"Why are you killing that lady?"
"Because I can."
So begins Skyrim, the game where you can do anything, be anyone, and rule the world... except that you can't.
Vast, open, and begging to be explored, Skyrim is at once both huge and confining. The country, with its nine city-states and hundreds of areas to explore, has 10 different enemies and 3 different combat encounters. Although you can walk the coast and avoid combat, you'll most likely be ineffectually hacking and burning wolves and trolls until they decide to flop over. Do you like bandits? I certainly hope so, because even though you're clad in hellforged armor made of daedric hearts and obsidian shards, cutpurses will think nothing of attempting to rob you. It doesn't matter if you're the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood AND the leader of The Companions AND a Nightingale AND the master of the Thieves Guild... a guy with fur boots and an unleveled iron sword needs those 10 Septim if you want to cross his bridge.
Although a beautiful, daunting, and complete joy to explore, Skyrim is terribly hamstringed by awful combat that forcefully wrenches away any sense of immersion. You can do anything or be anyone, but once you start swinging your sword, you enter into the most boring sparring match in the history of combat. Sometimes, with a massive blow, your enemy will falter. Other times, they won't - unless they fly backwards as if hit by some serendipitous force.
That's if they're not killing themselves with spawning glitches. Mammoths tumbling from the sky, skeletons walking into walls of flame, bandits leaping off bridges to their deaths... I'm not sure when we were told to accept buggy open-world games, but Skyrim certainly pushes the envelope when it comes to suspension of disbelief.
My wife watched me one night as I played. "You're the leader now since the corpse lady talks to you? Why do you still have to do mini-missions?"