One of my earliest video memories is playing The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind on my Compaq Pentium III computer at my parents place. I never really got that far because of my limited understanding of English, I had to be around 14 and although my English was alright it wasn’t good enough to understand any of the quests. Most of the time I was running around with a two-handed sword trying to kill people, not knowing that killing those guards patrolling the city wasn’t the way to go.
With The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim coming out a couple of years ago, I had a chance to redeem myself and go back to the world I once didn’t understand that well. I skipped Oblivion, I’m not sure why… could be that I didn’t care much about fantasy/rpgs for most of my teenage and early 20s.
Looking at my Steam hours, I’ve been playing Skyrim for about 55 hours over the past two months, 55 hours of meeting intriguing characters, mesmerising locations and all sort of animals and … things (link).
It is, by far, the best open-world game I’ve ever played. The amount of time you can sink in Skyrim without doing any of the main quest lines is endless. From small quests that make you kill a bandit leader to a story arc that brings you from a low life thief to head off an organised criminal organisation. You can see, almost feel, the amount of work the developers put into this game. The characters are worked out so well, that it’s too bad the voice acting for a couple of characters is done by the same guy with exactly the same voice. But if you play the game in a slow-pace, you wouldn’t even notice.
The main story is about dragons being back in the world and its up too you, the Dragonborn, to stop them… Honestly, I’m sure there is more to the story than that one sentence but I rather not spoil anything more… also, I’ve never been that good with reading and understanding all of the lore inside of RPG’s, it sounds quite dumb as this is one of the main aspects of an RPG, but I’ve always been more of the exploring and levelling, unlocking exciting new gear or spells. Luckily Skyrim delivers in all those aspects, even if you don’t want to know all the lore around the (main) quests you can still have a blast.
Skyrim has no major weaknesses, graphics are top-notch (install some mods when playing on PC and you got yourself the best looking open-world game two years after release), the music soothes the current state of play, pushing you forward when fighting or smooth sounds when exploring. The freedom Elder Scrolls number V gives you doesn’t feel like a burden because there is always a quest close by or a cave to explore. No “dead zones” that drag on and on. And then, of course, the gameplay.
We can talk about the magnificent engine – I’m still confused why this engine isn’t being used by other games. Can someone explain?- the melee and magic fighting system, alchemy, enchanting, crafting gear or the levelling system but it would be too long for something that is better experienced playing. Everything named before could have a review by itself.