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I really need to get a PS3...

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My Favorite Games #4: "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"

One of my favorite games of all time is “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”, commonly referred to simply as “Skyrim”. It is the fifth game in the long running Elder Scrolls series of games that deal with a huge fantasy world, full of elves, orcs, humans, lizardmen, cat-people, and more. Each game in the franchise has focused on a different region of the world, but Skyrim is one of the most exciting provinces to date; spanning the frigid northern part of the continent, and including environments ranging from frozen tundras, to snowy mountain peaks, to damp bogs, to forest paths.

The game’s story begins with an unnamed character being carted off to his or her execution for being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and being associated with a wanted criminal who killed Skyrim’s last king. As you are about to be executed, a dragon suddenly attacks. No one in the world has seen a dragon for thousands of years. In the confusion you escape, and from that point on, you are free to explore this gigantic world.

The world is populated with numerous villages, cities, caves, fortresses, and ancient ruins. As you explore, you begin to uncover a prophecy that tells of the return of the dragons and the end of humanity. In the past when the dragons were subjugating or destroying the people of the world, a defender would be born known as the Dovahkiin, or “Dragonborn”; a warrior with the soul of a dragon, who is able to destroy the monsters permanently. The Dragonborn is sent on a quest to discover a way to defeat Alduin, the dragon-lord, and save the people of Skyrim from total destruction.

There are also many other things to do in the world besides following the main questline and saving the people. There are guilds you can do quests for and rise to leadership positions of. These include the Thieves Guild in the “mafia-run” city of Riften, The battle-hardened Companions of Whiterun, The Mage College of Winterhold, and the illusive Dark Brotherhood assassins guild. Along with all that, there are hundreds and hundreds of side quests you can complete in order to help people in various cities, or to acquire ancient and powerful weapons to help you in your mission to destroy the dragons.

Throughout the game, you’ll fight a variety of enemies that inhabit the wilds of the province of Skyrim. One of the most exciting enemies you’ll encounter are dragons: ancient beings resurrected by the evil dragon-lord, Alduin. Fighting these enemies is dynamic and incredibly exhilarating as they fly around, land on buildings and rocks, and breath fire or ice while trying to destroy you. When you finally bring one of the dragons down, it feels very rewarding.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game for me, is simply exploring the fully-realized and enormous world of Skyrim. There are so many interesting places to discover, that sometimes my favorite thing to do is to just wander the landscape, and explore any forts, dungeons, or caves that I come across. Most of the time, they will be filled with bandits, trolls, or evil wizards. You can spend a ton of time just exploring these interesting and beautiful locations, without even contributing to the overarching quest to stop Alduin. You can also buy a house in any of the major cities, become Thane under the Jarl’s in each of their holds, and even find a wife and get married! To top it off, there’s also a major questline involving picking a side in the civil war going on in Skyrim, and leading that respective army to victory; thus unifying the province. There really is a massive number of things to do in this world.

In conclusion, this is a game I would recommend to anyone. It’s fun to play, and very rewarding to explore. The combat is satisfying and varied (You can use swords, shields, bow-and-arrows, magic spells, axes, or hammers). As Dragonborn, you also have the ability to “Thu’um” or Shout at your enemies, using the ancient dragon language to forcibly push enemies away, breathe fire or frost, and even slow down time! Very fun, indeed.