TES: Skyrim is a caliber of game that only comes around every few years and it should be treated as such. When going in I had no idea what Skyrim was actually going to bring to the table, something along the lines of Fallout, Oblivion or Morrowind but I learned early on that it is astonishingly better than any previous Bethesda game. I decided to wait to write this review until I felt I had played enough to eat a full dish of what Skyrim was serving. To get to this point I’m sitting at 50 hours of playtime and there’s easily another 50 left… when I rack up another 50 hours is another question though.
The gameplay is similar to many other popular Bethesda titles in that the combat is slightly wonky, you travel across vast lands, and you loot the shit out of everything. We’ve become used to the jank of Bethesda RPG gameplay and honestly didn’t know what to expect with Skyrim. Thankfully this time I can say that there is an actual improvement in character action and combat. It’s still a little robotic but it isn’t nearly as cringe worthy as previous titles. With how large this game feels I would say Skyrim actually does a fine job with character actions and much better than in Oblivion.
The story or in Skyrim's case “stories” are fantastic. The main story is a great tale of heroic acts involving saving entire peoples and sleighing dragons. I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed the main story line but I feel that the side quests are worth mentioning more as this much quality in side quests is generally unexpected and is deserving of praise. Not only do we get a long and exciting main story line but if desired you could have a similarly exciting experience avoiding the main story all together. The amount of solid voice acting in this game is near mind boggling especially with the scale of the world and knowing it came all on one disk. Literally every single quest line is voice acted and well. I feel like in today's game market Skyrim could have been broken down into three smaller games and still have done well.
The tech behind Skyrim relative to its scale is nothing short of amazing. With today’s current hardware there are many games that look this good but are simply narrow cave crawlers where graphical set pieces can be placed to wow you. Skyrim is an entirely open world with load times only entering new dungeons and tolerable ones at that. Character and horse animations are the best and most fluid we have ever seen in a Bethesda game and landscapes are the most beautiful from snow capped mountains to seasoned woodland areas. Again relative to the sheer scale of this game and everything that needed to be coded and covered this is an amazing technical achievement.
This game is easily worth 5 stars, easily worth your measly $60 and easily worth a solid 30 hours of your time if not much more. Pull a Nike and “just do it” if you’re a gamer you need to play this game. Skyrim will be played again and again for the next few years, which cannot be said for many games.