And so to the big one, my thoughts on one of the most anticipated games of 2011, I’ve taken my time to put in the hours to truly experience as much of the game as I can before I sum things up. Firstly, for those who aren’t aware Skyrim is an action/adventure role playing game, it’s the fifth in the “Elder Scrolls” series, but you don’t necessarily have to have played previous games to enjoy this one, as the main story is stand alone. You explore a large world map, complete quests, and use skills to level up, each level grants you a perk, which you can spend on the skills/attributes you use the most, to enhance them.
The elements I love the most about Skyrim, one could argue, are not unique to the game, the sheer size and expanse of the world, the variety of environments from snow capped mountains, to dense forests with beautiful waterfalls, medieval themed towns to modest farm settlements. The environmental variety is topped only by the amount of things to do in the game. Of course you have the main quest/story line to follow, and not uncommon these days is some side quests and additional objectives to do along the way. What stands this game apart is there are so, so, many of these side objectives, and they vary greatly, some are random one journey jobs, others are “prove your worth” style quest lines to join specific guilds or factions. These quest lines contain some of the most interesting tasks in the game.
The elements I’m not so happy about however, include the loading times, sure there are a variety of loading screens, and it’s a big world, so requires loadage, but a lot of time is spent waiting for the next dungeon to appear, and that can sometimes take you out of the world a little. Second is the bugs and glitches, now I have been lucky so far, and have not had to deal with the PS3 save game problems of freezing, but have had my fair share of people stuck in walls and myself getting stuck on rocks. I must say, this is much more of a problem in the 2 Fallout games on PS3 though, so, to some extent, I think this is overhyped in Skyrim by people looking for reasons to dislike it. A small niggle for me personally is that the close up weapon combat is quite clumsy, whether wielding a small light sword, or large axe, swinging it at someone feels slow and cumbersome, and hits them in odd places.
Overall this game is hard to fault, and I feel the faults it does have are blown out of proportion by people who don’t want to like the game. In terms of development it’s a huge acheivement, and one to be proud of. Don’t get me wrong though, if you don’t enjoy large open world, slightly medieval themed RPGs then this game isn’t for you. But for me, I’m level 18, 30 hours in, and find myself looking forward to the time I next get to visit the vast expanse that is the Skyrim world. You can play as so many different races, honing incredibly varied skillsets, from magic, to stealth, to flat out warrior types. If you don’t yet own this, and are looking for a game to be absorbed in, that rewards you for your efforts, and something that shines as an example of current gen gaming, then look no further than Skyrim.
|Gameplay||9/10||Addictive and as tricky or easy as you want things to be. A point off for glitches.|
|Graphics||9/10||Hugely varying terrains, half decent faces, but not drop dead gorgeous.|
|Sound||9/10||Very good and again, very varied.|
|Music||10/10||The soundtrack really does make this game epic at times, excellent.|
|Story||10/10||There’s more than one, and all are different and progress well.|
|Variety||10/10||So much to do, so many different playstyles and races to try.|
|Trophies||10/10||Good variety and varying difficulty levels, nothing too unacheivable too.|
|Character Customisation||9/10||Actually not quite as complex or in depth as that in Oblivion (Elder Scrolls 4) but still great.|
|Value for money||8/10||An awful lot to do but lacking in any network features so a couple of points short of bargainous.|
|Immersion||9/10||When you start believing you’re a cat with magic powers, you have been playing a little too long.|
Total Score: 93%