The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim User Review
This is Skyrim, the fifth main installment in Bethesda Softwork's open-world RPG series that began with The Elder Scrolls - Arena way back in '94 for DOS. From TES:3 onwards, Bethesda has set the benchmark for open-world RPG's, with each new installment coming after a period of at least four years.
So, lets start with the story. This game takes place 200 years after it's predecessor, Oblivion, but it isn't a direct successor. Instead it has a story of its own, which revolves around your custom character who's known in the game as The Dragonborn (or Dovahkiin in dragon tongue) and his quest to defeat the Master Dragon, Alduin. Alduin is known as the World-Eater, which is self explanatory really. His destiny is to end the world, and yours to defeat him.
Gameplay options are aplenty in Skyrim. I played it in the Third-Person camera, but most Elder Scrolls aficionados will tell you that first-person's the way to go. It's a matter of taste really. You can play any way you want really. You could be a magician, a swordsman, a two-handed weapon expert, a dagger specialist, an archer and so on. You get to choose a whole lot of these weapons, so you never really run out of choice. What's new is the addition of shouts. These shouts are spoken in dragon tongue and their effect varies. For example, the famous Fus-Ro-Dah shout (unrelenting force) can be used to fling an enemy across a room. You also get shouts to slow time, burn your enemy, alter the weather, bring the dead back to life, scare your enemies, ask animals for assistance etc. For each level you level up to, you get to increase either your health, stamina or your magic by ten points. Also, you get to choose from a number of perks for your favorite skill, like sneaking, pickpocketing, archery, one-handed and so on.
All in all, you can play the game in any fashion that pleases you.
The background music in the game is really something special. It really goes with the theme of the game and ... Well i just really like it. The voice acting is also really good considering how many NPC's this game's got.
There are plenty of missions to keep you busy. You could join The Companions (Warriors), The Dark Brotherhood (Assassins), The Thieves Guild, The College of Winterhold (Wizardry) and do missions for them until you reach the highest post they offer you. They all offer diverse story-lines of their own and are quite interesting. Once you finish, you get some cool items which offer you some brilliant perks.
Dungeons in the game are varied and diverse. They are a LOT of them and finishing then is quite exciting because at the end of most of them, you face a tough/tough-ish boss who almost always possess a cool item/weapon. At the end of other dungeons, you find word walls which teach you a new shout or you could just find a chest with a cool weapon/item/armor etc.
The game's landscape graphics are beautiful. The draw distance is spectacular. When you look at old buildings or mountains from a distance, it really looks amazing.
Horses make a return in this game. But, the horses are slower when sprinting than they were in Oblivion. According to one of the game's loading screens, the horses make up for what they lack in speed with their endurance. They help you with your fights and some of the stronger horses pack quite a punch and can be really useful.
The combat in the game is something that's quite straightforward. You use two buttons (L1 and R1), one for blocking and the other for striking (single-handed weapon). Or you could dual-wield two single-handed weapons, but this prevents any sort of blocking. You could assign a magic spell in one hand and a single-handed weapon to the other to provide a bit of diversity in your attacks. Also, shouts help in combat so assigning both your hands and a shout that goes with them depends on what your looking for.
The frame-rate issues prior to the patch was horrendous. After you cross the 80 hour mark or so, it would lag like crazy. Then if you restart the game and play it continuously for two or more hours, the lagging would start again. It has been fixed now though, thank god.
The loading times are sometimes a bit too long, but that's not much of an issue.
Skyrim is quite a big map with a lot of places to go to and explore and that's one of the key strengths of the game; Exploration. There's so much to see and do in this game to keep you occupied for hours and hours that you may take a while to get bored of it.
Overall, Skyrim's a brilliant package. With hours of content stuffed in this huge world, you may lose track of time in real life. With DLC on the way, we can't help but be excited. It's a spectacular game and definitely worth your money.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.