Skyrim; the word that has become a synonym with the loss of personal loved ones and a degradation into a life of filth. Purchasing Skyrim has been known to lead to a loss of social life and the growth of a very large beard. Also, one may begin seeing different vegetables, flowers, and basic weapons must be stored in case they are needed at a later date.
In short, Skyrim becomes a lifestyle.
By the time that Skyrim came out I was already a huge Elder Scrolls fan. I picked this game up at a midnight release because I was super excited to play it. I remember when the first reveal trailer came out and how pumped I was. The first look at the graphics and the revelation of the story involving the return of the dragons made it really hard to wait for this game.
Especially the dragons. The dragons made me the most excited, not just because they’re dragons but also because a year before the first trailer was revealed I actually predicted Skyrim’s plot. I had been doing some lazy reading on The Elder Scrolls wiki about the dragons and in my opinion it seemed like they were destined to return. I predicted to friends that thus was going to be what the next game was about. When I was proven right I could feel my ego grow to outstanding proportions.
But why is Skyrim such a great game, why do so many people love it? In essence, Skyrim is an amalgamation of some of the more hardcore properties of Morrowind with some of the streamlined features that Oblivion implemented. I would love to have Morrowind’s skill system and how it effected combat back but I can easily see why it’s never been reimplemented.
Like any Elder Scrolls game, the amount that you use a skill determines how quickly it levels up. actually hitting enemies with your weapons raises your one-handed or two-handed weapons skill, making armor and weapons raises your smithing skill, and being attacked while wearing armor raises that armor skill’s level. It’s a dynamic system that rewards the player to experiment and to just have fun. Gone are the days of Oblivion’s leveling system with the attributes that gained points dependent on whether you leveled their skills. That always seemed broken to me; you ended up having to specialize in one area in order to survive. Skyrim does away with this and, combined with the absence of enemies that level with you, this makes combat much more enjoyable. Also, Skyrim implements a perk system in order to improve your proficiency with different skills. Unlike in Fallout 3 you don’t pick from a list of perks that unlock with each level. Each skill has its own tree which must have certain perks unlocked or certain level in the skill be attained before you can get better perks. This minimizes the effects that specializing your character has upon your gameplay. You can be a dedicated swordsman, but still use all of the magic. This has always been something that The Elder Scrolls series has done that I’ve appreciated.
The graphics for Skyrim are comparable to modern games but where majestic when it was first released. That’s the problem with the engine that Bethesda uses for these games; their graphics don’t age well. You can mode the game on PC to look substantially better but if you have a console then you just have to make due.
The inventory system in Skyrim receives a much-needed over-hall. While not going back to my much beloved Morrowind inventory system, the new one streamlines everything and makes it much more accessible to new players. I admit that not everyone likes to have all of their info on one screen, so I still really like the change. Oblivion’s inventory management system just felt clunky and needlessly complicated.
The actual combat in Skyrim is much improved. The addition of a sprint button makes combat more easy to escape if you’re in a dire situation and the Dragon Shouts give you more options in battle without breaking the system. The ability to use a shout like Whirlwind Sprint, when it’s fully upgraded, also allows for some nifty movement while in dungeon puzzles. There where a few times where I was able to “cheat” on a puzzle.
The biggest beef I have against Skyrim is how one of the main side quests can be rendered impossible to complete if you mess up at one point. The Dragon Priest masks can be very powerful and can be really useful. If you collect all of them then you can get a special mask. I don’t know how good this mask is because I never got it. I have all the achievements for this game but I’ll never feel like I finished it because I forgot to get a mask in a certain dungeon near the end of the main quest and cannot go back (there’s also a word wall that I missed). I’ve been tempted to start a new game to get it but it’s just not worth all that time that I could be playing something else. I hate it when games make it where you can’t complete something if you mess up once. It’s something that, in my opinion, game designers need to stray away from. If it’s a shorter game, it’s ok. If it’s a long epic like Skyrim where you may be a hundred hours in then there’s no excuse. A game like this will have glitches but the designers knew that if you missed this mask then you’d not be able to go back and get it.
Besides that, Skyrim is a great game. Is it the best game ever made? No, not even close. The NPCs still feel like they’re made out of cardboard and only do very specific tasks. I understand that in such a large game that it’s almost impossible to have them do anything else, but that doesn’t mean that the problem still isn’t there. Also, I found it annoying how dragons would often spawn when I fast traveled to villages and some important people would die. I do believe that Bethesda patched that so it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Streamlined Leveling System
- Inventory System Easier to Manage
- Most Time/Money Investment in Gaming
- Cardboard Characters
- Archery System Still Not Very Useful in Combat (My Opinion)
- Potential to Permanently Miss Items
While I wouldn’t say that Skyrim is the best game ever made, it is a must buy for any console or worthy PC owner. If you’re a gamer and you haven’t played Skyrim then you really need to. Skyrim is a game where you can easily sink your time into and get lost in its world for hours on end. Get a loved one or a friend to play it with you so you can share the experience. If you have never played an Elder Scrolls game, use this opportunity to learn about the amazing lore that Bethesda has established. Basically, you have to play this game. Also, if you’re not a gamer but would like to see what all the fuss is about then Skyrim is probably the perfect game for that.