Two hundred years after the events of Oblivion, the Northern lands of Skyrim are in turmoil as civil war threatens daily life. The rift between those who want to remain part of the Empire and those who believe Skyrim should stand on its own are signs of the final events told in the Elder Scrolls, when Alduin god of destruction would once again have dragons roaming the skies. You are Dovahkin, the Dragon born and are charged with Defeating Alduin and the dragons.
I’m a big fan of the Elder Scrolls series, the open world of Tamreil has drawn me in for hundreds of hours so far and Skyrim promises to add hundreds more. It’s been 5 years since the last Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, was released. In that time Bethesda brought us Fallout 3 which was a big step up from the somewhat flawed Oblivion. Skyrim rewrites the rules and delivers nothing short of the next level in RPG’s with crisper graphics, breathtaking design and all the little details that will make you stop and look around you.
I have been exploring the land of Skyrim from highest mountain to deepest cave and still manage to find little details everywhere, it’s these little details that are bringing the world to life and making Skyrim very hard to put down. From the wind blowing the tattered edges of cobwebs, currents in the stream that even my horse struggles to swim against, the insects flitting round in the grass lands or indeed the trees and snow being blown by the same wind rather than disjointed animations. Everything has had life blown into it and meshes nicely, right down to the NPC telling me I had dropped something, which of course was a rather large kettle I was trying to put on a sign post.
There is a fresh new levelling system in Skyrim. Adopting a more simplified action RPG approach to character stats cutting you back just Magika, Health and Stamina has taken a lot of the math out of the game. Most actions you perform in the game are associated to skills which level up as you use them, as per the previous Elder Scrolls games. The perks are what really build your character as they allow for all manner of diversity and specialisation.. Each level you get a new perk selection which can be brought from any of the available skills. They range from casting spells at half Magika though to your currently worn armour not weighing anything.
This is a real departure from standard western RPG’s which pigeon hole you as a Warrior, Mage, Thief or Cleric as there is no class system. You can be what you want. I started playing by trying to tank up as a warrior but it wasn’t so great so I tried casting for a while which didn’t work out two well. Then, greed drove me to try light armour to carry more loot and my with my steadily growing sneak skill I have found backstabbing and firing arrows from nice dark corners very satisfying. The freedom to be who you want now echo’s the freedom the game gives you to go where you want.
Skyrim is an absolutely massive game. The total size of the map is supposedly on par with previous offerings however the terrain does add to making the world feel bigger than it is as its often rocky and treacherous. There are plenty of quests and as I understand it game actually generates an endless supply of side quests that will take you to places you haven’t yet been to help players visit every nook and cranny. I spent my first few days running around Whiterun, the first major city you are directed to. A good number of those quests were, I believe, random generated ones however they wern’tall an endless stream collect X number of Y objects.
If you love The Elder Scrolls or Fallout 3 or if this is your first time stepping into Tamreil, Skyrim will not disappoint. There is easily hundreds of hours of content and endless ways that you can play the game. You can get lost in side quests or power through the story or indeed just wander round see what happens next. This game is epic.