There is no 'alternative' to an ES game anyway, save the Fallout series.
It scratches an itch only it can scratch and that's allowing you to just go pick up a bow and hunt deer, collect butterfly wings and mountain flowers, chop wood, mine precious metals, perform mundane errands for mundane people, collect bounties on bandits and troublesome giants, or stop a world-eating dragon.
All this while listening to one of Jeremy Soule's best ES soundtracks ever!
Oh, and Skyrim is STILL soooooo beautiful, whether it's morning, noon, or night.
So yeah, none on that list if you're an ES crackhead like me.
Dragon's Dogma would be my pick but I really like Dark Souls and Kingdoms of Amalur too. Dragon's Dogma has a great pawn system, character creator and combat. The only flaw is the rather empty world with not enough unique enemies to occupy it.
Kingdoms of Amalur has a very nice combat system which allows the player to make combos. The character animations are well done and the attacks look like they have weight behind them which is nice too. The world is colourful which I like and I can overlook the rather generic story and character interactions.
Dark Souls is a very good game too.
and when he crossed the bridge the phantoms came to meet him
I voted Dark Souls but I really don't see any of these as alternatives to Skyrim. Skyrim is all about open world exploration. I didn't play Dragon's Dogma, but none of the other games are about exporation.
"Life is like a box of chocolates. Diabetics can't enjoy either."
The story was much more compelling, and even though the combat was a little awkward at times I still prefer it to KOA, which had good combat, but was too fetch questy with everything, but didn't really have the dynamic environments skyrim has, so there wasn't as much incentive to explore. I would have liked to see the development team get another chance to make a sequel or another similar game, not the MMO that was talked about though, because there was potential in the game. It's always disappointing when we have fewer games to choose from, and I think KOA was hurt by coming out not long after Skyrim, and very shortly before ME3.
I'm getting DD Dark Arisen when its out though, so we'll see if it beats DAO on my list.
*Ahem*, anyway, I picked DkS, although Dragon's Dogma is bloody amazing too. They're both great for their own reasons really, although I found DD to lose some of it's replayability on the 3rd run through.
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