If you don't feel like going on foot, you have the fast travel option or being able to ride on horseback. REMEMBER: If you are greedy with using fast travel, there is a consequence of a possible dragon encounter to where you go next. Speaking of dragons, there is the plot which practically has the world's fate be in your hands.

You are the Dragonborn, a person who is born with the soul of a Dragon, but the body of a mortal. An ancient legend tells of the Dragonborn having a destiny to vanquish the all consuming rage of Alduin, the World Eater. As you progress through being a prisoner and character creation, you learn of Skyrim being in the midst of a civil war between the main power of government, the Imperial Legion, and the rebellious Stormcloaks. With a truce in existence between the Imperial Empire and Aldmeri Dominion, relations amongst the races are shaky at best. The land of Skyrim is in more turmoil than ever. It is up to the Dragonborn to venture out and do what must be done to reestablish order in their own way.

When you level up, you can spend points on Magicka, Stamina, and Health to gain ten more points for that particular branch. You also gain skills points you use to upgrade various combat and skill trees. Blacksmithing, one handed combat, two handed combat, blocking, lockpicking, and many other skill trees can be given points to further improve your character.

Also, depending on what race you choose the Dragonborn to be, you get inherent powers. These are natural abilities that the race has that you implement throughout the game. I started with an Argonian who has natural waterbreathing abilities, 50% resistance to disease, and the ability to recover health ten times faster for 60 seconds (which can be a big help when facing a tough enemy).

Dragon encounters can be random or scripted. As I mentioned above, if you are greedy with fast travel, then the consequence is that you have a high chance of running into a dragon. There are different types of dragons, which include Frost Dragons, Elder Dragons, and Blood Dragons to name a few. Dragons have their own shouts, but you can easily counter with your own, especially when find new words of power through ancient dragon text scrawled on walls throughout Skyrim. When you take a dragon soul, you can use them to unlock those words of power and change up your strategy.

Customization of your current fighting strategy is incredibly varied. You can dual wield one handed weapons together (like two swords or two maces), have a two handed weapon, have a sword and shield, a fire spell in one hand and an axe in the other, and so on. Combine the different types and abilities of weapons and you can be a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Plus, your Dragon Shouts can be a great asset depending on the enemy you're facing whether it's a bandit group or a giant.

With everything that is great about Skyrim, however, there are some drawbacks. Most notably, bugs and glitches. There will be times when you see a Dragon flying around, but suddenly do a spiral for no apparent reason. NPC interactions can lead to awkward, yet funny instances (like one who is drinking but continues talking while doing it). One time, I killed a Dragon and waited on the soul to be transferred to my character, but the Dragon didn't burn away. Also, dead Dragons may randomly drop out of the sky in front of or on top of you, but I have only seen this happen whenever an on screen Dragon death has occurred and I traveled to a location nearby through fast travel.

All in all, Skyrim is one gem of a game. I have dedicated countless hours into it and I'm personally glad I did. I loved learning about Tamriel, exploring Skyrim, interacting with the environment and NPCs, getting awesome armor sets, building my reputation as a hero, and fighting Dragons all the while! This is one of the best games I played from 2011. And I have five more profiles to go through so I can get the experience of other races in Skyrim and join the Stormcloaks and Dark Brotherhood. Stay tuned for the final review of 2011 in Gaming: Gears of War 3.
Ups
Open World to Explore with No Restrictions
Dragon Encounters are a Major Plus
Detailed Customization is Fantastic
Downs
Bugs/Glitches Might Catch You Off Guard
You Will Get Overwhelmed by Enemies at Times
Score
8.0
Graphics This score is only hampered due to the bugs and glitches, but I really do like the environments in Skyrim and the character looks.
10.0
Sound No overlapping here as I can hear everything crisp and clear.
9.0
Gameplay Skyrim is a lot of fun, but if you're not a first person melee player, then Skyrim is not for you.
9.0
Fun factor I had a lot of fun playing Skyrim. If you like role playing, open world stuff, then I highly recommend Skyrim. I look forward to seeing more things in the game through my other profiles.
0.0
Online
9.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Blastoise  +   1000d ago
I think a 9's pretty generous
#1 (Edited 1000d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
HonestDragon  +   1000d ago
Really? I don't think I'm ever generous when it comes to reviewing games. I tell it like it is from my experience with the game. Everyone has different experiences and preferences. If I enjoyed it, then yes the score will be high, especially when I break down the four or five categories. If I despised it, then the score will be low.

