Not Sure If You Want Skyrim? This May Help.
Skyrim is an open world single player game.
The multiple story lines and various things that Bethesda chooses in the game are static while the game itself with Radiant AI/Story are dynamic. With Radiant Story/AI, many things in the game are completely different even if two players would go in the same direction such as creatures you face or items you find. A neat feature is that if you kill someone who has a quest for you, their relative might seek revenge or hand you the quest instead. Also if you drop weapons or items, some random NPC might ask if he/she can have it.
More about Radiant AI/Story:
For those who want to focus on just the main story, you can do so. The main quest alone takes over 30 hours to complete. As long as you have a specific quest selected your map markers will update each time you complete part of a quest. The game also includes many side quests.
For those who want to do anything whenever you want, this is definitely the game for you. You can play this game for days without touching a single quest. You can murder an entire town but make sure you're a high enough level to do so. You can collect ingredients and live a peaceful life in the wilderness although I do recommend having something to protect yourself with considering there's many things in the wilderness that can be dangerous.
Article on how to be a complete bastard in Skyrim:
NPCs and wildlife are more realistic in that they don't just wonder about for no reason. You may find a NPC cooking, crafting armor/weapons, hunting, and many various things in which you the player can also do. You'll find wolf packs hunting deer as well as various other behaviors you may or may not expect creatures in the wilderness to do.
The entire world of Skyrim is handcrafted. In Oblivion, dungeons as well as the world surrounding the player were copied and pasted. Specific level designers created the areas of Skyrim.
If you are a hardcore Elder Scrolls fan, this game will be for you. Each Elder Scrolls game focused on the lore and story of the Elder Scrolls. Skyrim will be no different as it takes place 200 years after the events of Oblivion. Many people enjoyed Oblivion even on the console version just to immerse themselves in the story.
Those Elder Scrolls fans who liked Morrowind and didn't like Oblivion, I believe this game will be for you as well. This time around you cannot fast travel to each city from the start. You must explore and travel where you need to go. There is a carriage system in game that will take you to places you haven't been to. The leveling of loot, creatures, and dungeons do not level up with the character meaning you can step into areas that are too difficult for you at that time. If you do manage to defeat everyone in a higher level area you will surely be rewarded. With the world being completely handcrafted, there's a greater chance of finding easter eggs or random items laying around especially with the new addition of treasure maps and puzzles.
For those who care about beautiful and realistic graphics, this game will definitely be for you.
Streams flow and move in such a realistic fashion with Salmon and various types of wildlife. Walking in the snow you squint your eyes as you try to make out figures in the distance. When day turns to night you see Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights raining from the sky.
Bows and weapons glow with whatever power they're enchanted with. Dual wielding spells gives you a sense of power that you could never experience in past Elder Scrolls games. Seeing the flow and combination of frost, electric, and fire based spells is a wonder to the eyes.
Dragons will be a key factor in Skyrim's main quest. If you do not activate or participate in this quest, dragons will not spawn. There is an unlimited amount of dragons. Dragons in Skyrim are mainly unscripted boss battles. By unscripted, I mean they are unpredictable with their behaviors just like any creature you find in the wilderness. You'll find dragons picking up NPCs, following you above and around caves, and many other random behaviors. There are some dragons that are scripted but for the specific purpose of telling the main quest.
This is a game of freedom where you can role play whatever character you wish to be. The key objective is to survive in this massive world while finding your purpose whether it's through storyline or creating your own.
I did my best to explain why I believe this game will appeal to those unsure in getting it.
If you need more convincing here are many articles of those who have had 3 hours to play the game without restrictions:
Here's a text based interview with IGN and Todd Howard:
I'll surely be at my gamestop midnight 11-11-11.
I admit that I am quite biased with my excitement of this game but I will do my best to point out things people may see as negatives.
The UI of Skyrim is more basic for easy access of weapons, spells, and miscellaneous items. The proper term for this is stream-lining but is welcomed in my opinion so the player can focus more on gameplay and story.
Classes have been removed meaning major/minor skills and birthstones. Although this is majorly different from most Elder Scrolls games, it removes the necessity of restarting a character if you picked the wrong skills. Everything you do now affects how you level up. Some people enjoy planning out their skills in spreadsheets but in removing this you are more absorbed in gameplay and story.
When you talk to NPCs it is in real-time instead of pausing the game through dialogue. This is something brand new for Elder Scrolls games.
Skyrim has removed certain skills such as athletics, acrobatics, and mysticism. People of former games may see this as dumbing down the leveling system but many of these things can still be performed and enhanced in game through spells, dragon shouts and by leveling up skills such as strength, magicka, and fatigue.
For those new at this game, the size and scale may be a bit overwhelming. You have to think of it as entering an already existing world filled with opportunities, challenges, and adventures. The world has many quests in store for you but you are not forced to do them right away. The best thing to do is level up skills and explore your surroundings, then go back to those quests later on.
This game will most likely contain glitches from the start, maybe even some potentially game breaking. I recommend saving very often even with Skyrim's auto-save feature which you can modify however you please. Bethesda will be monitoring the game even after its release applying nearly unnoticeable updates automatically instead of only having the ability to release patches. Some glitches in Elder Scrolls games are welcomed. Even with a game of realism, unrealistic glitches/gameplay makes the game have interesting and memorable experiences. Those are the type of things that get shared all over youtube and get talked about with a group of friends.