Review by MilesThirst

"The Elder Scrolls V is simply amazing. AMAZING!"

All 4 previous Elder Scrolls games have been amazing. Skyrim triples the "amazingness" of the previous installments. This game has been hyped to hell and back, and I must say, all the hype was worth it. The game is Incredible. There is no other way to express besides it being AMAZING too.

Story
The story is very deep. I won't ruin any of it for you here, but I can tell you that right from the beginning the story is action packed. That is all I will say so as not to ruin the story for people who have yet to play it.

Graphics
Wow. That's all I can say. The game starts on a horse drawn cart and you can immediately see that the developers put a lot of time and effort into this masterpiece. Every surface uses multiple types of mapping: Bump mapping, Normal mapping, Specular mapping, etc. The lighting on these surfaces is unbelievable. The amount of detail on armor, weapons, shields, etc. is also unbelievable. The game uses full HDR lighting and AA to reduce the amount of jagged eges. The ONLY bad thing about the graphics is the draw distance, which isn't even that bad at all. You will sometimes see grass appear in front of you, but like I said, it's not that big of a deal considering the grass and every thing else out side is the best I have ever seen in any video game. Ever. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, since every single bit of spoken words are actually voiced over, the game has perfect lip synching. You actually turn your sound down and be able to read the characters lips. You can also customize your characters face so much that you could literally make yourself. Best Graphics in any game, period.

Gameplay
There is literally no end to the amount of replayability this game has. It is the most open ended game ever to hit the market. The game has 16 sq. miles of land, all open for you to explore. This 16 sq. miles does NOT include the dungeons, and theres over 200 dungeons! The combat system has improved drastically compared to morrowind. It is very fluid and playing in hd with digital surround sound definitely makes you feel like you are there with the way the animations are. You can do whatever you want in the game basically. You can be a good guy and help people, and protect the unicorn, OR you can be a bad guy, slaughter hundreds of innocent people and skin the unicorn(that is very mean, please don't do it). Like I said before, the game has a deep story, but you don't have to follow it strictly. The game is very open ended, and if you feel like becoming the strongest warrior in the world before even doing the first quest of the main story, then go ahead.

Sound
Once again, simply amazing. A digital surrouond sound setup combined with the 360's extremely powerful audio output capabiities makes this game truly immersive. When you are walking in the many forests throughout the game, you can hear the leaves rustling and many types of birds chirping. But, not all of the sounds are peaceful. You also hear the sounds of war come to life. The sound effects in combat are very nice and make you believe you were there fighting yourself. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of an arrow hitting a tree. It makes a perfect thud sound. Also, something very impressive, is the fact that there is no unspoken words from the NPCs. Everything is fully voiced over, and as I mentioned earlier, perfectly lip synched. These aren't cheap actors either. You hear the famous voice of Patrick Stewart as Uriel Septim, the emperor, as well as many other famous actors.

Controls
Flawless, in my opinion. The menu system stands out a great deal because of how smoothly it controls. You use the shoulder buttons to navigate in between different sections of your journal and to equip new weapons, etc. In combat, it is so easy to get the hang of. You strike with your main weapon by pulling the right trigger, and you use magic by press the right bumger. Very easy. You can also set hotkeys to the dpad. You press one of the 8 dpad directions and you can instanly equip a new weapon or switch to a new spell. Very cool.

Physics
Yes, this might look new to you. Who would make "physics" a sub section in a review? Well, with oblivion, its entirely acceptable. Bethesda enlisted the help of Havok to make their game entirely believable. By looking at an object, be it a chain, a dead body, a random item, etc., and holding the left bumber, you can move the object aruond freely. With the bodies, the limbs move just as you would expect them to in real life. You can push logs down hills to crush enemies and you can swing chains around or do whatever else you wish. All the trees and grass and stuff are affected the by the physics and they sway in real time based on the weather. This is by far the best implementation of Havok physics in any game yet.

Buy or Buy?
I think the answer is simple. Have fun.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/18/11

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


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