Why am I so pale? I’ve asked myself that every day since October of last year and I finally figured out the answer: I don’t go outside that often because of a little game called Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
It’s taken me a while to finally review this game because it’s such a rich and deep world and I wanted to try everything it offered. I’ve wrestled bears in the woods of this enchanted land, I’ve battled pesky dragons on top of the Throat of the World and I’ve drunk my share of rotgut. I’ve killed my share of Forsworn and delivered death as a member of the shadowy organization that is the Dark Brotherhood. There have been numerous patches since launch but there are still some bugs in the game. That’s to be expected with such open play and such a wide variety of things to do in this game. My personal favorite bug was a dragon stuck in the side of a house. I only needed to cue the Benny Hill music and I would’ve had a very successful video on YouTube.
I’ll be completely honest though- I never beat any of the Elder Scroll games. I’ve certainly tried, don’t get me wrong, but I never felt truly engaged by the earlier titles. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the previous games is that they never got the combat right. Sure, the games were incredibly beautiful and the lore was rich but if the very core of the game is an Action-RPG it has to get the action right! Bethesda entirely overhauled the combat in Skyrim and eliminated much of the clunkiness. That’s not to say it’s perfect, but it is vastly superior to the previous titles. I’m also a huge fan of the brutal kill cams after you’ve slain an enemy. Nothing is more satisfying than watching your character crunching down a skeleton with a two-handed battle-axe.
At the beginning of the game, you’ll find yourself captured along with a band of thieves and war criminals being wheeled to their execution. This is where you also delve deep into Skyrim’s character customization. If you’re like me, you’ll spend quite a lot of time making your character just right. If you’ve played the other Elder Scroll games you’ll no doubt be right at home with all the weird playable races. Personally, I was a very nimble cat-like Khajiit.
There are plenty of side quests and various missions you can take part in but the main meat and potatoes of the game relies on your character, who is a “Dragonborn” and one of the last of his kind. This means that you can use the language of the dragons and unleash their “shouts,” powerful abilities that range from Fire Breathing to Slowing Down Time. Basically, dragons have returned to the land and you’re the chosen one to put an end to their foulness. The main quest is admittedly pretty short but I’ve been kept busy since its release late last year and so will you. There’s just way too much stuff to do for you to put it down after you finish the main storyline.
After you’ve selected your character and finally gotten on your feet you can’t help but feel awestruck by the actual environments of this game. It’s absolutely gorgeous. There will be plenty of times where you’ll stop your character and just absorb how wonderfully articulated this world is. The best part about Skyrim has to be the fact that if you see something, chances are you can actually go there. And that’s not even mentioning the wildlife teeming in the back ground or the dragons crying and roaring above you trying to feast upon your tender noob flesh.
You can’t talk about the game’s visuals and not mention the audio aspect of the game. Unlike many games of this generation, Skyrim’s visual and audio experiences go hand in hand. This game is just so damn impressive in the way it pulls you in. If you have a really nice speaker set up or quality headphones do yourself a favor and experience this game start to finish with them. Your ears will thank you.
All in all, it took Bethesda since the Xbox 360’s launch to put out another Elder Scrolls game. And the wait was absolutely worth it. If for some reason you have somehow avoided this game for this long give it a chance. Now would be a perfect time to purchase it. Why? Well, there’s even more content with the Dawnguard DLC that was just released this summer! This is as close to a perfect game as you can get with the current generation of gaming.