The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is my first trip in the massive and treacherous continent of Tamriel. It’s really a shame that I got to miss out four of the most influential role-playing games that have put Bethesda into the spotlight of fame and controversy. Surely, Bethesda is proud to have Skyrim putting the finale to this year’s competitive season for gaming – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Rage have all made refined contributions to the world of gaming, but nothing can absolutely compare to what Skyrim has given to the open-world fantasy, sword-swinging, throat-slitting, spell casting, and dungeon-crawling genre.
It all starts when you, the main character, is carted to a nearby settlement called Helgen accompanied by three rugged gentlemen. Upon unloading, one of your companions decide to make a run for it but unfortunately, he got pinned down by an arrow killing him in the process. After that unsuccessful escape, a guard will ask for your name and the character creation menu will appear, giving you full-control of your character’s race and appearance. Turns out that you have been accused as a member of the Stormcloaks – a rebellious group fighting to restore Skyrim back to the Nords by driving away the “cowardly” Empire. You are brought to Helgen to be execute and once your has been laid down into the chopping block, a Dragon swoops down from the Heavens obliterating Helgen and its defenders.
A Grand Adventure in the Icy Blankets and Dangerous Tundras of Skyrim
You make your first move by fleeing the Dragon’s fiery maw by deciding on which escape route to take – accompany a Stormcloak or Imperial soldier to safety, the game initially gives the player a decision that will play a huge role in his descent from Helgen’s snowy remains down to Whiterun where the player recreates his destiny from commoner to Dragonborn. After slaying your first dragon, you mysteriously absorb its soul to the shock of your comrades-in-arms. I cannot simply review Skyrim by focusing on the main storyline itself – the game is scenic, expansive, and sprawling with life that it’s a bad idea to play and finish the game by simply following the central quest.
After being given the instruction to seek the knowledge of the isolated Greybeards of High Hrothgar, your character is now free to explore the panoramic visuals of Skyrim in every way possible. You can pay the Whiterun Stables for a horse, sprint the grassy areas of Whiterun, climb the freezing regions of Winterhold, or defile forsaken tombs and salvage what lefts remain inside of burial urns – you have absolute control over Skyrim, even if it means falling to a death trap of rolling boulders and explosive fiery runes.
Character Customization is Not Stagnant
Character development in Skyrim is important, primarily because you will be exploring monster-infested hellholes to which if you do not have the necessary power or upgrades will leave you plunging to your death. Skyrim’s leveling system is very intuitive and realistic. The Dragonborn is not manipulated by statistics and overlapping numbers – your character is strengthened through the mastery of the different aspects of combat. Simply, if you choose to rid of enemy camps with your one-handed sword consistently, the more you get better at it.
Additionally, your character is gifted with the ability to fill up any available Perks that can potentially diversify character growth. What’s so interesting with Skyrim’s leveling system is that your character doesn’t need to fill up the Destruction or One-Handed Perk tree to deal damage; players are free to experiment with various combat-driven or crafting-related Perks in a way that they can fuse together untapped benefits like allowing a Wizard to equip Heavy Armor without sacrificing spell casting or movement. How about the front line foot soldiers? Warriors can also gain access to different abilities that can enhance survival when facing groups alone.
Sidequests Will Definitely Overwhelm
For the record, Skyrim appears to have the largest collection of quests available that range from bounty hunting to assassinating some unnamed NPC – Skyrim never fails to keep the action stale rendering players helpless over what quest to accomplish. During the Dragonborn’s forays to the nine different Holds in Skyrim, he/she will encounter rumors that particularly open up miscellaneous tasks of exploring dangerous ruins or investigating a mysterious summoning ritual offered by some kid whose heart and soul has been consumed by vengeance. Truthfully, there is something bound to happen when the Dragonborn explores an unmarked location on his map.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is huge and expansive, breaking the boundaries of the open world fantasy genre by an astronomical leap. Skyrim has it all – spell casting, ancient barbarism, cannibalism, lycanthropy, vampirism, enchanting, forgotten scriptures that explain the deep crevices of history, civil war, and most importantly, dragons. Skyrim is one of the most atmospheric games of this generation, and it’s no surprise if this game will receive numerous Game of the Year awards given its immersive property that will leave players coming back for more.
Skyrim is sure to rob you of your social life. Guaranteed!