The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A vast, varied, unique and complex role-playing game

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Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Pros

  • Intensely detailed and nuanced environments
  • Excellent character development system

Cons

  • Some gameplay elements (like the economy) are just a facade
  • Mediocre combat system

Bottom Line

Skyrim represents the culmination of a long balancing act, of all Bethesda's learned and mastered about epic nonlinear play. It's a triumph of freeform design, less a roleplaying game like so many popular D&D-haunted others than a glimpse of what it might be like to inhabit another world, its rules and interface folding seamlessly into the gameplay instead of snapping you out of the moment with Byzantine menus and soul-numbing math. If someone asks you where games are headed, you can point to this.

Would you buy this?

You begin in a prison cart, hands bound, juddering down a mountain path as a chorus of French horns plays a mournful melody. You'll spend a lot of time navigating Skyrim's mountains — whether you're climbing through their snowy heights or just staring up their slopes, they're a physical presence unlike any you've experienced in a game. They surround you on all sides, their tops shrouded in rolling banks of clouds and reaching for what seems like miles toward the stratosphere. The clouds sometimes descend from the highest slopes, filling pine-thick valleys or rocky, scrub-covered flatland with curls of fog.

The sun pushes through those clouds as you trundle along, in the company of thieves and rebels. Bright hues cascade over woodland and ice-rimed stone, chasing away the gloom. You're a prisoner, because you're always a prisoner at the outset in an Elder Scrolls game, though never of them — they work harder to unfetter you than anything else in this genre.

And then the dragons show up, because this is a game about dragons showing up, as if to rectify their absence from prior instalments. And we're not talking the tender-bellied, winged lizards native to so many fantasy settings, but cruel-barbed, hook-mouthed horrors that can stun with ice-like cones of pure sound. Will you escape? How? And go where? The answer's...

"We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns..."

...maybe you'll follow the so-called "main story," easily the series' most mature, but whose purpose, fittingly, seems to be as introduction to Skyrim's footpaths, locales, and wilds, after which the real story — the one you'll craft as you discover just how much unprecedented detail Bethesda's baked into every square inch of Skyrim's vast geography — can begin. Maybe you'll do your best to confound the game's logic, flaunting the law, even killing capriciously. Or maybe you'll just wander, an itinerant swashbuckler, taking work as you find it. It's hard not to wander. The game world's so thoroughly realized and lovingly rendered, well, good luck not abandoning whatever quest you're tracking just to see where the river over there goes, or what that strange light halfway up a mountain is.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Anonymous

1

Everything mentioned in this review was pretty spot on, yes there are bugs and a bit of lag in cases but even with this I have still been finding myself lost in a breath-taking fantasy land for hours at a time.
I own the game on the PS3 and unfortunatly the lag is quite annoying at times making the game a little jumpy and delayed.
It would be really great if Bethesda released a patch that fixed this as it would make the game so much more enjoyable.
Because even though I hate to admit it I did feel at times like I was playing a game that was still in testing phases...
Something I found phenominal was a glitch which actually grants the player the ability to make weapons that do as much damage as they like and armour which has an armour rating as high as they want. Some people would love this and some would think that it defeats the purpose of the game.
This aspect of the game can make it quite easy to cruise through all the quests and takes away a lot of the exhilirating feeling you get from battling a fierce creature.
Instead of this somebody can walk around 1-shot killing EVERYTHING.
But the great thing is Bethesda is making everybody happy by doing this (that is if this was intentional or not) Owning and playing the game does not take long to realise just how much in control of everything you are and how much you can detemine your own fate in the game.
Thats what I love that about it! I just wish that Bethesda had spent more time fixing glitches and the annoying lag that it comes with on certain consoles. Hopefully they are getting a lot of feedback about these issues as it would be nice to see a patch that resolves this.
Don't get me wrong though, Skyrim is a game that is utterly stunning in it's own rights and is definitly a big game where you can lose yourself in it for hours doing a vast amount of things.
This is a game that I will never forget and continue to journey into.

Anonymous

2

Yea.
A PC magazine reviewing the game on a console.
What a joke.

Did u mention the horrible UI? Or even the fact that there are performance issues on the console versions (both 360 and PS3 have choppy fps sometimes), esp the lag on the PS3?

And how does a game so damn buggy (more buggy than Oblivion) with shorter, uninspiring side questlines for the Warriors Guild (i.e. Companions in this case) and Mages Guild than its predecessors earn a perfect 5/5? Not to mention the cut-and-paste environments of the game world, the smaller 'cities' and horrible, ugly textures that have caused many gamers to download mods to increase the graphical fidelity?

Skyrim is worth at best, 4.5/5. A 5/5 is overkill and to be honest, a game that should earn 5/5 should be devoid of bugs/of very few/barely noticeable bugs. Which is not Skyrim.

And next time, why dont you review the game on PC?!!! This is a PC magazine for crying out loud!
Absolutely PATHETIC.

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