Video Game Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Posted on December 10, 2011


          Standing on the jagged and burned edge of a cliff, you look outwards on an ever expanding landscape pocketed with rushing rivers, deep dungeons and glorious ancient cities, all ravaged and ransacked by an antiquated god of destruction. As you turn, sword gripped in one hand, battered shield in the other, you look down on your defeated adversary: the stripped and bloodied bones of a titanic dragon, strewn about in a fiery crater, his final resting place. His soul is yours to keep and to use forthwith to expand your infinite power, for you are the chosen one; the Dragonborn. And this is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Purely game of the year material.

            Skyrim is the massive and frostbitten world that features the highest mountains, and the deepest dungeons, both equally able to climb and explore, that you’ll ever see in a game. The world and the quests that envelop it are so expansive and complex that at times it could even be overwhelming. From lush swamps and fields, to frozen and hostile tundra; from ancient hidden cities, to massive and bustling fortresses; from deep and intricate dungeons, to winding and perilous mountainside steps; Skyrim is lush with distinct and yet equally awe-inspiring locations. But what really makes these places pop is Skyrim’s brand new graphics engine, making every scene worthy of just standing and staring.


            Even more startling about this game is just how much content is really tucked away in this RPG blockbuster. After about ten hours logged, I already had a mountain of goodies that would make even the wealthiest of adventurers jealous. With your character being able to carry only so much, I trudged along like a pack mule with concrete shoes, determined to find a safe place to put my endless bounty earned from dungeon-plunging. But it was hardly even a scratch on the surface of what truly lied within Skyrim. After about 100 hours logged, I still wasn’t half way done with the seemingly endless amount of quests there are to complete. Even the most mundane conversation about economics could end up with you being tasked to clear out a dungeon full of undead baddies hell bent on defending their sacred tombs and tomes. But never did I feel like it was too much, in fact it was perfect. My mountain of money, double enchanted weapons and armor, and dragon bones grew to a size that should have qualified me to reign as king of Skyrim itself. And almost all of it was stuffed in a foot locker by my bed.


            But that brings me to one of the best things about this game: dragons. Dragons are fiercely powerful and fearsome, and only you as Dragonborn (or as it’s called in the game Dovahkiin) can truly send them to their final resting place. The dragon fights early on are seemingly trivial and easy, but don’t slack in the department of excitement. Watching a dragon snap people up in their jaws and send them flying sure does make you feel small. And later on in the extremely well-developed story progress, they get stronger and more relentless. And being the mighty Dovahkiin, you have the staggering ability to absorb their mighty dragon souls and use their power against them in mighty shouts, or thu’um. This gives you the ability to breathe fire, slow time, and even summon animals to fight for you. The power is truly immense and empowering, and honestly gave me the impression I was the reincarnate of god himself, and the final hope for all of mankind.


            But the combat does not end there. Your victims can range from towering giants, raging trolls, terrifying giant spiders, even steam-punk style automatons. Your tools of the trade are seemingly endless as well. If you want to feel like a medieval Lord Palpatine you have the ability to shoot lighting out of both your hands simultaneously and blow them away with your thu’um. Or you can always go for the tried and true power of archery, or even go berserk with dual wield axes, swords, daggers, staffs, maces; whatever tickles your fancy.


            Honestly, the only thing bad I could say about this game is the degraded menu system. Navigating through weapons and spells, even those on your “favorites” bar, can be arduous and difficult. But then there are the bugs, which could be anything from absolutely hysterical to horrifyingly frustrating. For instance, I witnessed one of my followers slide horizontally into a wall and disappear forever. As hilarious as it was, I actually needed them to do something important that apparently I couldn’t, even though I was a fire breathing expert sword fighter with the armor and strength of an absolute god.


            Nevertheless, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is not just another game. It is the perfect story, driven by a beautiful and expansive world, and an endlessly awesome experience in the realm of quests and fantastic combat. While plagued by some bugs and technicalities, Skyrim truly is the perfect game in my opinion, and is a must play for any true gamer these days. But if you plan on playing this game, prepare to see huge chunks of your time just disappear before your own eyes.


            I give The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a 10/10.

Reported by Ian Siepker

Posted in: Reviews