The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
So there I am, wandering along the cobblestone road with about four hundred pounds of equipment on my back like I always do, wishing I had more inventory space so I could pick up more crap so I could sell it to the blacksmith back in town. Problem is, there’s a quest ahead and I don’t really feel like turning back now.
If this situation has ever happened to you, you either have a very good imagination or you’ve been playing Bethesda’s latest release, Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a non-linear role-playing game. You select a race, customize your appearance, name your character, and the game kicks you right into the story. My first impression was that the graphics were absolutely stunning. The game doesn’t pull any punches trying to draw you in to the fantasy / ye old times-like atmosphere.
If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Fallout 3, you may feel right at home with this game. Combat plays very similarly with a few exceptions. For the PC, the left mouse button controls whatever is in your left hand and the right mouse button controls whatever is in your right hand. I went from sword and shield, to sword and flaming spell, to flaming spell and healing spell, to dual flaming spells. You can activate one or both at the same time, the latter giving you a bonus to damage or special effect should both hands contain the same spell. As you equip armor, take damage, cast spells, swing swords, block, craft potions, make armor and weapons and etc. your points in that respective skill increase. As you gain experience and level up you can pick perks towards a related skill. For example, I enjoyed burning things…alot. As I continued to use my flaming spells, my destruction skill (a magic skill) went up and when I leveled up I was able to pick a perk in that talent tree giving me a bonus to that tree of magic.
I admit I was overwhelmed at first by the sheer amount of options I had. I was used to managing inventory space but I wish they had made the menu system a little more user-friendly. Prepare to spend a few days to a week getting used to how things are setup in regards to keystrokes and menu management. I could be the old coot here and you may catch on quicker than I did.
As with similar games, you can steal items from other NPCs too. Don’t expect them to respond kindly should they catch you. I do, however, get some small satisfaction out of stealing items from a store and selling it right back to the owner ten minutes later.
The game will give you a main story line to follow, however seeing as how the game is non-linear you will be offered side quests and the ability to do them whenever you darn well please. I currently have about seven side quests queued up and I’ve only played the game for about six hours.
You will also pick up various items along the way which will assist you should you decide you want to dabble in crafting. So far I’ve run into blacksmithing, alchemy, and cooking however I’m sure that’s not the end of it.
If you enjoy losing yourself in a pretty environment, spending your time exploring every nook and cranny, doing quests, leveling up, and gathering loot you’ll want to take a look at this game. As always, check your PC specs and the game requirements before purchasing. It’s also available for the XBox 360 and PS3.
Final Verdict: 9/10
You can see video play sessions here: