As the cold breeze rolls over the tundra of the northern province of Skyrim, the eye catches sights. Wooly mammoths escorted by giants, architecture and monuments to warriors fallen, and your avatar looking calmly into the vast open world. Every vista that is a static background in any other game is a destination in Skyrim. The world is calm and the music, with its violins and soft chorus, calms the mind. That is until a large shadow, with its reverberant roar, combs over the landscape and your stoic character. Its large leathery wings tilts the giant lizard around as it comes about for another pass. The hot flames scorch the ground and the dragon prepares its landing. You take a sword in one hand and a shield in another and you sprint as hard as you can towards the scaled beast. The setting for one of many David and Goliath battles begins. And this is only the tip of the iceberg for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a fantasy Western role-playing game developed by Bethesda Softworks and bears a striking resemblance to HBO’s television series, Game of Thrones. Taking place nearly 200 years since the last game’s events, Skyrim begins with your character, with his/her arms bound, heading to your execution. You escape and the game lets you take whatever path you want and whatever choices you make. From the get-go, the game can feel very overwhelming at first because it is so vast and expansive.
The game does a good job of keeping the player focused with quests and a main storyline that questions why the dragons are returning to the lands. Skyrim encourages exploration with a hefty number of different quests, varied locations and dungeons for the player to explore. As you play the game and use certain skills such as: archery, forging weapons and armor, magic, etc, you are able to level up. The interface of the level-up screen is the stars and the constellations. From there, you pick perks that give special abilities like zoom in with a bow and arrow or decapitate your enemies. Each unlock adds another layer of depth to the combat. And while you do end up just flailing with your swords in the beginning, you’re encouraged to use a flamethrower spell in one hand and a battle-axe in the other. This allows the player to play how they want to.
While Skyrim is the most ambitious game that Bethesda has ever developed, it is not safe from bugs and glitches. Whether it’s flying straight into the air from a single strike from a giant, static animation lock-ups on a dragon or something is just floating in midair. These glitches, while hilarious when they happen to you, do remove you from the detailed and living world that Bethesda tried so hard to create. But they are merely scratches in a massive suit of armor and none of the glitches are ever game breaking.
My final thoughts on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is that is one of the best games, not only to have come out in 2011, but to also be released in this console generation. It is well worth the admission price of $60 and well worth your time, no matter how experienced of a gamer you are.