Review by ZodiacKillerJr

"After beating all the major quests."

To start; I was all into the hype and all the videos, newsletters, forum post, and whatever they released to promote the game. To sum it up for people just looking for a simple review: It was everything I expected.

Game-play: 9/10

I'll start off describing the leveling system, obviously a large part of the game.

To start, there are no attributes in the game, making it very simple to keep track of your strengths. What you do get, is 3 Bars; Magicka, Health, Stamina. Every time you level up you can increase one of these by 10 points, may not seem like much, but when you reach level 30 it's ridiculous. Each skill you can level, each has a constellation representing the skill (IE: Heavy armor is stars in the shape of a helmet). Each Star in the Constellation is a 'Perk' that you can specialize into, you get 1 perk per level. If you played any other game, you'll know these as a Level Tree, or Tier Tree. The leveling system is phenomenal.

Secondly I'll get into the style of combat, (I made several characters each specializing in the 3 main styles: Magic, Combat, Stealth).

Magic: Medium
Dual-Wielding magic is AWESOME! My first character was a Mage. Though, I felt that some of the magic was lacking, literally, as a Mage I only used Destruction and Restoration. If you properly set up your Destruction Tree and Restoration Tree, you will never need to put points in Health or Stamina, nothing will ever touch you. Awesome Class if you know what you're doing. Mage is a lot of hit and run tactics.

Combat: Easy
Dual-Wielding actually lacks at low levels. Shield and Sword (AKA Sword and Board) is definitely the best way to go, for almost the entire game as a Warrior. This is by far the easiest class to play, if you focus on defense and health as your upgrades, by level 20 you can stand in front of a dragon for a few minutes before needing to heal (if at all). I still don't see any use in 2-Handed weapons, they're slow, clunky, and heavy...REAL heavy

Stealth: Hard
I primarily played Stealth in Oblivion, but I found that Stealth is easily destroyed in this game if you try to go for a "Thief" and not an "Assassin". I accidentally over pick-pocketed everyone, so I was severely underpowered, cause my combat levels couldn't keep up with my Pickpocketing levels. Also, if you do Alchemy too much you'll under power yourself, poison only go so far. This is more for advanced players than a magic user, due to you have to balance everything.

Now I'll get into the skills a bit. Firstly, with the skills I feel had failed.

Lockpicking has absolutely no reason, what-so-ever-, to put any perk points into. As you level it becomes easier to pick things, but even at the lowest level if you got some skill you can pick a "Master" lock.
Illusion is pretty worthless, even for the stealthy class, honestly wish they got rid of this and distributed the useful spells to the other classes.
Alteration sucks, it's definitely under powered. Alteration is basically the defensive spells, just pick up a shield or learn to run more.

Story: 8/10
*NO* Spoilers

Your role is kind of expected in the game, there's not really anything you can do about that, though. Every major quest line has a few twists and turns and loads of content. The stories will probably hold you in the game for awhile (they have more than 5 Voice Actors!). They seem to take concepts from their other game: Fallout: New Vegas, there's a lot of faction battles, but is not over done like FO:NV's was. Oh, as a little note, they give you a lot more funny responses than you'd expect. BE WARNED: If you're use to the length of quests in Oblivion and Fallout 3, then you'll be a little disappointed. This was the shortest Bathesda Game I've encountered, so far.

Graphics: 10/10

It blew my mind when I saw the trailers. My video card was able to use Max Textures, but my loading distances had to be kind of limited, so I experienced the grandeur of the game, but not to the full extent. It's been a Month(ish) since release of the game, and there's still a few graphical anomalies, but that could also be from my card.

Glitches: 7/10

Bathesda games are NOTORIOUSLY bad with their glitches. I've experienced so made Quest glitches on my mage, I was forced to stop playing, because 10/12 Quests I had were glitched to the point where I was unable to continue. Dragons tend to ignore you sometimes as they fly around, even if you hit them. After completing a few quests, people say the opposite reaction sometimes(Side A won, while they talk about how Side B won). Also, the game Crashes a LOT, I tried turning down the graphics to see if it was my card, and the game would still crash at the same frequency (So I turned them back up). Though, the game at this point has remained less glitchy than their previous games.

Sound/Music: 10/10

Everything you do that is epic... is EPIC sounding! Gaining powers gives you an awesome musical score, the battle songs are intense in close combat and legendary when you fight dragons. Nothing to say other than how much Sounds/Music of this game made me happy!

Replay Value: 10/10

That's the whole point of these games! Beat the game one way, then go another. The different ways to play are completely unlimited, though the degrees of difficulty change.... obviously.

Closing Notes:

I was a little sad to not see a "HardCore" Mode, as you did with FO:NV. I find food a pointless aspect in the game, now that they can't be used as Alchemy components. Fast travel, is my weakness, I hate fast travel so much but I can't help but use it. I really, really hope that they will add a HardCore mode in DLCs. I'm looking forward to some of these DLCs, with how big the game is, how well it scores, I'm expecting some awesome DLCs for it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/12/11

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

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