Everythings better with dragons.
Always have trouble writing reviews for this brand of game because there's just so much stuff going on that I inevitably forget to mention some key point or feature. But whatever.
I'll do what I always do - ramble incoherently for a few paragraphs and tack a score on the end.
Like most if not all Elder Scrolls games before it Skyrim places you in the boots of a person taken prisoner for reasons that aren't ever really explained. In fact you're about to be executed when out of nowhere a dragon attacks and in all the confusion it's just kind of put aside and you escape.
And from there you're free to do pretty much whatever you want and you've got a lot of options.
The world is vast and filled to the brim with stuff to see. It's pretty amazing how much detail they've packed into the world when you take into account the sheer size of it. Anyway...
The main story thread in which you find out you are Dovahkiin - Dragonborn - and set out to find out why the Dragons have returned actually won't take all that long in itself. 10-12 hours.
But I barely started that quest line until something like 30 hours in because the game just does a great job of throwing stuff to do your way constantly.
There's various guilds you can join and they all have quest lines as interesting, if not more so in some cases than the main one.
There's a system in place to procedurally generate side quests, which while not always heavy on story are fun enough in their own right. It keeps track of what you've done and where you've been recently and does a decent job of mixing things up and directing you to new places and things to do.
Like killing stuff! And killing stuff isn't dramatically different than how it was handled in Oblivion. I feel like there's a bit more oomph to the impact of your strikes, but you're still pressing the button to swing your sword or holding it down to block.
You can dual wield now. Dual wield pretty much anything. So if you want two different spells in each hand to fling about that's a thing you can do. Or if you'd like to switch out a spell and put a sword in one that's fine two. Or two swords. Or maybe you just want a heavy, two handed weapon. Naturally no dual wielding them, but they do plenty of damage all on their own.
About my only complaint is that if you've got a sword in one hand and a spell in the other, or just two swords even you're unable to block. I can't think of a reason why this is aside from lack of buttons, perhaps. I'd wished they worked something out though, just feels like it's a thing you should be able to do.
Also magic has been streamlined a great deal.
Mystiscism for instance has been removed, spells that were housed in that school have been divided up to the remaining areas of magic that are most appropriate.
Also you can't make your own spells now, so no just saving up a stupid amount of gold and making some game breaking magic. That's not a thing I ever did but I don't feel like they should have removed it, I mean if a person wants to break their game and be all powerful then great for them. Whatever they find fun.
Enchanting is still in so I guess it may be possible to break things that way, make yourself some stupidly powerful equipment but I've not had need to explore enchantment beyond just recharging my magic items, which apparently levels up enchantment.
Alchemy is still in but smithing and cooking have also been added.
I've looked at the stuff you can cook but none of it's struck me as particularly useful.
I don't even eat the food I do get, I'm not going to bother hunting down the ingredients to make my own.
I've not dabbled in smithing myself but I've watched my bro play with it some and he seems to be making stuff better than what he's been finding, so if you're willing to put time into that the pay off seems worthwhile enough.
On a somewhat related note the repair skill has been removed too. And thank god.
Because I never used the hammers myself, I always paid the smithys to do so and didn't especially care that I had to constantly visit them to keep my stuff up to scratch. So there's no durability to worry about.
I'm sure there's a contingent of fans out there who are incredibly pissed about this but I think it's just another good example of the way they've streamlined the game for the better.
I don't have big complaints about the game.
It freezes occasionally, but the game is pretty good about autosaving and it has three slots for just that so I've never lost a significant amount of progress.
And in one quest I was doing a door was missing and I couldn't leave the area. I mean it.
Literally missing. I reloaded the game and it was there again, but it's a weird bug I feel is worth mentioning. There's always some technical issues in these games which at this point i can only guess is inherent to the genre, but it's all stuff so minor it's easy to put aside.
Oblivion ate a good 150 hours of my life. With 50 already put into this and with no end of stuff to do in sight I'm fairly confident Skyrim will accomplish the same. I'd say it's a game that's well worth any RPG fans time.