talis12's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC) review

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An epic journey that will make any social life crumble

Where to start with this game.. i truly don't know. There are so many things to do, to see, to kill. There is no review or video worthy enough to explain what this game is and does. I say does because this game does something to you. It pulls you in. Into the story, into the combat and into the world.

The world of Skyrim is filled with quests. There are main story quests and there are side quests. You will have your hands full with both. That is, if you even spend your time doing quests. It is very easy to have a goal and lose track of it while roaming around in the world. Everywhere you walk there are icons showing you what has been explored and what has not. Caves, dungeons, castles, towers, forests, camps, farms, cities and the list goes on and on. All of which are making you divert from your objective. Once you see an icon of a place you haven't discovered yet, you must go there. You just can't help it. If that isn't enough, in between moving from one place to another there are animals and creatures to keep you busy. Some friendly, you can hunt. Some evil, that will attack you.

Roaming around and finding new places is one of my favorite parts of this game but what is there to do when you come across such a place? One thing you can do is craft. There are several possibilities to craft. You can craft potions, food or upgrade your armor and weapons. Or you could mine, chop wood or harvest at a farm to make some money. Or how about just reading a book? Because there are books all over the world and they are not just a prop. There is actual short stories in each and everyone of them related to the Skyrim world. Some display the history of Skyrim, others (like journals) give you hints about secret places or how to solve puzzles. There are also some special books that will teach you spells or will level your abilities up.Did i mention there's enemies and evil creatures? Ow yeah! If all that slow crafting and talking to townspeople isn't doing it for you, just hop into any of the sites around and get your groove on. Obviously you have big and small area's but you almost never know how big a cave or dungeon is until you have actually finished running through it. I've encountered dungeons keeping me busy for at least an hour. If you are aware that there's hundreds of these area's in the Skyrim world, you can make your own judgement on how long it will take to get everything done. 30 hours into the game and i've only discovered about half of all the area's. Maybe 10% of those area's have been completed. If you don't know by now, THIS GAME IS BIG! But like playing the game, i'm getting side tracked here..

The enemies you encounter are pretty strong. While you progress some of them will get easier to defeat, but there's a constant challenge going on. Human enemies are the least of your worries. Huge creatures like giant spiders and scorpion wannabe's crawl around to creep you out. Undead and goblins make your life miserable. And add a bit of magic to all of this and you know you got instant trouble. Still, all of this seems tiny to the epic battles you can have with dragons. Dragons? Yes, dragons! It's not that they are the hardest to defeat, but there is something about fighting a dragon that is just so very cool. Seeing a dragon fight a mammoth while you are just picking flowers during your daily stroll will never leave your gaming memory database.I could continue talking about all the things you are able to do, but the list would be to big and it is a lot more fun to explore it for yourself. So let's get down to business and go through the main topics here.

Campaign

The story and the world it plays in is one that is entertaining and one that keeps you interested. Besides the ongoing war that is going on in Skyrim you are also on a personal quest to find out if you are the Dragonborn. While playing through the quests you will learn more about the war that is going on and what it means to be Dragonborn. When talking to people in the world you are often given a few options to reply but i've not encountered this to have much effect on the actual story progression. Killing such a person however is a totally different thing. When it comes to the war you are able to pick a side. This is not mandatory but optional and will set the tone for the rest of the story line. This is pretty much all i can and will tell you about the campaign. This game will play differently for everybody. How you play the game, what character you choose, which quests you do and how you will spend your ability points all create a unique story and experience different for each person playing it. There is no way to tell you what you will encounter, as you are the only one that has encountered it in such a way.

Gameplay

Depending on which character you have chosen and how you spend your ability points, you will progress and level up. Each character has its own good and bad points right from the start but the real progression is in how you play the game and in which skill tree you will be spending your points. Are you a sneak with archery or are do you go full assault with heavy armory and two handed weapons? No matter what you choose, you will have fun battling your opponents. The combat itself is not the most advanced, but that does not mean it is not satisfying. You basically have the normal attack and the strong attack but spending your ability points wisely can give you some extra's like a forward dash or a zoom function on your bow. Overall the combat feels the same each time with a quick time event in between on occasion. There is one thing in the world that everybody can make use of in their battles and those are the dragon shouts. Find the words, kill a dragon and unlock the words with their souls. Some shouts you will be given during the quests but most you need to find yourself by exploring the world and defeating whatever "boss" is there. The shouts itself are useful and powerful. That is, if you have all three parts of the shouts. The shouts can range from calling in thunderstorms to strike your opponents down, to shouts that freeze them solid or disarm them from their weapon.

Overall the movement is good and everything works well. I have noticed that jumping is not a thing the game wants you to do much. You can't jump high and you can't jump far, making climbing a rocky part a pain in the ass sometimes. The menu's that contain your weapons and potions work fast, very fast. There is barely any time between switching from menu to map and between menu's. The only thing is bothering me is that when you have a decent amount of inventory, you can not properly arrange it the way you want to. Going through 50 types of potions to find the one potion you need can be tricky and a bit to time consuming.

Graphics

When it comes to the graphics you need not worry. Skyrim is a beautiful game. The landscapes look like the finest dreams and the cities and dungeons are crafted with detail and effort. Playing everything on ultra settings i maintain to have a lag free experience. For such a big world, that is a huge deal. I have encountered a few bugs and map issues, but they weren't to write home about. Sometimes you come across a flying plant or character models do not have textures loaded on them. Come back after your death and suddenly they do have textures. Which makes it seem like a loading issue. Also, the options to create your character are out of this world. Not only do you pick a race, you can also pick the way your nose, eyes, skin, mouth, chin, cheeks and body type look in extreme detail. The color, the shape, the height, the width and depth are all to be custom fit by you at the start of the game. For each facial part separately. Making your character truly your own.

Overall this game has exceeded every expectation i had from it. This being my first Elder Scrolls game ever played, i am enjoying it every second. If they continue this path i will already be saving my money to buy the next one in the series. Till then, there is hundreds of hours of playtime to be had with Skyrim. And that's just with the first run through.. Imagine starting over with a different character and through the game in a totally different fashion.

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