My numbering system is pretty much based on grading scores. 10 and 9 would be an A (excellent), 8 and 7 would be a B (great), 6 and 5 would be a C (average), 4 and 3 would be a D (bad), and 2 and 1 would be an F (terrible).

To say that I gave a "generous" score implies disagreement. What would you have scored it?
Blastoise  +   1000d ago
Yes believe it or not I understand how game scores work. You liked the game and that's fair enough, I respect your opinion. I'd personally give it about a 7
#1.1.1 (Edited 1000d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(5) | Report
-GametimeUK-  +   999d ago
A 9 sounds worthy to me. You say you know how game scores work, but I actually don't believe you do. I doubt you have the ability to look at the game from a critical perspective.

A feat like Skyrim should generally hit high 8's and low 9's, but of course the occasional higher end 9 is entirely understandable (even if I don't agree with it).
Blastoise  +   999d ago
First of all there's no need to be such a patronising douchebag. Second of all
"A feat like Skyrim should generally hit high 8's and low 9's, but of course the occasional higher end 9 is entirely understandable" that's completely opinion, which I happen to disagree with.
HarryMasonHerpderp  +   1000d ago
Morrowind was much much better for it's time in my opinion.
I think Skyrim's graphics are dated, the quests are repetitive, character models are reused too much and the world's kind of empty.
I mean there is a really cool swamp place with mist and a creepy atmosphere and I was expecting some cool stuff to be in there but it was just empty and boring.
Then there are the bugs and long loading times that just killed the game for me.
I don't get why people love it so much.
If you liked it though good for you.
It just wasn't for me I was expecting something a lot less repetitive and more exciting like it was in the trailers.
#2 (Edited 1000d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
DasTier  +   1000d ago
You mean the trailers where we saw the wall of Aldiun? I'm note sure if you played the right game as it was alot more exiting than that trailer and even the live action one
HarryMasonHerpderp  +   1000d ago
Yes the trailers of a wall that was what I was talking about and yes you are 100% right I think I was playing a completely different game silly me.
Must of been some other game with backwards flying dragons, dull dialogue, repetitive fetch quests, ugly overused character models and enough bugs to make the game barely playable at times.
So if you're still "note" sure that I played the right game and it was more "exiting" than the trailer then I simply can't help you.
DasTier  +   1000d ago
Dude I wrote that on the shitter, excuse me if spelling was not my number one priority. Also would it have made you feel better if I had put an "/S". I just feel insulted now :(

EDIT- Also I do think you just hating on it for the sake of it. I've put equal hundreds of hours into Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and New Vegas (I did try Morrowind, but I had played Oblivion beforehand and the lack of dialogue killed it for me).

However, I don't think Skyrim was perfect, In many ways I prefered Oblivion, I didn't like how arrows are now weightless, or that there are less armour pieces to a set, or that they abandoned the whole "only damage ghosts with magic or silver", BUT I still think it is one of the best and most enjoyable games of this generation.
#3.1.1 (Edited 1000d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(4) | Report
WeskerChildReborned  +   999d ago
Don't forget the few voice actors out of the whole game. That was one of the cons for me was barely any voice actors and NPCs sounding the same.
SeekDev  +   999d ago
The game has nice graphics, but the art style is rather uninspired, like they ripped off a few dungeon crawlers and medieval movies and put it all together.

The complete lack of any good story telling was an immediate negative, the world they fashioned was immediately pointless when there was no character development. It's an RPG, shouldn't there be character development? A little?

The quests, the guts of an RPG, were sometimes great, amazing, in fact. But the majority were indeed, fetch quests. The absolute bane of all RPG's, Borderlands had this same problem, but the gameplay made up for the lack in good questing. Here, nothing quite makes up for it. The game is too sloppy in some areas, while being tight in others. It overall falls apart like some convoluted serum. That's the experience I had, I couldn't help but look at it and say, hell, I'm having a lot of fun, but something about it is just so unoriginal, so uninspired that I can't look past it.

To myself, this game is like someone put together a house of cards, but forgot a few in the middle. I'm not lenient on RPG's just because they're big. If it's big, that's all the more reason to remain concise and stable, else it'll fall harder than ever.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Average Score 9.3 Reviews(484)
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