The most anticipated game of the year is finally out and bigger and better than it’s previous counterparts, Oblivion and Morrowind. These games offered the world a fun and exciting adventure in their respective lands but doesn’t compare to the newest RPG by Bethesda Softworks, Skyrim!
Before I begin as usual I’ve pasted a YouTube video of some of Skyrim’s music at the bottom so press the play button and continue reading.
Dragons have been coming back to life all over Skyrim at the same time the Dragonborn has returned, the cities are under attack and and only you have the power to absorb their souls and power the fabled shouts of the dragons. A simple enough storyline with limitless gameplay possibilities, Skyrim is a free-roam role playing game set 200 years after the events of Oblivion with you as the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn – the devourer of dragon souls.
The game is almost completely non-linear with only a small portion at the start you must follow as the introduction to your life and a few other characters, as well as letting you set up your character the way you like. There are multiple race, build and facial options your able to set with each race having different stats such as Argonians being able to breathe underwater.
At first I must admit I wasn’t thrilled with the game, mainly due to the fact that I was forced to follow the story a little before letting me go my own separate way. Another contributing factor to this was that my levels were very low, only letting me do basic damage and make the lowest level armours. Over time I became more adept with the game and refined my character into the person I wanted to make them, which in my case was a Ranging, Mage who specialized in stealth and critical attacks.
The gameplay is astounding, having multiple skills ranging from Destruction to Archery, Smithing and Light Armour to Pickpocketing which allows the player to focus on any of the skills they wish instead of having to do them all. There are a few minor “skills” that haven’t been included in this list though which don’t level up such as mining, pictured left and some others that have been removed completely from Skyrim like Atheletics.
The scenery and models are breathtaking, such as the picture below which I took outside Markath – my hometown. I’ve taken over 500 pictures throughout the game to use as wallpapers later on, some of which look even more spectacular than this one. Even though this game looks amazing it ran at a solid 60 FPS on my quad core and HD 5870 on almost maximum settings. However in graphically intense parts it dropped down to 45 but soon went back up to 60 as I passed through that region. The animations were also amazingly done, especially noting the dragon’s life-like movements during attacking. Humans and human-like creatures has a little less quality in the face I noticed especially during speaking, their mouths moved but there were few other facial expressions.
Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles, the game is riddled with them, and these are actually fun to solve because they require you to think about the problem and then try a solution, and try again later if that fails. Some doors require you to turn a stone tablet between a few various animals in order to unlock a gate, typically there’s clues on the walls around the room but sometimes you have to rotate an item in your inventory to see the answer… Not to mention there’s traps all over the dungeons which you have to avoid and some are fairly hard to see and are placed meticulously.
Throughout the game you can pick up companions that travel with you through the land of Skyrim, which are able to attack enemies, carry items and carry out simple orders given by you such as open doors. Now these companions would be perfect if only they weren’t so stupid, the AI for characters was well programmed to a games standard except for things that real people would do such as avoid traps.
Here’s a video of Lydia, a companion trying to get through a gate, and failing hard:
I loved the music during the game, from the calming themes of Whiterun and other Major cities to the epic and intense music when fighting dragons. Music is always the precursor to a game showing the quality and time that’s gone into it, bad music equals a bad game most of the time. However I did really miss the town and village themes which were found throughout Oblivion, Skyrim had generic subtle exploring and town themes which consisted of simple instruments weaving in and out to create an atmosphere but not an actual theme for a location. An example of this is the song in Oblivion “Sunrise of Flutes” which used a mainly flute driven theme which always played when the sun rose or when you were in a calm village. Other than that minor fact the rest of the music and sound effects were brilliantly done, there were actually more than 5 voice actors this time and from different regions around the world to create a diverse and intricate atmosphere wherever you went.
The idea and sound effects of the shouts I was most impressed with, I loved hearing “FUS RO DAH” every time I used that particular shout. I believe, but i’m not entirely sure that they drew inspiration for the shouts from the Xbox game “Nightcaster” in which the player could charge three levels of spells, with each level being more powerful than the last.
Finally the storyline, I haven’t played a game with such a deep storyline and back-story in ages, and the fact that when you think it’s coming to a close something happens and you back on your feet fighting dragons, I won’t ruin it for your however so i’ll just be brief. The storyline unlocks many of the games “awesome” features such as having to kill the first dragon in the story before they appear throughout the game. There are many, many books you are able to read throughout the game as well, which gives insight into the different factions, why their at war and other random topics such as tips for alchemy. The sub-quests are also amazingly detailed with some of the main ones having over 3 hours of game play for them alone and having many more tiny quests which mostly involve settling petty arguments between citizens.
Skyrim is the most detailed, thought provoking and massive RPG to have ever been created, with it’s myriad of relaxing and epic music to compliment the storyline as well as containing brilliant vocal work which dramatically increases the realism and immersion throughout the game. The graphics are spectacular and are at a HD wallpaper level, you could take some amazing screenshots throughout the game of huge mountains, dragons, or down to item level and still have a beautiful background ready to use.
I extremely recommend this game if you haven’t purchased it already, it will chew your time up and give you limitless hours of great fun as you get lost in the world of Skyrim!
Here’s the final score out of 100%:
Fun Rating: 100%
0% – 24% = Hopeless Game, Definitely not worth buying! if you have it sell it now while its worth something!
25% – 49% = Terrible Game, This game will not prove to be very enjoyable, and may only be played once and forgotten.
50% – 59% = Average Game, A very mediocre game that you may play occasionally to pass time but doesn’t prove to be very enjoyable.
60% – 69% = Nice Game, A game you would play once or twice to see how it is, but ultimately lacks replay-ability and immersion.
70% – 79% = Brilliant Game, This game would satisfy your gaming needs for a very long time but would eventually be forgotten over time.
80% – 89% = Fantastic Game, A very fun game that proves time and time again to be enjoyable and addictive.
90% – 99% = Amazing Game, Extremely Enjoyable and has lots of replay-ability content, as well as pushing the boundaries for future games.
100% = Epic Game, Go and buy 20 copies right now! (In-case there’s a nuclear war and they get destroyed)