The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Review

Before I start my breaking up of this fantastic looking game, there is a confession I have to make. I have never played the previous instalments of ‘Elder Scrolls’ (Oblivion etc.) and so, I came into this game a noob, with no backstory on any of the events which some NPC’s may mention in conversation. As well as this, I have had to adjust to Skyrim’s style of play, the way in which the game plays, feels and the mechanics of it all.

Now, as stated, I haven’t ever played a game in this series, and not a huge fan of fantasy genre games on the whole, I wasn’t going to buy this game. And didn’t. I didn’t see the trailers, nor cared about them, and whenever my friend started talking about it I would just blank out and do whatever while they talked amongst themselves in anticipation.

So, after buying a different game in November rather than Skyrim, I found out I hated that game, and returned it within the week for a near full refund. This refund stayed in my back pocket for a couple of months before my curiosity got the better of me.

So, two weeks ago, I found myself putting in the disc of Skyrim to my trusty PlayStation and had a look at the paper map given to you inside the cover while the game installed. Holy Mother of God it was big.

After half an hour fumbling with unfolding the ridiculous map, I saw its huge expansive land, similar to that of the Grand Theft Auto series, but a lot bigger. But, bigger does not always mean better, which I will get into soon.

So the game starts up, as per usual I make my character. I go with the Cat race, because being a thief and being sneaky appeals to me, due to my love of Splinter Cell and GTA. I’m pretty sure this race is Khajit, and not knowing any background information on them, besides the information box given below character types (Which were quite helpful) I had no clue what race would hate me and who would love me. I just had to hope for plenty of cat-people in the land of quite a while ago.

So, we start the game in a carriage, and instantly you see the great graphics and attention to detail shown in the games surroundings.  Straight away you also see the bad lip synching on NPC’s. It’s not too noticeable, but you do see them finish a sentence a couple of second after their mouths stop moving. It isn’t game breaking, and not really a problem, just a physical nuisance.

The in-game introduction is a little shoddy. It tells you how to attack a little too late, and it doesn’t always give you very clear instructions on how to do things, but it was bearable, and I instinctively clicked R1 to attack from my Call of Duty background.

I’m not a huge fan of the fighting in this game, but after a couple of weeks I am used to it, and well adjusted, although things still seem to go awry. Whenever I get into a head on fight (Which is rare now, level 53 Sneak) it would seem my mace swung rather randomly, and hitting the enemy was a bit of a task at first. The hitbox for them is perfect, but the lunges in the weapons are a little off in my opinion. Because of these original problems I went down the sneaky mage path, because the weapon to weapon combat does not appeal to me in this game.

Skyrim Screenshot

A while later, I found myself truly appreciating the amount of work put into this game. There are 100′s, maybe 1000′s of side-quests. A crap tonne of main quests, none of which I have started. Or had the chance to start. And the mass expanse of land offers a variety of stuff to do, whether it be raiding bandit camps, robbing lone villagers, killing animals for leather, or riding horses up seemingly un-climbable mountains. I’m not sure if the latter is a good thing, or a bad thing.

However, this mass expanse of land, eventually, does get repetitive to look at. If you’re like me, and the effect of ‘Wow, look at them tree’s’ wears off rather quickly, you’ll find yourself going through a lot of loading screens. Annoying, but to a newcomer, they do have handy information texts to the bottom right of a moveable creature/object.

Discovering places is rather satisfying, but at the same time, travelling to places like Markarth that are far from any place you have ever discovered, it tends to get a bit dreary.

The map itself, accessible by clicking via down then x is a bit clunky. I’m not a fan of the map itself in the menu, because you don’t have the roads very clearly marked, and if you want to visit ‘The Shrine of Azura’ atop of a very tall mountain, in which you need to travel certain roads to get there, to constantly need to refer back to my cover manual map, is a turn off for me.  The HUD white quest marker also doesn’t give you any good directions, just a general direction. I understand there were no GPS’s back then, but having a map in the corner of the screen, rather than the single line with villages and ships dotted on it, would be a lot better and more useful in my opinion.

I’m not going to divulge too much into the mechanics of a game, because I’m not knowledgeable to them, but I will say that the NPC’s range from smart, skip medium, to dumb. This both benefits you, as well as frustrates you. It may just be because as of right now I’m playing on default difficulty, but when your follower can barely tell the difference between you and  a sabre tooth tiger, but a frostbite spider can snipe you with venom from over 100 yards away, is rather annoying.

In closing, I love this game, and it is very far from what I expected the game to be. And for me to say I love a fantasy RPG game means a lot more than I could say. Despite its glitch horses, sniping spiders and idiots called Lydia; it is a very good game, both to play, and to experience.

And there are werewolves. That should be reason enough to buy it.


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