Review by sonic_rockz

"Sets the bar higher than Oblivion, but not by much."

Oh, Bethesda, how you have kept us waiting for half a decade for the next installment of our favorite series. The wait, however, is finally over, as Skyrim is finally here, and has us all addicted. New visuals, new engine, new skills system, the game changes everything, yet at the same time nothing.

Visuals:
Playing on PC is a real treat, this game has improved VASTLY since Oblivion, albeit, still underwhelming. At the time when Oblivion came out, it's graphics were astounding, and set the bar to an unbelievable level. Skyrim definitely looks much better, with more detailed textures and lighting, however, it does nothing jaw-dropping or anything we haven't seen before. The game has a vast landscape, and a huge emphasis on taking in the feel of the game and the land of Skyrim. As with many TES games, it focuses on having you immersed in the game, from snow-capped mountains to grassy plains, there is plenty of variety, Skyrim also sports a very appealing weather system, with random rainfalls or even harsh blizzards randomly appearing at will. There are, however, a plethora of pop-in textures that can dampen the experience at times, yet nothing too major.

Sound:
Keep your speakers turned up to 11, because the sounds do not disappoint. Again, with the game's high focus on immersion, sounds are absolutely ASTOUNDING. The loud clanging of swords, to the footsteps of a galloping horse in the snow, to the roar of a dragon miles away, you will be reeled in to the world of Skyrim and stuck there until you hit that 'quit' button. Bethesda's..."notoriety" for having approximately seven voice actors in the game returns. Many of which, are awful at recreating the Euro-centric accents they try to shoot for. With that being said, however, the voices are well-recorded, and many are unique and fun to hear.

Gameplay:
Plenty of things have change since Oblivion, my friends. First off: the dual-wielding system, without a doubt the most noticeable change. You can now wield something in your left hand that isn't a shield, and thus you can mix and match various combinations, such as a sword in one hand a healing spell in the other, or dual wield an ice spike to double the damage. The armor system has been 'dumbed down', as durability is now gone, removing the need for blacksmith hammers and repairs, and combining many smaller pieces into one. As the story progresses, dragons will begin to randomly appear throughout the game. This starts off to be a slew of fun, and then slowly turning into a major annoyance. Many times you will work on completing a quest, only to have a dragon show up and start a deathmatch right then and there, our flying lizard friends can turn into huge pests at times. Shouts, the new ability, add some variety to the gameplay, allowing for more combos and tactics. Skills have been redesigned, as "perks" make their way into the game, every time you advance a level, you get to unlock a perk, which greatly adds to the gameplay variety. The ability to become a vampire returns, along with the ability to become a werewolf, which trust me, is pretty entertaining.

Story:
200 years after Oblivion, the game's story mostly goes on like this: You are a prisoner. You are about to be executed. Dragon shows up for the first time in...forever. You escape. You find out you are the savior of the world. You find a secret, ancient organization who's sole purpose is to kill dragons. Where are the dragons coming from? It doesn't get much more than that, although classic questlines, such as the Dark Brotherhood and the thieves guild return.

So, all in all, Skyrim is a very memorable experience, and you will be hooked on it to the very end. Definitely warrants a purchase in my opinion, while there is much debate over Skyrim vs Morrowind or Skyrim vs Oblivion, you will enjoy yourself regardless.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/11

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (US, 11/11/11)


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