Review by JonWood007
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the long awaited sequel to the famous game, Oblivion. While in some ways it is similar to Oblivion, it improves upon the formula in nearly every aspect, and has made the series more accessible to new players. It also offers a very unique combination of game play elements that make it an amazing game in general.
While the game does not look as good as, say Crysis or Battlefield 3, it still looks very good, especially considering the scale of the game itself. It looks pretty realistic, and is a major improvement to Oblivion in every way, even at the lowest settings.
The controls are solid, and not overly complex at all. There are also no major flaws to speak of.
Game Play: 8.5/10
If you have played Oblivion or one of the recent Fallout games, you should have a general idea of how this game is played. If you have not, it is basically a free roaming RPG where the player is set loose in a very large world and is free to do almost anything he or she wishes. There are many quest lines, including a main quest, but the player is also free to go off and explore. The world is huge; it will take hours to explore it, and many more hours to thoroughly enjoy it. The combat system is also very fun compared to many RPG combat systems. It is almost like a first person shooter, but with melee weapons, magic, and archery. I find this to be very preferable to RPGs with combat systems that do not give players full control of a character. While such RPGs may require one to push a button at a certain moment to perform a scripted move, which relies largely on statistics and luck, this real time system relies more on skill as a warrior or mage.There is also a good levelling system, which allows players to choose perks to give them certain advantages as they level. Skills are raised as people use them. This is good because skills that are used often will be leveled quickly. However, there is a downside to this because skills that are not used all the time will not be leveled up, and later in the game there will actually be a handicap in using them. For example, while two handed weapons are typically stronger than one handed weapons, if one relies solely on one handed weapons, by the time he or she has a high level character, their one handed weapons will do significantly more damage than two handed ones if the two handed skill is not leveled up. This game also has a large number of interesting enemies, some being stronger than others. These enemies can range from low level bandits, to very powerful sorcerers and even dragons. Dragons are the main selling point of the game, and they can at first be a very powerful enemy.
The only major problem with this game are the bugs. Some times quests cannot be solved properly because a bug stops certain options from becoming available and the like. Bugs can cause all kinds of weird stuff to happen at times, and it is recommended that players save often.
Fun Factor: 10/10
The game is very fun, and to some, is highly addictive.
Replay Value: 10/10
The main quest in itself takes around 15 hours. Exploring the world and doing other quests will take many more. I have spent around 35 hours playing and feel like I have tons of things to still do. In comparison, I normally got bored with the Fallout games after around 40 or 50 hours (which is still a massive amount of time). In terms of replay value, the game is worth every cent.
Learning Curve: 7/10
The learning curve is a bit wacky at times. This is because of the difficulty of enemies in relation to one's level. Since the enemies do not really get progressively more difficult as a player levels (like they did in Fallout 3, for example), one can often face insanely difficult enemies early on, and get stomped. Dragons are very difficult to tackle at first, and certain other enemies can also be difficult. I remember at one point, I had to travel to a place called Sky Haven Temple in the main quest. Right outside is a camp of these enemies known as the Forsworn. At a low level, getting into the Sky Haven Temple without NPC help is extremely difficult, and players will die many times because Forsworn warriors will be incredibly difficult to handle in comparison to more standard enemies like bandits. However, at a high level, such enemies become very easy. If one has a high enough level, almost no enemy will pose a major threat if one is skilled enough. Easy enemies will go down very quickly, and even facing large numbers of them will not pose much of a challenge (as can be demonstrated by doing the Imperial quests at level 25; I faced off large numbers of easy enemies, and the quests posed little challenge). Of course, players can change the difficulty in the options as they go, but it would have been nice if the difficulty scaled with the game itself.
Overall, Skyrim is a very interesting game that has a very good game play formula and insane amounts of replay value. The only major flaws are the amount of bugs, and the relatively flat learning curve. Regardless, it is a very fun game, and is highly recommended.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (US, 11/11/11)
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