An open world, RPG with epic battles, seemingly endless quests, continuous exploration and decision based interaction with infinite possibilities. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is fantasy like you’ve never seen. Here’s a look at the first 48 hours of playing Skyrim.
Skyrim is simply put, gorgeous. The layout and design are something to behold with subtle lighting effects and shadows as detailed as dragon scales. The Skyrim world is vast, but moving about is extremely fluent taking little time to move between destinations while still keeping the journey long enough to interact and experience what the wilderness has to offer.
Skyrim is a video game, but comes across more like a visual, playable novel with no discernible direction. You are left to make your own decisions which creates a unique experience for each player. Gone are the point A to point B mentalities, replaced by action and consequence. As the game progresses you start to realize that although you chose one path over another, eventually you’ll have an opportunity to see or participate in both. Players will experience different cultures throughout the many villages, towns and areas, interacting with various personalities and objectives, all contributing to a narrative which provides the player with a stake in the outcome.
The game begins with an extensive character creation sequence and although the process can be time consuming, it isn’t overwhelming. Soon after, the game explodes with action as a dragon swoops in to get your adventure rolling. From that point on, you’ll need to decide your fate and overall path. Options are immediately presented and when you reach Riverwood, the first town destination, you discover how quests can become as much or as little a part of the Skyrim adventure.
Characters are plentiful, whether they be enemies, creatures or allies. Each has distinct characteristics and are strategically placed according to environment, area and circumstance, leaving repetition at a minimum. Within the first few hours of gameplay there are more than a few dozen different character type interactions, ranging from intensely fierce dragons to raccoon-like skeevers. One thing we’ve had complaint about in the past, from all games, are human interactions. Skyrim doesn’t fall victim to the tired one line fits all method and instead offers unique conversation between characters.
Combat can be fierce and finishing blows are animated with slo-mo third person viewing so that you can watch your character deliver the kill. While you can hack and slash for much of the combat, there are more options than simple swordplay. The skill tree will allow you to learn and experiment with magicka which ultimately becomes a serious investment in your character’s evolution. The sheer number of spells available can leave players with a sense of endless potential power. Along with combat itself comes a bit of strategy. Environments aren’t always fixed and as such, players can manipulate the elements around them to gain the advantage. One such method is the simple dousing of candlelight to hide from enemies or prepare a sneak attack.
With all the beauty and outstanding gameplay, can there be anything negative to report about Skyrim? While not negative, there are some glitches that can be annoying. Not many are worth making note of, in fact only one was truly bothersome. I found myself stuck between rocks down a path. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a gameplay attribute where my foot was stuck and simply hacking it off would cure the problem. It was a glitch and the only way out was to reload from a save point. Additionally, I’m recommending an install to the hard drive as load times get a bit tedious otherwise.
At inception, you’re thrown into a world of endless choices and possibilities. Skyrim brings an intensely beautiful cinematic experience to actual gameplay with boundless opportunities for creating unique player participation. While no game is perfect, the minor glitches caused little disruption and took nothing away from the adventure. You won’t find a more successful implementation of open-world gaming.
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