Monday, December 26, 2011

Skyrim Review

It's been too long. I apologize wholeheartedly, but its been a pretty hectic and busy time. I also wanted to actually sit and play this game for its deserved amount of time. Obviously, as of yet, no person has entirely beaten Skyrim. Quite honestly, I haven't even beaten the main campaign quest, but I have enough of an understanding to give a fair judgment. Other single player experiences can be played and evaluated after only a few hours, but a game on the scale of Skyrim requires many hours. So, after over 60 long hours put into this game, here it is, the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review.

Skyrim follows the story of a character which you create, so there really isn't a backstory. Once you create your character after an overly lengthy introduction, you're taught the basics of controlling your character. The whole scope of Skyrim doesn't realize full potential until about an hour into the game, once you're actually allowed to roam freely. At this point, it becomes clear, this game has essentially created an entirely new world. Skyrim exists as a section of Tamriel, far north, lending to its frozen tundras, expansive forests, and treacherous mountains. The landscape is absolutely gorgeous, and boasts some of the best graphics and immersive worlds created in a video game to date. The story itself focuses on your character, a mysterious dragonborn, that must kill the evil dragon Alduin. Dragons have been long missing from the skies of Skyrim, but have made a most unexpected and mysterious return, and they aren't friendly. Through the course of the story, you come to find out that you're the only man in Skyrim who can defeat this evil dragon, and through learning how to speak like the dragons, you will prevail.

Compared to Oblivion, Skyrim has improved tenfold. Nearly every aspect of the game has improved from graphics to gameplay to sound. The core gameplay mechanics of Skyrim are fluid, and the game plays very well in first person as well as in third person. At times, its really unnoticeable playing in either one, as they don't really hinder the gameplay. The actual fighting mechanics of the game are very smooth, and unlike other games from Bethesda, don't feel like a turn based RPG. It really feels more like a great action adventure game, with RPG elements. Essentially, the RPG element is living in the world. You'll really feel like you're living in this world, helping people that you actually care about. Granted, some of the quests begin to get repetitive and feel more like fetching and chores, but more the most part, you'll develop a liking for certain characters and a hatred for others. Instead of feeling like you have to do something to advance the story, you'll be doing something to help people out. There are literally thousands of quests, from the main story line to the various guilds (Dark Brotherhood, Thieves, Etc) to the many quests in each main hold and more. Quite honestly, you'll probably never manage to do them all, but that's not the point. The entire 60 hours I've put into the game, I've accomplished a lot, but haven't really felt like it.

The skill tree has been improved and redesigned as well. Basically, your original choice of race doesn't affect the overall gameplay too much, so choosing something from the beginning is a lot easier. There is no choice of initial play style, rather, you are what you play. There are about 18 different skills, from armor to magic to alteration and crafting. Each skill improves as you do that specific ability. If you make armor, your skill tree for crafting improves, eventually allowing you to make better armor. After you level up certain skill trees, your overall level will improve, giving you upgrades to stamina, health, or Magika, as well as one skill point. The skill point can then be spent in whichever skill tree to whichever skill will improve your certain playstyle. This type of leveling really lends to a more personalized experience, and makes it so that you can really achieve maximum ability in what you like to play. It proves more than ever that leveling doesn't have to be straight forward.

Graphically, for a world as big as Skyrim, the game looks amazing. Some textures look pretty bad when viewed really close up, but overall, it looks pretty outstanding. The animations are far better than anything Bethesda has ever produced before. Each character really has a mind of their own, lending to a more immersive world. If you kill a certain character, or if a dragon happens to accidentally kill him, that character is permanently dead. It can change what happens slightly in the game, lending to different alliances and enemies. The enemies in the game are still slightly easily trickable, and if your sneak skill is high enough, you can pretty much be a total ninja and prevent anyone from even knowing you killed. For the most part though, the enemies are varied, and present a challenge, but nothing too difficult. There are definitely still some major glitches in the game, which Bethesda has been addressing with updates. Some of them are game breaking, not allowing you to progress further due to a missing character or unresponsive NPC. Most of them though are merely actually pretty funny. Textures not loading right, characters doing random motions, etc. The soundtrack for the game is outstanding, lending an amazing touch to the epic story. The voice acting though, really needs improvement still. Even though its come far from Oblivion, its still very very noticeable that they didn't have many voice actors, as you'll hear the same voice doing many characters.

Despite its few flaws, Skyrim delivers on so many levels. I honestly think that Skyrim really is a game for any type of gamer, since there is something that everyone can find to enjoy. Whether they advance the story, go hunting, or just mindlessly kill innocents, there will probably be something you'll find that you'll enjoy. Plus, it won game of the year.

Story - 10
The main story is great, plus the hundreds of side quests lend to a crazy number of hours of gameplay.
Gameplay – 9.5

The overall gameplay is much more fluid than previous Elder Scrolls games, and is really a lot of fun given the variety of quests and many different ways to solve them.
Graphics – 9.5
The environments in the world are some of the greatest in gaming. The animations are mainly great, and the character models are pretty good.
Sound – 8.5
The soundtrack is really good, but voice acting is really not too hard to nail. Had they used a few more voice actors, it wouldn't have been so obvious.
Replayability - 10

There really aren't many other games that can boast over 100 hours of gameplay and still have so much content that you haven't seen after completing those first 100 hours.

Overall Rating – 9.5

1 comment:

  1. Very well written,sir. I see very little that has been left out, and almost no mistakes in grammer.
    LOL. rock on, my friend.


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