The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review(360, PS3, PC)

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Reviews
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From the opening scenes of Skyrim, the first time you take control, to the time when you beat the game, Skyrim is an addicting, amazing looking game. On the carriage at the beginning, you get a deep, dark, sense of things to come, as your character gets hauled to his or her execution. It’s not just the story starting to unravel, from the start you’ll also see how amazingly detailed nearly everything seems to be, how much time was put into this game, and a sign of great things to come.

There are 10 character races to choose from, finding a character for each style of play is easy, and can customize your character’s look with many options. Beyond that is a incredibly lengthy, addicting, and rewarding experience, giving you the option to decide how you want to play. There are many ways to play, many choices to be made, missions will start conflicting making it your choice on how you want things to progress, there are tonnes of side and miscellaneous missions to be found, the mission menu is always filled and ever growing.

The missions can turn you into a vampire, or werewolf if you choose, you can join leagues, choose who to defend and betray, what skills you want to work on, mine for ore, cook, explore, it puts the game in your hands and lets you dictate how it all plays out. Each character found throughout will either like, or not want anything to do with you, they will have missions or errands, just tell you off, try to help out, and some locations welcome you, while some are hostile, all depending on how you play.

There are so many locations found throughout the game, hundreds, exploration is plentiful. Each location is so detailed, the majority look beautiful, from the trees, to the water, there is an incredible amount of time and effort in every detail. Exploration is made even more rewarding as you find treasure chests, weapons, armor, amulets, necklaces, and tonnes of other things that will either help the character in battle, or in the wallet. Even if you are not doing missions there are plants to harvest, animals to eat and cook, you can clear caves, there are many alchemy sets to create potions, and forges to upgrade weapons and armor, or you can just explore the map and check out the beauty.

The map in Skyrim is huge, exploration will also lead to adding locations to the map, as the map starts growing it’s easy to see how much is left to be done. Many hours can be put into Skyrim, it seems to just keep going and growing, one mission can lead to many more. Missions are engaging and ever changing, there are many types of missions, and it does a great job mixing it up with the many things to do, and say. If you want to take a break, you will start at the specific spot where you saved it last, making it easy to jump back in and keep playing.

Each race has many skills, each skill has its own level system, so progressing through the game will level up the skills you use most. Leveling up each skill becomes more rewarding because as you level up your skills, your character level will go up over time, each character level gained will unlock a perk point. Perks can be found within each skill tree, the perks require you to have the skill at a specific level, but there are so many different skill trees, it’s not hard to find something to spend the point on. You’ll also be given the choice of increasing either your health, magicka, or stamina as well, so every level gained feels a bit more rewarding.

Leveling up the character and skills are especially important with the enemies around, mainly dragons. At first dragons will be difficult, their power shows rather quickly as they scorch everything in sight, but as you get better and learn new techniques, dragons and other enemies will start to fall. Dragon fights can be very lengthy, making it crucial to be able to withstand attacks, and dish out even more, they will require strategy, skill and luck, but being able to absorb the dragon’s soul and using it on shouts is awesome. Each dragon can require its own techniques to beat, they are not all fire breathing, the elemental attack and strategy changes depending on the type and location, keeping you on your toes when they are around. The shouts that dragon souls unlock are powerful one hit moves, and get better as you find them.

Aside from the skills, weapons, armor and other gear can be upgraded at the forge, to upgrade each you will need raw material, raw material can get very heavy and will overload your character fast. If you are no where near a forge you will need to drop some items to get there, you can not fast travel while your inventory is over full, and you can’t move very fast when it gets to that point. You can also enchant weapons, adding new elements or soul capturing gems. Making sure all of your gear is upgraded will keep them relevant, and make sure you can stay alive.

The other enemies found throughout will also require their own techniques, enemies range from armorless bandits, to  high armor warriors, some use magic, some archery, and some will use brute force. You really don’t know what type of enemy you will get until you see them, they can be taken out with stealth or force you to fight them head on, so keeping a look out is a good idea. There are also animals to keep a look out for, bears, giants, wolves, dogs and many other animals can and will attack, and when they attack, they do a lot of damage, getting swarmed can end very bad, it’s a good thing there are so many options when it comes to combat.

