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Review: Skyrim

Posted by Jeff the Fridge from Cardiff - Published on 07/03/2012 at 23:39
3 comments » - Tagged as Sport & Leisure, Technology

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Yn Gymraeg

After nearly a year of waiting, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out. Bethesda is truly the master of the Western RPG genre, making one of the best games of this generation. Just to say, I played most of the game on my PC and a little at my friends on his Xbox, and I can say that PC was vastly superior, so at the end, if you’re considering getting Skyrim on a console, just knock 0.2 off the final score. Now, on with the review!

As long as you’ve got half a decent rig, Skyrim looks stunning. The sheer amount of detail in the world is truly amazing, temporarily making me forget that I wasn’t actually looking at a photograph. All the creatures look amazing, especially the dragons (more on that later), and the landscapes are just gorgeous. The slight problem with this is that in some of the detailed corridors, the framerate can drop if you haven’t got a good enough graphics chip. Also, without pre-installed mods, some faces look unrealistic, even ugly at times, especially the elves. The draw distance is also pretty amazing, meaning you can look for miles on end, but the mountains look smudgy in the distances and water looks flat.

Gameplay is mixed. Whereas stealthing as an archer or throwing spells is great in first-person perspective, swinging melee weapons is difficult. This could have been easily fixed with a lock-on system like in Dead Island, but it seems Bethesda decided to not include one. Thankfully, combat in third-person is much more satisfying. Though it’s harder to aim with ranged weapons and spells, melee and short-range flamethrower-like spells are much more satisfying. When you get staffs, though, third-person becomes so much fun. Aiming strangely becomes a breeze and enemies don’t randomly dodge your shots. I would thoroughly recommend playing Skyrim on PC in third person, but on consoles, it’s much easier in first-person because slamming the triggers in third person feels weird.

I didn’t find the main storyline quest very engrossing. For some reason or another, you’re Dragonborn, meaning you can easily learn to Thu’um, or shout. It also turns out you’re the only one who can stop the coming of the dragons and thus the destruction of the world. Along the way you’ll attempt to stop a civil war, learn how to master the ways of magic and do hundreds of side quests. There is easily over one hundred hours of gameplay in Skyrim, and soon into playing, real life will take a back seat to learning words of power and setting fire to bandits. Sadly, my path of becoming a pacifist wood elf didn’t quite work out after I had to hand over one of my friends to complete a quest, leading to a whole two minutes of sadness. Overall, as in most RPGs, the side quests are much more compelling than the main quest.

Surprisingly, the music is almost the best part of the game. This isn’t because the game is rubbish, but the fact that the music is amazing. The soothing tones as you ride your stolen horse across the fields just outside Whiterun, a stunning mix of Rohan from Lord of the Rings and Hyrule Fields from The Legend of Zelda, sets the tone superbly. The music from the original trailer usually kicks into gear during fights with dragons and makes you feel like a hero of old, valiantly slaying foes to save damsels in distress. The music is so good, in fact, that it’s made its way onto my iPod, which is very prestigious for games since the others songs on their are either Zelda, Mario or Portal tunes.

I’ve saved the best of Skyrim till last and that, my friends, is the dragon battles. Combining the four best aspects of the last four paragraphs, these are some of the highlights of 2011. Dragons take a lot of skill to take down, since you need arrows or magic to take it down whilst it’s in the air, and then you’ve got the matter of when it lands and starts charging at you. These huge reptilian foes look amazing, especially with the right texture mods installed, meaning I usually get killed the moment one lands in front of me because I’m so awed by its beauty. They also prove a tough challenge, needing the right balance of ranged and close-quarters damage to finally take one down. Though usually they only drop dragon bones and scales on death, I have a mod installed which means they always drop an item of use on death, meaning it’s always worthwhile killing a dragon. Killing dragons is also the only non-quest related way to be able to learn shouts, which let you kill more dragons, which earn you more shouts, so ad infinitum.

After recently investing hours into The Old Republic, Skyrim feels very RPG-lite. You level-up your skills by using a certain weapon, meaning that if you swing around your greatsword, you’ll level-up in two handed and if you fire lightning spells at enemies, you’ll go up in destruction. This means that killing enemies is rather useless since you don’t’ earn XP and you can level-up extremely fast by just sneaking behind blind people or spending money on quick learning skills. Once you level-up, though, you can spend a point on perk, which can be anything from being able to aim down your bow better or being able to dual wield spells to make one powerful mega spell, to just improving the damage done by axes lowering the magika cost of spells. Each perk is useful, but it takes a long time to level up meaning it can take hours to be able to learn how to slow down time whilst aiming down your bow, and by then you might want to have the ability to poison people when you pickpocket them, so make your decisions wisely.

Sadly there are a few glitches. Enemies sometimes fade into existence in front of you, taking you completely off guard and wasting your valuable health potions. Some enemies also catapult into random spasms, flying all over the screen, making it impossible to loot the corpse. There are also some problems with the quicksave, meaning if you accidentally save as a dragon lands a killing blow on you, you’ll be stuck watching the death animation on and on and on...

Final Score = 94%

Easily one of the greatest games of 2011, I'll even go so far to say it’s one of the best games ever. Skyrim is a must buy, essential to anyone who counts themselves a gamer. If you don’t buy this, you’re missing out on one of modern life’s greatest joys. So, in the words of Chris Loki, look to the skies travellers. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some dragons to slay...

Oh yes, and FUS RO DAH!

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3 CommentsPost a comment



Commented 51 months ago - 8th March 2012 - 00:07am

"It also turns out you’re the only one who can stop the coming of the dragons and thus the destruction of the world." I love the nonchalance behind that statement Jeff.
A good review.


Commented 50 months ago - 14th March 2012 - 08:44am

i dont like skyrim



Commented 50 months ago - 20th March 2012 - 20:54pm

im level 21 and my
dads level 34!!
its really awesome
im working with the
dark brotherhood!!
haha! i know their seacret
entering password!
cant tell its a seacret!!

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