Now that the next official chapter in Bethesda’s massive Elder Scrolls series has launched, fans everywhere are gobbling the title of the shelves through out Chicagoland and North America and firing up their PC’s for some serious adventuring.
Skyrim sold huge just within it’s first 48-hour’s on the market, and it’s not hard to see why based on the numerous reviews that have poured out from every gaming site on the ‘net.
This Examiner’s opinion is that the title is solid, and easily the best in the TES series. From the new gameplay features (smithing, cooking, and even a new marriage system), animations, combat system (duel wielding is now a reality out of the box), and graphics, the game has lived up to the incredible hype it had received over the last year since it’s announcement.
The landscape of Skyrim is harsh and cool. The snow storm animation is top notch, as is the water. Droplets pour down and cause puddles to ripple below your feet. It truly makes you stop and stare before moving onward.
The setting itself can be depressing due to the harshness of the cold climate and war, which is ripping the land apart. It’s definitely a different feel from that of Oblivion’s setting, which was mostly lush forest, aside from Bruma county in the north.
This harshness is what the developer was aiming for, and they landed it perfectly. Some areas in the game make you feel as if you’re traversing through locations set in The Lord of the Rings. Many consider that franchise to be epic, and once again, that was the developer’s aim.
This is a new feature never before seen in the series. It works similar to that of Fable’s, where you create a high disposition with your potential love interest (same-sex romance is allowed), generally through a small quest. You can then marry them and move them into your house (or move into their home, instead). However, you first need an amulet which you can get from a priest in the Temple of Mara found in the city of Riften. Without this amulet, the marriage/romance options will not come up.
It’s not perfect, and it’s almost certain that community modders will improve upon this and create a much deeper system once the Skyrim Creation Kit is released. But for the standard/vanilla game alone, it’s a nice little addition.
This would get a 5/5 rating if the PC version supported DirectX 11. However, it does not. This all aside, the game looks fantastic in it’s own right. It stands up easily to other game’s currently released, unlike with Oblivion which looked a bit dated from the get go back when it launched in 2006.
Skyrim’s light and shadow system is probably the biggest improvement in the series. Your characters eyes must adjust to the changes in brightness within the environment. You can look up into the sunny sky, adjust to the light and quickly look down at the ground, only for the screen to darken, forcing your in-game pupils to readjust to the sudden change. It’s a nice detail that every game should now include.
Dust, water, light and fog particles are simply amazing to see. Walking through a cave, you can come upon light streaming in from a crack in the wall or ceiling, allowing particles to float around you. Dust kicks up from falling debris or crash-landing dragons, making for epic events to become even more epic.
With new features such as smithing, cooking, family life, owning your own shop, and how the game allows for open-ended adventuring and storytelling, this title offers the most out of any other Elder Scrolls game that has come before. You simply can do whatever you want, except perhaps, have children (though, you can marry a widow with a child).
The biggest gripe this Examiner has, is the low selection of clothes and armor which can suppress creativity put forth in building your perfect character. The developers made the decision to merge pants and tops into one outfit, no longer allowing the player to mix and match sets. You can however, mix and match boots and bracers. Want to wear elven armor with leather boots and iron bracers? Go for it. Want to wear leather armor with iron greaves? Too bad. You simply can’t. This should be improved upon once the aforementioned Creation Kit hit the web, however. But gamers shouldn’t always have to depend upon user created mods to fix imperfections. Perhaps if a larger selection was added to the game from the get go, this wouldn’t have caused the game to lose a star rating. But perhaps armor isn’t such a big issue, gameplay wise, for some fans, as it is for this Examiner, either.
Overall, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a must-get for the holiday season if you’ve yet to pick it up. It’s near perfect for what it offers, and will soon be receiving user created mods to fix or enhance the smallest of gripes fans may have.
For other reviews from around the ‘net, click here, and begin reading more about the epicness that is Skyrim!