There are many weapons, armor, and magic options to choose from, you may want to take out enemies with a two-handed weapon, sacrificing protection for power, go with a one-handed weapon and shield, the shield can be used to bash and can cause damage. Each hand can hold their own, weapon, shield, or magic, and each battle may require different tactics and combinations. If the game is getting too difficult or easy, there is also the option to lower or increase the difficulty, it’s a good option to keep you playing no matter how challenging the game gets.

With a game as large and detailed as Skyrim, the flaws and glitches are bound to show up, there are quite a few texture and graphical glitches, among quite a few other glitches. The combat can be clunky, some battles just don’t feel smooth, in large battles and even some small battles, there can be a drop in framerate and slight pauses. There are so many load screens, for a game with so many locations and shops, each time you enter a building there is a load screen, if it’s the wrong place, leaving will have another load screen, going through a door to another floor of certain places will have another load screen, and loading saves can take quite a while.

Loading can take away from the flow of the game, constantly waiting to get back into combat can be annoying, and the map does not tell you what each of the buildings contains, so going in and out of buildings until you find the right one, can take a while. There are also the problems with freezing, which can happen at any time, but it generally happens during loading, or in combat, it’s a good thing for the random autosave, and being able to save it yourself. There are many missions, but some of them can glitch making it so you can’t complete them, even when you are at the final person to talk to, for some reason some missions just won’t complete, plus the way point indicator can have you running in and out of the wrong buildings.

Shop keeps don’t carry much money, so if you have a lot of valuable items, it can lead to either going in and out of shops, or traveling to other locations just to sell them, leading to many load screens, and delays.

Finding side and miscellaneous missions can also be a pain, it does not give warning when random characters have missions for you, you have to talk to the many people walking around, just to see if there are any additional missions, it’s a good thing there is already a lot to keep you occupied. The people around Skyrim will also say things to you, even if you are not looking at them and are walking in another direction, they’ll tell you to go away or not bother them, it is especially annoying when they repeat the same thing over and over.

The glitches and flaws can be over looked though, as there is a significant amount of gameplay and replay value. Playing through the game multiple times will feel fresh, you can choose to go through the game in various different ways, missions can feel like a blur, and going through again can feel like a new game all together. Adding to the length of the game is the time it can take to level up the character and skills, there are so many skills to try to max out,  if that is your goal, it will require a lot of time and patience, and may even need you to go about missions differently.

If you want to to settle down for a while, and just take a break from the missions and dragon slaying, there is the option of buying a house or houses, you can buy decorations and fix them up how you please, if you have money to spend this can be a good option. Getting married is also an option, having someone in the house is nice, and you have a few options to interact with your spouse, but can’t have kids together if that’s what you are hoping for. If the content within Skyrim still is not enough, you can download the additional add-ons, and expand the game even further.

With the map being so large, there are many spots where you can climb up high and look down at the beauty. The detail in Skyrim is incredible, even random objects like buckets or burnt books are fully detailed. With the amount of items and locations, it’s easy to marvel at the time put into this game, and even though some objects are dull, and some with texture issues, there is so much that is fully detailed. Environments feel full of additions to make it look more realistic, the water flows like real, waterfalls have mists coming off them, fish swimming, bears will stand on waterfalls to catch fish, animals will scatter when there is danger, and those are just few of the fine points throughout.

No matter how you decide you are going to go through Skyrim, the story and missions are very engaging, keeping busy is not an issue, and exploring will take up some more time. Going from location to location will help you find useful items and gear, harvesting plants, collecting butterfly wings, collecting parts of animals for ingredients, creating potions to increase the alchemy skill, or using raw materials to level up the forge skill, are nice options to have if you want to change things up even more.

Skyrim is a game that shines, matching long, addicting gameplay, a good story, and amazing graphics into one awesome package. It is easy to log many hours with the engaging gameplay, and being able to go through at your own pace, and with your own style. Being able to just take some time and enjoy the beauty is nice, it will cut down on the overwhelming feeling, and being able to adjust the difficulty to your liking helps things along.

There is so much content, so many ways to talk to people, various ways to do missions, so many skills to keep leveling up, and leveling up your character is rewarding. In the end Skyrim is a game that should be experienced for fans of the genre, and anyone looking for a game with a lot of gameplay and replay value. Getting through Skyrim is a very long process, it is filled with amazing visuals, battles, and a good story. Having such a large game that is detailed as it is, is great, all-in-all Skyrim is excellent.

Overall Score: 9/10

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